I was reminded of an incident that happened to me some years ago, by the actions of this hateful woman who very recently hurled verbal abuse non-stop for about five minutes at a pregnant woman because of her religion. Not only that, she threatened to kick her in the stomach. The only thing I feel able to say in response to this offender is to “Take a look in the mirror”. For people to realise such hypocrisy. Her ancestors are neither white nor British – how dare she tell this innocent woman, to go back where she came from.
My memory of a potentially hateful incident serves as follows…
I was shopping one day in a maternity shop, for a gift to purchase for my sister who was expecting her second baby. I spied some pyjamas in the sale for my young daughter so I stretched my hand out to pick it off the rail. However, this woman snatched it from my hands and said it was hers. It was on the rails so how could it be hers I exclaimed. She refused to let go of the hanger and the garments I had picked up. There was a battle of words and anger took hold. She was absolutely vile.
We were in a maternity store and there she was, kicking me in the stomach with one aim, she obviously assumed I was pregnant and aimed to maim. The security guard and my husband rushed to pull us off one another yet she continued to kick me in the stomach. I had a life-saving operation on my stomach 2 years before and had to see the GP to be on the safe side.
It was more than clear to the shop’s staff that the instigator was, along the lines of not being respectable, good mannered and well-behaved. The contrast was rather apparent.
I was looked after while this vile woman was escorted off the premises, I had asked the shop’s manager for the police to be called so I could have it ‘on paper’ what happened in case the, let’s say… ‘ABH’, actually did some harm or long-term damage to my already fragile stomach. The police were not called but the shop very kindly put me into a pre-paid taxi for my safety, homeward bound.
Should my request then, for the Police to be involved, be respected or not?
Did my deafness hinder my opportunities to keep on top of the situation regarding what happened?
In addition, is it a positive thing that my deafness hindered me from understanding / knowing what was actually said to me during the incident? I feel somewhat fortunate that my deafness prevented me from being as exposed to the verbal abuse from her and her acquaintances.
Just to clarify any notions that this incident may have been along the lines of hearing vs deaf or vice versa. This is not the case as most people were not aware of my hearing impairment until after the incident, due to a hat I was wearing which covered my ears, therefore my HA’s.
I had to take it all in my stride as with everything else, as a good experience and challenge.
One of the problems with being deaf is that everyone else knows who we are yet we do not know who they (the hearing people) are.
All they have to say / think when they see us, ‘that’s the one who is deaf’… they can identify / recognise us.
We can change how we look, our names but not our disability, which at times, renders us vulnerable. Disability hate crime does exist.
I have since bought several personal alarms (key-ring pull ones) for my children. I already had one at the time but was unable to use it during this particular experience.
It is quite unfortunate my children were with me at the time and they were extremely distraught.
Advice given to me by a friend at the time was that I could always “go along to the police station and ask to speak to someone about it. They can still go back to the shop, ask questions, and if necessary take action. It is not always the best idea to call the cops in the heat of the moment as it can escalate hostilities” so they assured me I did right there.
To quote him;
“What is a hate incident?
When a person or group of people treats someone badly just because they do not like whom they are.
Why does this happen?
Some people bully or hurt other people who are different from them because:
#They are disabled
#they have a different colour skin
#they wear different clothes
#they are old
#they are young
#they are gay
#they go to a place of worship e.g. church or mosque
If this happens to you or someone you know tell someone. There is nothing wrong in being different.”
Report it, always. http://www.report-it.org.uk/home
~ SJ (Sara Jae)