[nfbwatlk] [DISABILITY] IMPORTANT: Fwd: Recruiting Consultants with Disability and Cultural Expertise

Mary ellen gabias at telus.net
Mon Jul 29 05:25:19 UTC 2013

Debbie, I can identify with your experience.  It's hard to respond to a
situation with incomplete information.

At convention I attended a workshop on self-defense.  Though I don't spend a
lot of time worrying about it, I've had experiences that have heightened my
awareness of the potential for random violence.  I've been physically
attacked twice -- once an attempted purse snatching and the other time an
attempted rape.  I'm relieved and happy to say that both were "attempted."
My blindness figured in both assaults.  It contributed to the decision of
the individuals to attack me.  How do I know this?  In the case of the purse
snatching, two young men were walking behind me on the sidewalk.  Suddenly
they stepped off the sidewalk, passing me on the left, and walked up the
sidewalk leading to my apartment building.  I heard them do it.  They
assumed that I would be unaware of their movements; they wouldn't have made
that assumption if I'd been sighted.  In the case of the attempted rape, I
know blindness was involved in his thinking because he told the police and
social workers that it was after they'd arrested him.

In both cases, the attackers had a very low expectation of my ability to
deal with their attacks.  Therefore, they were completely undone when I
fought back.  In the first case, I yelled at the top of my lungs and swung
my cane.  I drew the attention of the driver of a passing car who honked and
made the young men decide that escape was their wisest course of action.  In
the case of the would-be rapist, I was stronger than him and completely
furious.  (He was a scrawny 14-year-old boy.)  He, too, decided that his
best course of action was to get out of the way of the angry lady shoving
him away and advancing on him as he retreated.

The people who ran the workshop affirmed my belief that, though
misconceptions about blindness may make criminals somewhat more likely to
think of us as prey, those same low expectations will likely mean that any
resistance we offer will be more effective.  I was impressed with the
practical nature of their suggestions, though learning their techniques
would take a fair degree of training and practice.  They said the best thing
to do if grabbed is to touch the attacker, face him or her directly, and
proceed from there.  Keeping physical contact provides information about the
person's location and, if you've learned the techniques, allows you to
immobilize and/or hurt the attacker.  If the attacker thinks you're an easy
victim, merely confronting him/her verbally can often be enough to defuse
the situation.  Of course, the main line of defense is avoidance, which
isn't always possible.

In the two situations I faced, I got angry first, acted without thinking,
and later quaked in fear.  I'm not sure fighting for my purse made sense;
fighting to prevent physical injury did make sense.  At the time it didn't
matter; they just made me mad!  The purse snatching episode happened in
Baltimore.  Once he knew I was safe, Dr. Jernigan was mightily amused at the
language I yelled at the attackers.  I don't know for certain whether the
parents of the would-be purse snatchers were unmarried at the time of their
births, but I made the allegation at the top of my lungs.

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Mike
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 8:09 AM
To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] [DISABILITY] IMPORTANT: Fwd: Recruiting Consultants
with Disability and Cultural Expertise

t hurts! :-)

On Jul 21, 2013, at 21:41, Debby Phillips <semisweetdebby at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Mike,  I agree that we don't need segregated shelters but I do feel
more vulnerable as a blind woman. Mostly because I am a woman, perhaps, but
in situations where I am in an unfamiliar environment I do feel more
vulnerable. When I was in college, I was at a basketball game when two guys
got into a fight. By the time I figured out what was going on, everyone
around me had gotten out of the way. The two guys were fighting over the top
of me. So yes in some ways we are vulnerable and more so than sighted folks.
I know other blind women who feel the same way. I am not a gung go feminist
but I think having a discussion with other blind women about ways and
strategies to deal with this issue might be helpful.    Peace,    Debby
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Jul 20, 2013, at 2:22 PM, mjc59 at q.com wrote:
>> I agree with you, Mike. And we don't want them to plan a "special"
disaster shelter for blind people. 
>> Marci
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Mike Freeman <k7uij at panix.com>
>> To: 'NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List' <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
>> Sent: Sat, 20 Jul 2013 15:11:01 -0400 (EDT)
>> Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] [DISABILITY] IMPORTANT: Fwd: Recruiting
Consultants    with Disability and Cultural Expertise
>> Debby:
>> I'm not sure whether the recruitment is for people to advise on emergency
evacuation shelter protocols or whether it's talking about shelters for,
say, women or others who have families and who either end up on the streets
or are subject, for example, to CPS or police protection and who are moved
out of their homes due to danger etc.
>> If we're dealing with emergency evacuations, one thing we must guard
against is the sort of situation wherein authorities feel they must have a
list of "vulnerable" people whom they must be especially responsible for.
This is custodialism at its worst.

>> As you say, transportation is often a problem for us but IMO it's no
worse for us than for anyone else who from eitherchoice or necessity doesn't
drive. In that, I don't see that blindness enters in at all.
>> And do you truly feel less safe as a blind person than you would be as a
sighted person?
>> Mike
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: nfbwatlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Debby
>> Sent:

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