Don’t Like “Protesters”? How about “Bullies”, Instead?

Posted: June 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

Hello friends, it’s been a while.  I blame a flare and dealing with meds for keeping me away for so long.

By now I’m sure everyone has heard about the Supreme Court decision to strike down Massachusetts’  buffer zone law.  And to the surprise of no one, there is a lot of anger (there is also a lot of smugness from the pro-harassment side, meaning Saturday might be real damn unbearable.).

It’s not the end of the line, of course. We still have FACE.  We still have basic trespassing laws.  The ruling only struck down that state law, and even proposed alternatives which can work, like making it illegal to “to follow and harass another person within 15 feet of the premises of a reproductive health care facility”.  I’d pay to see that happen nationwide.

Because this isn’t about free speech.

While I was sorting out my feels, Miri from Brute Reason posted this very good point on her Facebook page:

A common feature of bullying at all ages is the creation of plausible deniability. If confronted by an authority figure, a bully is always able to claim that what they were doing is totally harmless and that the target is not actually harmed by it, or shouldn’t be. Clueless authority figures frequently fall for this because they’re ignorant of the forms that bullying takes in that particular context, and because they miss the forest for the trees. What’s one mean note passed in class, one careless “mistake” made on a group task at the office, one possibly threatening tweet, one sign held up in your face? Indeed. But taken together, these things can be used as part of a targeted, *group* effort to shame, humiliate, terrify, or ostracize another person.

The Supreme Court is just the latest in a long line of authority figures who should’ve known better, but didn’t.

And it clicked.  Perfectly.

A couple of weeks ago, I escorted on a Friday.  Now, most of my fellow escorts have day jobs, and with my chronic illness, I can’t get out there to cover the weekdays often, but Friday tends to be a real treat.  I spent most of it alone, with about five protesters doing their obnoxious, intrusive, fucked up thing.  Being solo means having to practically have 360 degree vision at all times, because when you’re outnumbered, they like to act out.

And boy did they show their asses that day:

  • -approaching me and threatening to call the cops on me for ‘harassing’ them, because I was following them around
  • -repeatedly crossing the property line (which is trespassing, by the way), one doing so literally while my back was turned.
  • -whining when I had enough and called the cops.

It was weird.  One dude kept asking my name after that, so he could ‘report’ me to some authority or another (he’s done this before, and I assume, forgot my face), and he was the main one crossing the property line.  And they tried to make it look like I was the bad guy for doing my job.  It bugged me and it still bugged me. I repeatedly declared that Saturday that escorting was just like babysitting toddlers, except toddlers get nap time.

Then I read Miri’s post, and it clicked.

They were trying to bully ME.  Little ol’ fat, black and disabled me. The threats, the going behind my back, the pettiness and more threats after I summoned a more realistic higher power; this was some straight up schoolyard bullying without the bruises.

And this is what they try to do to patients who are already scared or nervous or even resigned.  They ignore, “No”, “Leave me alone”, “I’m not interested”, “Go away”, “Fuck off”.  They lean into cars. They tell children that “babies are killed” in the place their parent is about to walk into.  They chase after anyone that even remotely looks young, female shaped and heading in the direction of the building.  And they have the nerve, the fucking gall to call to call what they are doing “counseling”.

They tend to get all in their feelings also when called “protesters” to their face.  So, from now on, I won’t be calling them ‘protesters’ anymore.

They are BULLIES. Yes, even the grandmothery types.

And just like bullies at school, they have their apologists: those who say “Well, bullying happens, so lets just teach kids how to fight back and ignore what the bullies are doing.” Those who stick their heads in the sand in the face of actual, really, no bullshit pain that  bullies cause. The ‘higher powers’, from principals to cops to (apparently now) Supreme Court justices have been far too slack in doing what is right.

Just like in school, stopping their nonsense is going to take some risks.  We should be empowering patients who feel harassed to file police reports. The second any of the bullies step over a property line, or tie their BS signs on public property, or continue pushing their crap after being refused, there should be a call to the cops and reports filed.  If you wouldn’t put up with such behavior from a college student with a big smile and an Amnesty International vest looking for donations, you shouldn’t have to put up with it when making a personal medical decision.

And we need to start calling their fuckers what they are. Emotional and spiritual bullies, peddling shame in the guise of “help”.

Also, we need more escorts.  Everywhere.  More people to watch, to be the calm port in a storm of bullshit, to bear witness to the multiple violations of privacy and decency that happens in front of clinics all over this nation.


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