This week has taught me that for every horrible person I encounter, there are at least 100 compassionate, friendly and empathetic people out there. I have received more than a hundred messages of support. Thank you.
Some great things have happened to me this week – another article published, good stuff at work, support from uni, and of course the reply from Callan Mulvey (I’d like to think he reads this blog!). Tonight I am going out with a new friend and I am really excited about dressing up and catching up.
I am still in awe of the support I have received following the abuse from the shopkeeper worried that the vaseline on my face will ruin her clothes.
I have contacted a few places that I believed may be able to resolve the situation (as in, give the woman a good talking to/fine/education), but unfortunately there really isn’t much that can be done. The representatives from these places provided personal apologies for what had happened, and were sympathetic towards me, and shocked about the way she treated me, but there aren’t any options for recourse. The shopkeeper is hardly going to agree to mediation, or to undertake any sort of diversity training. And I don’t want to see her again to mediate. I find that really disappointing.
I believe we live in a great country with lots of support for unemployed and Indigenous people, yet support for disabled and chronically ill people seems lacking. There’s little to no financial support (for example, health care cards) for disabled and chronically ill people who are employed. And through calling the council and the human rights commission this week, there doesn’t seem many avenues for taking discrimination further, unless it’s mutually agreeable. I want to change that.
Last night a woman from the ABC Radio in country Victoria contacted me through my Facebook asking me if I would speak with her on radio about the support I’ve received after putting my story on this blog and other places online. Though I have expressed my opposition for sharing my story with tabloid media, I really want to speak about this on the ABC, to make people aware of both the treatment I received, and to think twice before judging a person on their appearance. I will let you know more when I find out more.
A couple of the comments on this blog and elsewhere have said that the shopkeeper is usually this rude, that she may not have understood why I look red, and for me to just rise above the abuse. They are fair comments, but I shouldn’t have to rise about the abuse because this behaviour should not happen. I imagine it can be difficult for some people to comprehend just how many times I am questioned about my appearance. I can and do ignore most of the comments. Just today, a little girl repeated ‘there’s a pink girl mum’ about 20 times in a store, and her mother said nothing. I didn’t say anything either. I ignored it. But it doesn’t make it any easier. So sometimes all the questioning and commenting and starting comes to a head, and there may be an exceptionally rude person, like the shopkeeper last week, and so I may not remain polite about things. I may be just as rude in return. And I may swear. I have every right to. I’ve said it before, but I believe that nobody should question somebody else’s appearance to their face.
I know this is a rather serious blog entry. There were just a few things I wanted to get off my chest.