Shower Him Away
‘There’s a low-level harassment that seems to go without saying, but sometimes things happen that stick. Men have often kicked, grabbed or forcefully pushed me (even at the top of stair cases) when I’m out in my wheelchair. It’s scary. Sometimes it’s just plain hurtful. Once or twice, I’ve been in a shop waiting to pay for something and the man behind me decides to wheel me out of the line. Just like that! The first time I went out in my wheelchair my mum and I were so shocked when an aggressive man leaned over me, shook my wheelchair and quickly thrust his groin in my face as he squeezed past. There was about three feet of space in front of us he could have easily used without pressing up against me or moving my chair at all. I was sixteen. The second and third time a man did “the groin thing” it still bothered me. Now I just see it as something that happens but it’s still upsetting to think about. On good days I walk, and my disability is completely invisible to the rest of the world. On some “walking days” I feel incredibly vulnerable. Three years ago, on one of these vulnerable walking days, a man cornered me in a park. I was 18, he seemed about 40. I’m petite, fragile from my disability and slender. He had huge muscles and stood head and shoulder over me. He leered. He gave me this grin and nodded his head over and over and over again as he looked me over. He goes, “Yeeeeah. Oh yeah,” and keeps nodding and grinning. I felt sick. My heart was pounding and I didn’t know what to do. How do I get out of it? How do I make him go away? It took me three years to go back to the park he scared me so much. I felt dirty. I felt ashamed. I even blamed myself. It was a hot day but I flung on two jumpers when I got home to cover myself up. I wanted to take a shower so I could somehow shower him away and how he looked at me, but that would involve taking off the jumpers. I couldn’t do that. Didn’t want to be seen, even alone in my bathroom..