Private Places, Public Spaces

A warning sign. A person pushes a wheelchair user, stick figures in a red circle with a line through. To the left of the image is a large red box with white lettering reading Do Not Push.

As a visually impaired woman using a white cane I experience unwanted touching in public every single day. I have been dragged across roads, pulled out of train carriages and pushed around shops, without being asked if I wanted assistance first. These experiences can be distressing and disorientating, occasionally they cause me physical harm. Whenever… Continue reading Private Places, Public Spaces

Don’t kids say the darndest things?

A small baby grabs Amy's folded white cane and lifts it as he looks at it. Amy is holding the baby up as he sits on a picnic table. Amy is smiling and wearing sunglasses.

I live in a suburban family neighbourhood so I regularly encounter small children on my walk to work. My white cane totally fascinates them and I almost every day I over hear a loud “WHAT’S THAT MUMMY?” Parents seem to have two responses to this question, they either answer it or they shush the child,… Continue reading Don’t kids say the darndest things?

Academic Ableism

A graduation ceremony. Photographed from a distance, Amy, photographed from behind, has walked up steps and across a stage. In the background on auditorium style seating, a group of academics in robes. Amy's blonde hair is visible, she wears a black academic gown with green hood.

In an article titled, Extremist and Disability Chic, academics Kauffman & Badar state: “we do not want disability to be seen as merely another form of good or acceptable diversity”. They argue that disability is inherently ‘bad’, a curse rather than a gift, something to be prevented, cured, segregated and institutionalised. According to Kauffman &… Continue reading Academic Ableism

How does disability define me?

Amy is being filmed. She stands at a pedestrian crossing, her cane in her left hand reaching out onto the tactile paving. In front of her a road, to her right, the pedestrian button box, crouching beside her a camera woman in a green tshirt points the camera up at Amy. Amy wears a pink tshirt, sunglasses, and has tropical pattered trousers.

For nearly 27 years I used to say that I wasn’t “defined by my disability”. The reality was that I had internalised pervasive, toxic and negative representations of disability. By refusing to be defined by my disability, I denied myself an identity, a community and the support I needed. My disability used to be something… Continue reading How does disability define me?

“Just Ask, Don’t Grab”: the role of Active Bystander Intervention

A flow chart titled active bystander intervention techniques. Heading, witnessing harassment and 5 arrows pointing to sub headings and boxes. 1. No action, do nothing to intervene in the harassment. 2. Direct action, directly intervene and confront the perpetrator. 3. distraction de-escalate teh situation by engaging the perpetrator or the target in conversation, 4, delegation ask someone with more power in the situation to intervene instead of you, 5, delay, wait until the harassment stops then approach the target to check they are alright.

With the rise in hate crime so evident, street harassment is on the minds of many of us. However, for disabled people, street harassment is a matter of every-day living. It is a very rare day that I am able to leave the house with my wheelchair and not be subjected to some form of… Continue reading “Just Ask, Don’t Grab”: the role of Active Bystander Intervention