Trespassing and Invasion

I was back at the clinic this morning after quite some time away – time off was very good. It gave me a chance to just not have that racket in my head for a while. I had the opportunity to see the clinic for the first time in a while, with semi-fresh eyes, and to notice some things that come to seem very normal after seeing them happen so regularly.

I hadn’t engaged with any protesters at all until about 8:00. And then Stephanie happened. You may remember Stephanie – she used to be one of the jackass chasers in the orange vests. Now she is a jackass in a yellow vest. Andy wrote a FABULOUS response to an e-mail she sent. You can read that conversation here: https://everysaturdaymorning.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/dear-stephanie/

Particularly striking, to me, is this part:

“Your faith in god does not change the fact that you are in that moment no different from a rapist. To be clear I am simply making an analogy: person A says no to a certain type of interaction, person B does not accept those boundaries and forces themselves upon person A.”

That piece focuses mainly on the emotional trespassing done by protesters, and it is very eloquent, so I will simply second what that post says. We have also discussed many times on this blog the physical trespassing that happens – pushing into clients, pushing INFANTS into a client’s path, shoving handfuls of literature at clients and into their purses and bags… And of course, there’s trespassing onto clinic property.

This morning I had been walking in with a few client/escort groups, and after one I turned around to see that Stephanie had followed us onto the property line. WELL onto the property line, several feet in from both directions – this wasn’t toes over the line, this was trespassing onto private property very intentionally.

I was pissed. I told her to move, that she was trespassing, that she was on private property… She told me that it wasn’t MY property (well duh…) and that I had no authority to tell her to move. I will be the first to tell you that I cannot control what Stephanie does. No matter how thoughtless, rude, cruel, ignorant, etc. her actions and words may be, I have no control over them and cannot make her stop. But I can call people out for doing fucked up things. We ended up very close to each other, me yelling at her to get the fuck off of clinic property and what the fuck was she thinking, her yelling that I had no authority to tell her what to do and that it wasn’t my property… Finally I turned around and backed her off of the property.

I could write a lot about about how weird it is to get as worked up as I did, about how little sense it makes to trespass onto clinic property and then act like it’s totally ok… But it basically boils down to how shocking it is to see these ridiculous things happen after taking some time off, and how insolent and childish it is to trespass onto clinic property and act like you can do no wrong.

Let’s get real. What happened was not ok.

I am in no way saying that I handled things in the best possible way. But, the threat of having a protester invade a safe space for clients and escorts got to me. I got defensive and protective, because the one place where I should be able to count on having my own personal space was invaded. The space where clients should finally feel secure before their steps through the clinic door was invaded. The space that used to be patrolled by police officers that knew what they were doing (who’s mere presence would have almost certainly stopped these things from happening) was momentarily no longer a safe zone, and that is not acceptable.

While I am surprised by how upset I got, how aggressive I felt, I am not sorry for yelling or moving Stephanie off of clinic property. I hope to not get to that place again, to be able to control my feelings when my buttons are pushed like that, but I an not apologetic for my actions. Part of escorting is maintaining safe spaces, and when those spaces are invaded, I don’t think I can sit back and watch that happen without doing anything.

I cooled down at the corner and talked with another escort. As it got to be time to head home, we walked towards the clinic doors and passed Stephanie, who, making no eye contact with me, told us to have a nice day. How sweet.

Update: Stephanie commented to say I’m lying about most everything in this post.

Shout out to Stephanie: you still owe the escorts an apology. I don’t know how you remember things, but my account is from very shortly after this all happened. While I know human memory can be altered (I listened to a podcast about it just last night), I am not a liar, and I stand by what I have said here. You are allowed to have your version of the “truth” but it does not change the basic facts of what happened. Whether or not you honestly think you “accidentally” trespassed onto private property, we both know that you WERE on private property. We both know that you did not move when you realized what had happened. You still have some apologizing to do.

9 thoughts on “Trespassing and Invasion

  1. This blog and these escorts make me so proud. Almost 20 years ago, I used to escort every Saturday morning and on Tues and Thurs mornings before work. I had to quit because my anger at the protesters was getting the better of me. I am so glad that there are still individuals dedicated to protecting a woman’s right to choose. We used to have a police presence at the clinic every Saturday. This does not appear to be the case now. Why? Is there something we can do through local government to have a police presence there to protect patients, escorts, clinic workers?

    • Thanks so much for your feedback! Speaking for myself and for the other escorts, I am very thankful that you were there those Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition, I am thankful that you knew when it was time for you to no longer escort – escorting is great, but it’s not for everyone, and sometimes the best course of action is to listen to what your body and mind is saying and stop!
      We have been working with the police quite a bit. The clinic has told us various things about hiring people to be there, but currently the only police presence is LMPD. For a while we were having excellent, helpful officers (more than one) show up. It kept things calmer, and kept people in line. Lately we have seen police cars drive around the block several times while we are out there, but no officers out walking around to see how things are going. As far as answering why this is happening, I have no real response. I don’t know why the clinic isn’t taking a more active role in watching out for clients and escorts. I think that the LMPD is concerned with looking like they are taking a political stance. I am hoping that the LMPD will continue to be receptive to our requests for a police presence, but time will tell. Another important piece is that the main escort who was involved with our interactions with the police, Drew, passed away recently, and we haven’t really been able to figure out how to fill his shoes yet.

      Any other escorts care to weigh in on these questions?

      • I was fortunate to have met Drew at a committee hearing in Frankfort. I hope there is something that can be done to re-establish a more visible police presence on Saturday mornings to protect patients and escorts.

      • As I far as I know, the clinic does want to get involves; because they have no competion in the area. Also the clinic does not want to have anything to do with us, for legal reasons.
        Is the same thing for the police officers who came. Who is going to pretect themn in case of a lawsuit. Also the clinic does not pay them enought to be in a position in which they may get sue.

    • Until this State in run by a Democrat, nothing will happen. McConnell is the biggest ass kisser politician have ever known. I have not yet meet a Replubican who believes in abortion. Politician should be smart enought to know the difference between religion and the well being of each of the citizens he represents

      • In my day (did I just say that), there was a police car parked in front of the clinic every Saturday morning, and sometimes, the officer would get out and be a presence on the sidewalk. The protesters were much more subdued when he was present. You may be right, it might be a liability issue for the police dept, however, I think that the safety of the citizens of the City should take precedent over the fear of a lawsuit.

        This sounds like an issue for the RFP Legislative Committee to investigate and look into a possible ordinance for a buffer zone.

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