The Morning after Robert Dear was allowed to surrender alive.

This past Saturday was the first time in over 16 years of escort that I had to send “safe” texts to loved ones after I left the clinic.

Clinic escorts are accustomed to dealing with scary people. Some of the most frightening people I have encountered in my 16 years as an escort have been white men. Some seem more stable than others. Some seem more sober than others. 12295325_10153631366470399_7791018100278684395_n

It will never cease to amaze me how entitled these men feel to forcing their beliefs and morals onto complete strangers who are doing what they know is best for themselves and their loved ones. I have often guessed that some of the people who come to protest at our clinic aren’t there out of compassion for life, or as a way to care for pregnant people or their potential offspring. I think some of them come out because the sidewalk protests are a place where it is socially acceptable to bully people. The ways that they use their bodies, their massive signs, and their words, with or without amplifiers to shame and intimidate others is praised by their peers in this space. it is bullying at it’s best, and domestic terrorism at worst.

This past Friday (the day after thanksgiving, when many clinics were closed for the holiday and many americans were acting some type of way in the name of capitalism) we were reminded of what can happen when entitled and potentially unstable people decide to take action against what they have been convinced is wrong, even if it has no actual bearing on them – whatsoever. In the aftermath we are seeing anti choicers react in various ways. Some are openly praising the attack. some are trying to wash their hands of any remote responsibility. I demand accountability. Unfortunately, I will have to be very patient. Robin Marty explains better than I can about how even the sidewalk prayers need to hold themselves and each other accountable for the Robert Dears and the Scott Roeders of the world, for they are not going away, they’re getting inspired.

It is still unclear what exact message Dear wanted to send with his actions. Survivors of Dear’s murderous hissy fit have stated he said “no more baby parts” so we can infer that he was acting against PP while drawing inspiration from the widely disproven “sting” videos that were released earlier this year. One thing we can be sure of is that Dear wasn’t doing this out of a logically driven compassion for life (as his supporters may wish to believe) since he clearly aimed to cause great harm with his actions, and ultimately killed three people and injured nine others. His victims included an officer of the law who was doing his job, plus two civilians, both People of Color. Both accustomed to life without the privileges afforded Dear and most clinic protesters (who *if* they recognize their white privilege, almost certainly think they deserve it.) It was Dear’s white privilege that allowed him to surrender alive, even after killing an officer and two innocent bystanders. I saw someone make a comment about whether the police bought Dear a fast food treat on the way to jail, referencing the greasy kudos Dylann Roof was given after his Charleston SC shooting spree. My stomach churned knowing that this is the reality of this day and age.

These rather unpleasant thoughts are part of our day to day reality now. These are the facts that we cannot ignore while we are on the sidewalk, creating and holding space for people. We can’t forget that our own clinic has been under attack very recently. We must consider our own safety in addition to that of everyone on the sidewalk. Above all that we know we cannot let these bullies prevail. so, what can be done? That is a great question, and one that is being asked in and of escort and other access groups constantly right now. The answers are varied and unclear, but one thing we know we have to do is use our voices and demand accountability. Share this post, and the ones linked herein. Encourage others to speak up. It is our duty to change the narrative that it’s socially acceptable for white men to tell people how to lead their lives – lest they end them for us.

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About wench

Wench is based in Louisville KY. What started as a Selfcare Health Education Collective in 2005 has bloomed and flourished and exploded and re-rooted and bloomed again and again. We now wench (verb) all over the US and beyond. Many are still in KY fighting for abortion access, repro and racial justice, and bodily autonomy for all.

4 thoughts on “The Morning after Robert Dear was allowed to surrender alive.

  1. I could not agree with you more. “The ways that they use their bodies, their massive signs, and their words, with or without amplifiers to shame and intimidate others is praised by their peers in this space. it is bullying at it’s best, and domestic terrorism at worst.” We must never back down. Bullies they are, and bullies must be faced down. Courage to face down bullies does not require the absence of fear; it only requires calm, level-headed escorts who stay aware and work together, as we always have. Thank you for writing this, and saying it all so beautifully!

  2. A friend showed me the link to this page. I have to say, I’m so mad, I’m so mad that tears of anger are welling up in my eyes and I feel like I could chew nails into mush.

    I was once a fundamentalist whacko, yet even then I couldn’t see myself being this aggressive, this brutal. I couldn’t see further traumatizing young women who are already so vulnerable. I couldn’t see brutalizing every woman who walked through the door for whatever healthcare need she had. How dare they invade these people’s personal lives in such a vicious way.

    I’m so angry right now. And I think it’s a righteous anger, if I’m being honest. Something must be done to protect individuals from having to put up with this sociopathic bullshit.

    Anyway, keep up the good work. I’m a thousand miles away, but you guys will be in my thoughts.

  3. Twenty one years ago, I was an escort with Kentucky Coalition for Reproductive Rights. I escorted women into the clinic until I myself became pregnant. It was a wanted pregnancy, unplanned but wanted. I stopped escorting mostly because I thought it would be insensitive to the women that came to get services. But part of it was that I had been shoved and jostled roughly while helping women exercise their rights. I did not want to risk injury to my fetus or myself. I would have never dreamed that we’d still be fighting now and that the terrorism would escalate to this level. Now, almost an empty nester, I feel I should dig up my vest and join your ranks again. We must have access. We must have control of our own bodies. Thank you for your work.

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