Sidewalk Snippet – {3/19/12} – by KpF

(Written by KpF about a day at the clinic not long ago.)

Did you folks see that guy get shot at the clinic this morning?

Yeah, me neither. Because F and K did a BADASS job of de-escalating.

How often do we not see the moments that what we do prevents violence and hatred from boiling over into chaos? I’m seriously pulling chest muscles patting myself on the back here but we were good this morning, DAMN GOOD. Companion showed up with a gun and an attitude and maybe a little high on uppers and we used words and support and consented touch and laughter and eye contact and compassion and our bodies making space and our bodies showing numbers and the client went to the doctor without any wounds other than harsh language spewed by jackasses unconcerned with folks’ situations.

This sunny, yet cold afternoon could have been so much more painful, tearful, regretful, hateful, mean and nasty. Instead it is lazy and nap full. Because we did what we do, really really well today.

Yay us!

Day 3 – Roe v Wade – Physical Aggression – by fml and servalbear

The aggression against abortion rights isn’t all legislative.   Anti-abortion violence has been directed towards doctors, clinic workers, escorts and clients. Over the 39 years, anti-abortion factions have committed acts of terrorism including murders, attempted murders, and fire bombings.  They have made countless threats and tirelessly harassed in their zeal to prevent abortions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence
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On New Year’s Day 2012 a homeless man set fire to the besieged clinic in Pensacola, FL. This act of terrorism was done because:
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  • Rogers said he had recently witnessed an anti-abortion protest near the clinic. “Rogers admitted to intentionally setting fire to the clinic due to his strong disbelief in abortion,” an affidavit stated, and “he stated (he) was further fueled when he recently witnessed a young female entering the clinic while he was sitting amongst anti-abortion protesters.” 
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The presence and aggression of anti-abortion protesters prevents access to abortion 39 years after Roe vs Wade. Some of our most impressionable citizens view their actions as implied consent to stop abortion any way possible. (Scott Roeder, Paul Hill, Bobby Joe Rogers) The presence of protesters in front of clinics is not an expression of free speech but an unwanted intrusion into the private medical decisions of clients.
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We get threats at our clinic.  One day a young man on a bicycle got in a verbal conflict with an escort.  He ended the argument by saying, “This is why I have guns at home,” and rode off.   This makes us stay on edge, watching for his return, the rest of the morning.
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Fortunately, he didn’t come back, and incidents like that don’t happen often.   Sometimes, people ask if escorting is dangerous.  Of course, it could be. There is always the potential. We never quite forget the illusion of safety could disappear in a second.
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Most people who are against abortion would not be willing to kill an already-born person even to prevent abortion.  However, some people actually believe it would be “justifiable homicide.”  Interesting values for the “pro-life” group.
 
 

Abortion Support in Kentucky is celebrating Roe vs Wade with their donation drive towards efforts to make abortion and reproductive healthcare more accessible in Kentucky. Please visit their website and contribute whatever you can.

 

I Do Not Apologize – on the sidewalk with FML

I prefer not to engage. 

I prefer not to talk to the protesters. 

I don’t believe they belong on the sidewalk. 

I don’t want to be their buddy. 

I don’t think I can change their minds about anything.

I believe in de-escalation. 

I want to be non-violent – I want to be calm, purposeful, and focused in all my interactions.

And today, I ranted and raved.

It started with the woman on the walker.  You know, I felt bad for her because the walker made her a slow-moving target for the chasers.  But beyond that – I don’t know her story.  I don’t know why she’s at the clinic, and I don’t need to know.

But I think it’s within the realm of possibillity that there could be some connection between her physical condition and her decision to have an abortion.  Assuming that’s even why she’s at the clinic.

So it enraged me – yeah, that’s the right word for it – when the chasers were preaching at her as we made our way up the sidewalk, through the gauntlet.  But I held my tongue.

Then –

the next couple I escorted – the woman was sobbing.  So distraught.  She grabbed the arm of the escort nearest her and held on all the way up the sidewalk. 

But at one point she turned to face her tormenters –

who were mouthing their usual – “don’t let your baby die – if you need money, we’ll give you money – we love you, we’ll do anything, anything, let someone adopt your baby, please, please, please…”

and she told them her baby was already dead

She told them, through sobs, that she carried one baby til it was born dead and she couldn’t do that again.

Wouldn’t you think they’d have shut up and left her alone?  In the face of her pain at having to go through this, wouldn’t you think they’d have backed off?

No.

Instead, they continued to tell her not to kill her already dead baby.

Really.

So, yeah.  I yelled at them.  I thought that even by their standards, trying to save the life of the unborn dead might be unreasonable.

I told them what I thought about them harrassing the woman on the walker without knowing her story, and I told them what I thought about them harassing the woman who’s already lost her child.

And when they tried to argue about it? 

I told them again.

I might even have told them again after that.  Just one more time.

The woman on the walker – no, we can’t assume that she wasn’t able to carry a pregnancy.  That’s right.  BUT I thought they might have considered that possibility.  Just given it a passing thought, and backed off a wee bit.  Taken a shot at compassion for the already born.

No way.

On the other hand, no one can accuse them of discriminating against her, right?  She got the same treatment as everyone else. 

Equal opportunity harassment.

The woman whose fetus had already died – they thought she was probably lying.  

Sigh.

Whatever.

I yelled at them because I needed to say it, and I’m not sorry.  I yelled because it wasn’t going to be a true discussion anyhow  – I wasn’t interested in their justifications,  really, I just wanted them to know what I thought of them.

It may not have looked calm, but it was purposeful and focused.  There weren’t any clients around.  I didn’t threaten them.  I didn’t get up in their space.  I didn’t even tell them they were going to burn in hell if they didn’t change their ways.

And finally, at the end, I was calm.  I thought, that’s ok.  They’re gonna keep being who they are.  I just needed to tell them what I thought.

I don’t apologize for that.

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.

Reproductive Justice is the Antidote to Rape Culture

Recently there has been a lot of attention paid to a tactic a group of anti-choice protesters outside of EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville KY is using to deceive the clients trying to access abortion services. Louisville’s Clinic escorts (volunteers provide emotional and tactical support to clients entering the clinic) wear orange vests that say ‘Clinic Escort’ identifying themselves to clients. In the last month the anti-choice protesters have begun wearing remarkably similar vests, the only difference is the wording on the vest: ‘clinic escort’ vs. ‘life escort’. In this post I want to explore the intersection of Rape Culture and anti-choice activism highlighting the places were reproductive and sexual health meet the reality of our cultural norms.

Louisville's Clinic escorts vests

liar

Rape culture is defined as the cultural normalization of sexual violence. We see this in the social context of blaming the rape survivor for the rape; they were asking for it because they attended a party or had a few beers. Our court system routinely blames survivors of domestic violence for staying in abusive situations without providing viable options for those seeking refuge. Melissa McEwan has an awesome Rape Culture 101 post with lots of examples of what rape culture looks like including this gem of a paragraph.


Rape culture is 1 in 6 women being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is not even talking about the reality that many women are sexually assaulted multiple times in their lives. Rape culture is the way in which the constant threat of sexual assault affects women’s daily movements. Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.”


An example of rape culture being utilized as social control against women and LGBT people can be seen in the 2009 horrifying gang rape and murder of Eudy Simelane, an out lesbian footballer in Kwa Thema, a suburb of Johannesburg South Africa.

The motive for the attack was “corrective” in nature, that is, culturally sanctioned sexual violence in order to enforce heteronormativity. The Guardian reported “What we’re seeing is a spike in the numbers of women coming to us having been raped and who have been told throughout the attack that being a lesbian was to blame for what was happening to them,” said Vanessa Ludwig, the chief executive at Triangle. The goal of the rapists is social conformity to the broader misogynistic paradigm, or in other words the heteronormative, enforced gender binary with women’s bodies and supporters of women’s bodies the target of socially condoned sexual violence and intimidation.

Dr. George Tiller

Now, let’s turn to the sidewalk in front of EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville KY. Five days a week, protesters chase women and their families from their cars to the door of the clinic, yelling at them, calling them murders and whores, in general harassing them. The anti-choice protesters view themselves as peaceful, information bearers. They genuinely believe they have been ordained/ instructed by God to minister to these women. And while they certainly have the right to speak their mind and oppose abortion, we move squarely into the realm of rape culture when there is no place between the interactions of anti-choice protesters and the women to consent to the interaction. We move even further down the continuum of disempowerment and social control when women clearly DO NOT CONSENT to the interaction. Routinely clients will say something along the lines of “Please Leave ME ALONE” and the anti-choicers continue to aggressively impede their progress, thus crossing the line between free speech and assault.

white male privilege says "yes, you can and are"



The first week the anti-choice protesters showed up wearing their very deceptive vests one of the regular chasers told a group of escorts they (the anti-choicers) were simply trying to “level the playing field”. Which I feel is one of the most disgusting displays of social privilege I have witnessed in my 10 years of escorting in Louisville. What I think this young woman was trying to get across is that they feel entitled to the time and attention of the women entering the abortion clinic for reproductive health care services, and that if it is necessary to be physically imposing to do so, obfuscation and misinformation are appropriate tools to such an end. This entitlement is at the core of rape culture. The attitude that the bodies of women and queers are fair game as a battle field for social conformity is exactly the place where reproductive justice and rape culture intersect. Eudy Simelane and Dr. Tiller’s bodies were destroyed in attempts to isolate and stigmatize the ‘other’.

Tim Tomeny and another bully stand as close to the door as they legally can. from these posts they jump out at clients, shove or trip escorts and sometimes snap pictures. nice guys, real nice.

Well, we are all the ‘other’. There is no ‘other’. Rape Culture hurts us all. Rape is a tool of war. Gender equity is destroyed by rape. And the only way to combat these evils is to fight for the autonomy and empowerment of all people.

Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief

I’m in a lot of psychology classes in college (and I love those classes, which is why I’m a psych major). For instance, taking social psychology led me to have a brand spankin new insight into escorting and the mentality that people get when they do things like go to the clinic and harass people.

Taking Adult Development led me to thinking about the 5 stages of grief proposed by Kubler-Ross (here at the end of the semester we’ve been talking about death and dying – a jolly way to kick off the holiday season). It came up at clinic, and I’ve been thinking about it since.

The five stages are:

Denial – I think in the case of the clinic, this is manifested in how some folks don’t think it’s a problem, choose to look the other way, or pretend that reproductive healthcare is doing just fine these days. But once people get past that denial they sometimes start to escort when they do recognize that a problem exists and that they can do something about it.

Anger – I see this a lot at the clinic (on both sides). I think escorts deal with anger in many different ways, but it definitely shows up. It’s interesting how people who seem incredibly calm and patient can lose it. I see myself lose my cool sometimes, because I get hot headed and upset and frustrated, and I think that I have grown a lot from trying to handle anger and learned about myself in the context of anger.

Bargaining – Sometimes we escorts try and reason with protesters. I think that sometimes we convince ourselves that conversation will work. Sometimes actual bargaining does go on – but the deals aren’t often seen though, just proposed. And maybe in some way showing the protesters that we are human, by having pleasant conversations with them, we are trying to bargain – if I’m human to you and don’t yell and swear at you, will you calm down too?

Depression – This is a tough one. It seems so overwhelming sometimes, to continue escorting. Or to escort on days when not many other escorts show up, to have your buttons pushed, or to see strangers cry because they’re being harassed. It’s hard not to feel helpless and insignificant. It is an awful feeling, thinking that we’re up against a brick wall – that the government isn’t going to change things for the better, that the police aren’t going to save the day and enforce laws, that the clinic won’t even work with us. It gets depressing. But I try to stay positive and look on the bright side, and recognize that what we do might mean the world to someone walking into the clinic. No, we might not get a bubble law on the books here in the great state of Kentucky, but to one person who walks in the clinic, we might be really helpful and give them the support they need. And that gives me a little bit of hope.

Acceptance – I guess that acceptance comes through a little bit in what I was saying about depression. We have to accept that what we do DOES make a difference, and that even though it might seem insignificant sometimes, it might mean the world to a client or their support person. And it is important to take a stand for what we believe in, to not let bullies run things, and to get people thinking and talking about important stuff (or hell, even the unimportant stuff – you just have to start thinking and talking about SOMEthing).

The thing about these 5 stages, at the clinic and in other situations, is that people experience them differently – in different orders, in different ways, and some people don’t experience certain stages at all. I think that I cycle through the stages over and over again – I go from feeling angry to depressed to acceptance and back around again as new things come up and as I change and learn.

I can get very college-student-ey about this stuff, and definitely tend to take things that I’m learning about and apply them to different areas of my life. But that’s one way that I deal with the things going on for me – it helps me sort through everything happening.

It helps me to get thoughts out – they stop swirling around in my brain so much. That’s part of why  I love this blog and our wonderful clinic escorts. I love the conversations we have over breakfast, at the clinic, on the internet. I love the community that has formed, where I can verbalize stuff like this!

Because it’s late and I get goofy when it’s late, and because the Golden Girls have always helped me get through my sad days, this one goes out to all of the amazing escorts out there:

P.S. In case you were wondering, the Golden Girls were pro-choice – they even filmed a pro-choice ad in 1989 for Florida Voice for Choice while a columnist came to Florida to speak against abortion, right before the Florida governor began sessions to consider abortion restrictions. (Unfortunately I couldn’t find the ad on youtube.) They are the greatest, in my book.

Bad sad mad morning

Today was hard.

I’ve been on a semi-hiatus for a while, due to oversleeping, being out of town, and feeling the need for a bit of a break. But I managed to get my butt out of bed this morning, and I’m glad I did.

We had 6 escorts this morning, and not very many protesters, but the 10 or 15 that were there were pushy and horrible (what else is new though, right?).

Towards the end of the morning, a woman walked up, crying. Her support person was nearby, and Angela ran over. Angela evidently knows this woman, and also really loves targeting people of color. Angela was freaking out, trying to push through our circle of escorts, screaming that she knew the woman and that the woman wanted to talk to her. But the woman was crying so hard she could barely walk, let alone answer any questions about whether or not she actually did want to talk to Angela.

Then something kind of amazing happened. As we escorts were making really slow progress towards the door, an inch at a time, several people that were already inside of the clinic (and I’m not clear if they were with the woman coming in or not, but I believe at least one person was with another client) came outside. They held the woman’s arms and walked her up to the property line, pulling through Angela and Donna and all of the other really excited protesters. They created a space for her to make it up to the property, and really did what we try to do as escorts. It was so amazing to see that. Angela was still yelling, and Brady was losing it, but the client made it through the gauntlet, past the harassment of a supposed friend.

I’ve never cried at clinic, or ever even come close. That was one thing I was really concerned about when I first started going (and before I ever went that was a big concern, that I would just break down and be a mess), because sometimes I just get weepy. TV shows can make me cry, seeing other people cry can make me cry, and sometimes I just need a good cry to let go of some stored up shit. But nothing at the clinic has ever made me so sad. It’s also the first time I’ve seen some very even tempered escorts really get upset. It’s hard not to just want to get violent and angry and sad when a woman, so upset and crying so hard she can’t talk or walk, is being SCREAMED at by a “friend,” by someone who “cares,” not to mention strangers who can’t mind their own business.

This is a time that people really need support, and love, and a friend to tell them that they will be ok, that they are making the right choice because it’s what they are choosing for themselves based on their situation. Angela doesn’t know what’s going on with this woman, whether she had an unwanted pregnancy or had a very wanted but nonviable pregnancy. And screaming “I know you talked to ____ from our church last night, she told you I’d be here and she was right! Don’t do this, NO!” is not support. It’s not coming from a place of love, understanding, respect. Or even a place of basic common decency.

Days like today, I really hate how ugly religion can make some people. It’s hard not to be completely bitter towards religion, which is a shame because for so many people it manifests in a very beautiful way. But all I can see on mornings like this one is how hideous and hateful religion can be.

So for this morning at least, I’m going to re-focus my attention to the friends and partners and support people who go in with clients. They set aside their own beliefs and are there to support a friend. And sometimes that’s what it takes to be a good friend – shutting up about your shit and what you feel is best and standing beside someone when they need you. Thank you thank you thank you support people. You make me feel better about the universe.

October 3rd – Escorting video!

Head count: 15 or so escorts, 45ish prayers, 5 or more chasers, one cop.

After a somewhat strange Saturday last week, today seemed pretty boring, all things considered.

Mary was pushy. Brady was loud and tall. Angela and Soapbox preacher weren’t there so it was kind of quiet. Officer Harper was great as usual (I think he’s getting really fed up with Mary). The guy who stands near the door and says “PLEASE DON’T KILL YOUR LITTLE BABY” was creepy and aggressive (and threatened to push me). It was all kind of same old same old. One new addition to the chaos is lit candles near the statue of the big V (virgin Mary). Potential hazard, right? It’s getting chilly out, which means hats and scarves and stuff. Or I guess we could just stand by the candles for warmth…

So, because I don’t have a lot of interesting stories or anything from this week, I’ll take the opportunity to post a video that I edited a long while ago but haven’t gotten around to posting. It’s a compilation of clips that I’ve taken or that have been taken by other escorts at EMW. I feel like it makes things seem really intense – which can be true. But please, if you are a potential client or escort, DON’T let this scare you off! This is the worst of the worst, the craziest of the crazies. Things can be intense, but this is some of the more intense stuff all edited into a few minutes.

Have a lovely day!

-F

These are not thinking people

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Escorts: 17

Protesters:  approxametly 80

Cops: 1

This past Saturday was

Off.

The Fucking.

Hook.

We had several cars full of male presenting people from out of state who, mostly prayed across the street in front of Subway, but several of them were chasing with the regular crew.

We met a new chaser who informed us she is 37 weeks pregnant and is having a boy.

Congratulations on a welcomed, happy, healthy pregnancy. I hope you don’t bring your child to the clinic and dangle it in front of clients walking backwards down the sidewalk like your cohort.

But there was one crazy that took the cake. In fact, I will venture to say that the level of inappropriate public behavior we saw this week has not ever been seen here in Louisville.

Observe video A, please keep an eye on the guy in the yellow shirt.

But it was after most of the protesters and escorts had gone home that his truly unhinged, fucked up view of the world showed itself. Here are two accounts of what happened from Escorts D and L who witnessed the majority of the incident.

she's not the one who's preggers 0 01 02-20

Escort D wrote:

I was involved in the White Castle/bathroom incident from the beginning. I saw the young woman, a client’s support person, leave the clinic and listened as L engaged her and asked if she wanted an escort. The young woman simply said she wanted to get out and take a walk, get some air. I suppose she was a bit bored in the clinic waiting room. She really didn’t need anyone to accompany her, but then ‘idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ started tagging along and harassing her. I caught up with them just to keep an eye on things and hopefully help to de-escalate. But, ‘idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’, just didn’t get it and seemed to take this as a challenge. He hung on the whole way right to the door of White Castle, and after the young woman entered, said “I think I’ll go in and buy a coffee.” Well, this had become a ridiculous situation by this time and I just stepped in front of him and blocked the door of White Castle and told him to give the girl a break and leave her alone. That’s when he started yelling for the cop to say that I was blocking his entrance to a public place. L had followed the woman in, and soon popped out to say that it was ok, she had gone into the bathroom. So, I stepped away, and ‘idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ went in the restaurant. (Does White Castle actually qualify as a “restaurant?) He was at a bit of a loss for a few minutes, but then went up to the bathroom door and continued his harassment through the door. He did this maybe two or three times. Then, he eventually, actually went to the counter to buy some coffee. I guess that’s because he knew I was watching, and as a Christian, he couldn’t allow himself to be caught up in a lie. While he was putting cream and sugar in his coffee, the woman came out of the bathroom, and L accompanied her out the side door. ‘Idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ actually stayed at the counter to finish decorating his coffee, and L and I were able to get the woman back to the clinic, but not without further harassment from other idjit newbies {these are the above mentioned male presenting people who came in several cars with out of state plates. There is speculation they are all from Louisville’s own Southern Baptist Seminary, but this is completely unsubstantiated; though several of our most prominent protesters are confirmed SBS student}.

And here is the other account {please note idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ and Larry David are the same person, but since he is new and we don’t know his name yet we are making it up}

Escort L wrote:

The companion, let’s call her Brave Girl, because that is what she was, had come out earlier when I was on the corner of 1st and Market. She had expressed an interest in walking around then. I told her about Starbucks, but she figured White Castle was close enough and went in there. When she came out again, I spoke with here again, and she stated that she wanted to walk around for while.

Then Larry David came prancing up and going on and on about how she shouldn’t kill her baby. Then D joined us, and we were able to flank her on both sides. I kept moving further away from her to keep Larry David away. So after he figured that out, he was pushing on me really hard. I held my ground, so he started whining about how I was pushing on him. I laughed at him and told him I was walking in a straight line. But he kept on with being a tool.

After we crossed Market and were standing in front of the CPC, I was really upset, so I turned and screamed in his face, “She’s not even pregnant, you stupid fucking fuck!.” Brave Girl told me that she really liked me after that. Larry David continued to natter on about her non-existent baby.

When we got to White Castle, Brave Girl said she was just going to go on in rather than try to take a walk. D stopped Larry David (in a very calm and rational way). LD started screeching for the cop, whining about how D wouldn’t let him into a public building. I went inside to look for Brave Girl; she was in the bathroom. I went into the bathroom and told her that LD was coming in and that I would stay and let her know when he was gone. She thanked me and I went to the front to let D know.

LD came in and went to the bathroom door and started tapping on it and hollering through the door. I think that if we hadn’t been there, he would have pushed the door open. I went to the counter and told them, “Some crazy guy is trying to go into the women’s bathroom.” This happened 3-4 times. Every time the manager came out, LD wandered off. He finally got coffee after the 2nd or 3rd time he went to the bathroom door.

I guess Brave Girl didn’t want to spend the day in the bathroom, so she came out while LD was fixing up his coffee. We went out the side door and headed back to the clinic.

We got about half a block, when LD came running up behind us and started his crap again. D and I got her back into the clinic. I told her that hopefully they would be gone in 1/2 and hour and she could go for a walk then.

After it was over, I was shaking. I got the impression that the other protesters weren’t bothered by it. Just like they secretly admire the assholes that shoot clinic doctors, they were impressed with LD.

About half way back to the clinic, after all of the hoopla in White Castle, I joined the two escorts walking Brave Girl back to the clinic. I got in between D escort and Larry David and began trying to engage him, hoping he would start talking to me and stop yelling at her. It sort of worked and it was not until I got really close to him and caught his eye that he finally heard us telling him that she was not pregnant and began telling her she should tell her friend to come out of the clinic.

After Brave Girl was in the clinic, I lost my temper like I have never done. I rounded on that ass-hole screaming about his inappropriate behavior. I was telling (screaming) him that that following/ trapping female presenting people into bathrooms is what sexual predators do. I rambled on about rape culture and autonomy for several minutes before I just could not manage to look at him for another moment and stamped off still furious.

Across the street in the parking lot were three protesters, they guy on the soap box, the guy who claims his mother tried to abort him 8 times and he survived ( I am not exaggerating, this is how he introduced himself to several of the escorts) and one of the more annoying female presenting chasers. And I lost it on them too, asking (screaming) if they condoned such horrible behavior, and the answer was yes. The annoying girlish one responded that she wasn’t in the bathroom with the support person and didn’t know what had happened, BUT that she knew someone who had had an abortion and it destroyed her, thus justifying any behavior that would prevent abortion from happening.

When I posited (screaming) that preacher dude could never know what it was like to be a woman chased down the street and trapped in a bathroom he said “Yes I do” and “you don’t know what it is like to be a baby being aborted”.

At that point I realized my mistake, I tried to reason (angry yelled reason) with them, but these people have no concept of compassion. They don’t care about people. They are only interested in perpetuating their own ideals of women’s places in society, and it drives them crazy that we might claim our own efficacy, challenging their notions of gender roles.

For years I had very strict rules for myself, refusing to have any verbal interactions with protesters. And over the years, I gradually relaxed this boundary feeling as though there might be benefits to engaging with them, we certainly have escorts who can really humanize themselves and our clients to the protesters. Engagement is a powerful tool to distract antis, while slipping clients past unnoticed. But I am not the one. They make me too angry. All I want to do is make them feel as uncomfortable as they make our clients feel, but in the end it hurts me, and makes me less effective as an empowering force for clients.

And really how do you explain rape culture to some fucked up dude who thinks it’s ok to chase female presenting people into bathrooms?

It has taken me all week to write this because every time I sat down at the computer I began to shake with rage, or cry with frustration. And even now I can’t really get into the kind of analysis of how rape culture effects the milieu on the sidewalk in front of the clinic in the way that I want. But give me a week or two and I will get all my thoughts compiled and organized.

This is an important concept that needs to be addressed. The way we approach people’s autonomy directly affects the kinds of interactions we have with the world around us. And I, for one, am not willing to allow others to hold onto the notion that my personal space is any less deserving of respect than theirs; regardless of one’s opinion of my choices.

And no matter how much you may disagree with me it is not up to you.

SO BACK THE FUCK UP.

Breaking: Abortion provider George Tiller murdered

Here are a few links:

Feministing

Huffington Post

New York Times

My sympathies to Dr. Tiller’s family and staff.

 

Dr. George Tiller

Dr. George Tiller

Wow. Talk about fanaticism. I don’t really know where to start, other than i am more saddened by my lack of surprise that something like this was possible than I could have anticipated. Of course it is possible, the man had endured being shot, his clinic burned, constant harassment from anti choice groups, legal issues connected with said anti-choice groups and the list goes on. I am sure he knew it was possible. I am sure his family and staff knew something like this was possible. But it does not change the fact that this is completely heartbreaking.

I am sad for Dr. Tiller’s family and staff.

I am sad for the loss of such a committed physican.

I am not surprised that the anti-choice movement continues to use violence and intimidation as a tool in it’s arsenal.

I am not surprised to see this type of violence even as Obama seeks to find common ground.

Those of us escorting outside abortion providers in this country who are routinely protested know that the aggression there has been ratcheting up.

I am furious.

Those are my immediate thoughts. I am sure i will have less raw ramblings once the shock of the news has settled in a little.

In the mean time, thank your Reproductive Health Care Provider. Support your local escorts. And keep a close eye on your Reproductive and Sexual Rights. They are important.