New Escort Story ~ by Anonymous

I am a new escort. I cannot speak for all new escorts, but I hope that my post will give both potential future escorts and more experienced escorts some insight into what it is like to be a new clinic escort.

I first heard about the escort group when calls were put out for extra assistance on the day before Easter. My husband and I are very pro-choice, and decided to put our values into action by volunteering as escorts. The email said that you were expected to not engage/argue with the protesters and I figured I could handle it. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of the number of protesters (or their volume) but figured there might be people holding signs and yelling. My husband and I were given clinic escort vests and a brief rundown – ask people if they want to be escorted, walk at their speed, don’t engage with the protesters, don’t touch the protesters (or they’ll cry “assault!”), keep talking even if it’s just about the weather, to just keep the client’s attention away from the screaming.

In the chaos, I somehow found myself escorting from the $3 lot. (Please know that this is unusual! New escorts typically undergo a lot of shadowing before actually escorting). It was a quick frenzy of jaywalking (at the client’s request), shouting protesters, and emotion. My mind didn’t even have time to process everything that was happening. One protester ran up to me and bumped into me, trying desperately to reach the client. Everything in my mind cried out, “You will not hurt her!” and in a moment of intense (and selfish) need to feel like I could protect the client, I put my arm around her. The client, her face set with determination, yelled back at the protesters. Just as she reached the door, a protester wailed out, “Don’t DO it, darlin’!” and as suddenly as it had began, it was over. The client was inside the clinic.

It was then that I met one of the senior escorts, as she pulled me aside and helped me to realize that I had just broken one of the fundamental Points of Unity – asking the client’s consent (not just to be escorted, but also to be touched). My heart sank. With the panic of the crowd subsiding, I knew she was right. Logically I had known that, but in the chaos of the moment, there is no logic. As my husband and I walked back across the street to the parking lot, I started to get choked up. I hadn’t realized it was going to be so intense. The raw emotion felt too overwhelming.

We stayed a bit longer. I turned in my vest, thanked the other volunteers, got to my car, and started to cry as I tried to process my first escort experience.

I found myself at the escort training two weeks later. I think I oscillated between “I really want to do this” and “I don’t think I can handle this!” about ten times during the two-hour training.

The same experienced escort from my first experience encouraged me to try again, this time during a weekday morning when the sidewalk tends to be quieter.

My second time escorting was on a weekday morning. Now armed with non-sidewalk training and a deeper insight into the Points of Unity, I felt more confident. Being assigned the sole job of observing for that morning was incredibly helpful. I breathed more, forced myself to mentally slow down the events, allowed myself to process everything at a calmer rate.

In processing my somewhat unique start to escorting, I have realized that I (perhaps like many new escorts) was misdirecting energy during my first experience. In the chaos, I allowed myself to think that clients needed protection. This is not an unusual thought, I suppose, when you actually get a glimpse of some of the more vocal and hysterical protesters. The whole experience felt dramatic, frenzied, and full of helplessness. After the training, I saw clearly that the experience was about empowerment. We provide the space for clients to be empowered by always asking consent, by remaining calm and quiet, and by not engaging with the protesters.

Psychologists often speak of learning as a process of using what you know to navigate the world. People use mental scripts to guide expectations of what to do in new situations. For example, a mental script for ordering food in a restaurant can help you learn how to order food at a drive through.

There is no script for escorting on the sidewalk. Nothing in my life had prepared me for the chaos from the protesters. All of the implicit, unspoken rules we use for engaging with people in our daily life (turn-taking, respecting personal space, not yelling at strangers) seem to be forgotten by the protesters. For new escorts, facing this bizarre situation with no mental framework for guidance is a disorienting and chaotic experience! The escort training (both formal and on-the-sidewalk training) has been helpful in providing guidance. Even so, as a new escort, it feels very unsettling to not have a mental script to help me process events on the sidewalk. There is nothing in my daily life that helps me relate to this bizarre occurrence of people showing up daily to harass other people who are just trying to make the walk from their car to their doctor’s office.

To the more seasoned escorts: I am trying, I am listening, and I will do my best. I will probably still beat myself up for mistakes, no matter how many times you tell me not to. I still feel anxious at times, even though you teach me the “thousand-yard stare” that gives me a serene face to present toward the protesters. I am still trying to manage my emotions in a way that will allow me to provide a calm presence for the clients and their companions. And despite all of this, I will still show up to escort, even though there is still a part of me that doubts that my money wouldn’t be more helpful than my physical presence. As one experienced escort put into words, “I don’t think I can do this, but I know I have to do this”. How very true.

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REMINDER: Our annual  fund drive Pledge-A-Picketer is NOW!

The Saturday before Mother’s Day is the biggest protester day of the year.  It also is the date  where we count protesters for donations to support the pro-choice effort and the escorts.  You can pledge a certain amount for each protester showing up that morning. If you prefer, you can also make a straight monetary donation.

Use this form to make your pledge:

 

 

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Drama Triangle in Action

I jumped on the drama triangle last week, and of course that hardly ever ends well.  It’s not helpful, and rehashing it is usually not helpful either.  But I talk about the drama triangle in escort trainings a little bit, and I don’t think I quite do it justice.  So this post is really for the escorts, because this is the quintessential triangle on the sidewalk.

You know, on the triangle, there is always a victim.  There is always a persecutor. And there is always a rescuer.

This particular drama triangle involved a child –  maybe three years old.  He was coming back out of the clinic in his father’s arms, head down on Dad’s shoulder.  He was “the victim.”

The triangle involved E, a tall, male protester, who stepped directly in front of me so he could get right up by the child’s face to rant at the father.  Clearly, he was “the persecutor.”

As you may easily guess, I jumped on the triangle with both feet, trying to be “the rescuer.”

The problem with this scenario is that I couldn’t actually “rescue” the victim.  I mean, what was I going to do?   It’s not like he was in physical danger, I couldn’t snatch him and run.  I couldn’t shove E back out of the way.

If I were magic, I would have put a huge protective shield up around this kid and the Dad, and they wouldn’t have even been able to hear the mean things E was saying.

They wouldn’t have heard him say, talking fast like he does, but each word clear and distinct, “That is a precious little boy and you wouldn’t kill him, would you, so why would you leave his mother in there to kill the child in her womb?  That baby’s just as precious as this one.  Be a man, go back in there and bring her out.”

Since I couldn’t throw up an invisible, magic sound barrier, and I was super frustrated with E anyhow, I vented my frustration by saying some mean things to him.  As if that would make him stop, or help the kid.

Now you see the triangle, right?  Kid’s the victim, E’s the persecutor, I’m the rescuer ~ only, wait, saying mean things to E didn’t actually help the kid any.  And the kid probably didn’t actually need any help.  Probably this was just one crappy moment in an otherwise lovely life that he won’t even remember when he’s older

But it upset me, triggered some hugely defensive reaction, so in my effort to help, I spoke impulsively, and completed the set up on the drama triangle.

Another protester decided to jump on the triangle himself.  Shaking his head sadly, he rebuked me, saying he just couldn’t believe how angry I was, and what an atmosphere of violence there was on the sidewalk.

Yeah.  So I suddenly became the persecutor and poor E was the victim and Other Anti was kind of trying to be a rescuer by calling me out.

Sigh.

And as soon as I felt like the other protester was acting like I was the persecutor, at that moment, I felt like I was the victim, because really, E was the one being mean, he was the persecutor, wasn’t he?  I was just trying to help.  So I stomped off feeling at least a little righteously indignant.

Later, in a calmer frame of mind, I felt bad.  Still on the triangle, I was ready to blame myself for reacting impulsively, ready to cast myself as the persecutor.  And then – are you still with me here?

Feeling like the persecutor because I over-reacted, then I wrote a big long blog post, trying to justify myself, which would have rescued me and invited you all to jump on the triangle with me.

You could have taken different roles, depending on whether you saw me as the persecutor or the rescuer. Some people could have supported me and said my reaction was understandable.  Some people could have said that no matter how “justified” anyone thought I was, there was really no excuse for engaging with the protesters at all, and certainly not for saying really mean things.  Someone could have jumped in to mediate, and the two groups could have taken turns “dancing on the triangle-” trading places round and round.

Fortunately, I decided not to publish that post.  And I don’t feel like I’m on the triangle anymore, so if you’re thinking about whether or not I was justified, then stop.  That’s the call of the drama triangle.

Don’t answer that call.

The goal is always to stay off the triangle.  That’s always the goal.  And when you realize you’re on the triangle, it’s helpful to try to get back off.

Here’s the story without the drama.  E was doing what he always does, trying to interfere in people’s reproductive choices and saying the same things he always says.  It was unpleasant, but the child wasn’t actually in danger, and couldn’t really be shielded from it..

I reacted strongly, which was understandable, but in retrospect not so helpful.  And another protester expressed his opinion about the situation, and that was the end.  If there’s a take home message, it’s that I’ll try to remember how not helpful my reaction was next time.

Ultimately, as Kescort often says, “No one got arrested or left crying or bleeding, so that’s a good day on the sidewalk.”

Escort First Impression ~ by Turner

 I went to volunteer as a clinic escort this morning; it was my first time. Afterwards I joined some of the other, more seasoned escorts for breakfast. I was asked if I ever write, and if I would be willing to set down my impressions. I’ll try to be completely honest with myself. I apologize for any grammatical errors.

 My Four Impressions:
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1)  How nervous I felt. I am not an especially small person. In fact, I could probably stand to lose some weight (or at least redistribute it). I am 5’ 10”-ish, roughly 220-230lbs. I have some hand-to-hand combat experience. I have a side job as a bouncer. Nevertheless, I had a sort-of racing/fluttery feeling in my chest.
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I cannot imagine how a client would feel walking the gauntlet. In the back of my head I kept trying to come up with an approximation. Like probably anyone else, I can come up with several examples of times that I have felt annoyed, embarrassed, terrified, enraged, powerless, tormented, singled out, awkward or heartbroken. I can come up with examples of times that I felt a combination of those emotions.
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I can come up with at least one instance in which I felt all of them, and I know I still don’t have a frame of reference for a fair comparison.
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2)  During the pre-open, pre-client, pre-preaching time, there was an odd setting-up feel. A normalcy. A sort-of ‘Hey, how are you? How’s the family?’ etc., while everyone was getting ready. Not so much cross-group, but definitely within the protester camp.
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It reminded me a little bit of opening the Electronics Boutique store when I worked at the mall. We had things we had to do to open, so did the girls at the Claire’s (or equivalent) across the hall. We didn’t have to do the same things; and we rarely interacted with each other; but by the time the mall opened, we were both ready for business.
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That was what I saw; a straightening the shelves, counting the register activity. The feel changed immediately upon the arrival of clients.
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3)  With some exceptions, salesmanship was lacking. For most of the morning, I was at the curb directly in front of the door to the clinic (prepositional phrase bonus x6).  
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The closest vocal protestor to my position would just say, ‘Please don’t kill your baby,’ in roughly the same tone of voice that an under-performing baseball park vendor would say, ‘Ice cold beer.’
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Conversely, I saw a few people whose favored tactic seemed to consist of laying down an almost unceasing babble of pseudo-religious, pseudo-scientific verbiage; most of which was misleading, mistakenly incorrect, or purposefully incorrect.
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After having previously seen critics speaking against various sciences using bad religious argument, it was almost oddly refreshing, and not a little ironic, to see someone articulating a ‘religious’ point using bad science.
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4) By 8am I was having trouble believing I was in the same country I had been in at 6am and for the last 33 years. It is such an odd demonstration, such a feeling of else, of other. It’s something that happens on TV, not 15 blocks from my house.
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REMINDER: If you are interested in escorting, particularly if you’re willing to hold space on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, don’t forget the training on May 9th at 6:00.  Training is not required, but it’s helpful.

REMINDER: Our annual  fund drive Pledge-A-Picketer is NOW!
The Sunday before Mother’s Day is the biggest protester day of the year.  It also is the date  where we count protesters for donations to support the pro-choice effort and the escorts.  You can pledge a certain amount for each protester showing up that morning. If you prefer, you can also make a straight monetary donation.

Use this form to make your pledge:

Upcoming Escort Training – May 9

We train new escorts on the sidewalk weekly, but we do have formal training sessions periodically throughout the year. These training sessions are when we explain purpose and techniques of escorting away from the chaos of the clinic.

We are planning another training on May 9th at 6P. If you ever thought you would like to escort in Louisville, this would be a good event to attend. Invitations will be sent out soon with details and the location. Please contact us at everysaturdaymorning@gmail.com if you would like more information.

You do not need to attend a training session to escort (see our Trainings for Escorts tab).

The training sessions are very interesting for experienced escorts as well as those who want to be new escorts. They are the times we can meet other escorts in a relaxed environment. We have the opportunity to talk to escorts who have gained their experience through many years of dedication. There is always a question and answer session where we can ask our questions and have group discussions about the thornier issues. I have always learned new ways of approaching escorting with each training I have attended.

We hope to see you there!

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REMINDER: Our annual  fund drive Pledge-A-Picketer is NOW!
The Sunday before Mother’s Day is the biggest protester day of the year.  It also is the date  where we count protesters for donations to support the pro-choice effort and the escorts.  You can pledge a certain amount for each protester showing up that morning. If you prefer, you can also make a straight monetary donation.

Use this form to make your pledge:

Never Assume You Know

Escorting clients into EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville draws on all of our resources of experience, diplomacy, anger management and observation skills. Luckily for new escorts, all of these things can be learned.
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One of the first things we learn is to never assume. Clients can arrive alone. They can be joined by companions in a separate vehicle. They can arrive with a group of people to support them in the same car.  We have had as many as six people pile out of a car to walk to the clinic. They can be dropped off alone or with a companion in front of the clinic. They can arrive walking, taking the bus, dropped off by cab or by car. They can arrive from any direction.
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We have to be especially aware of our preconceived ideas of what clients will look like.
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According to the Guttmacher Institute, 58% of abortion clients are in their 20s. What about the other 42%?
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There was some interesting math posted by South Jersey Women’s Center late in November 2011. The average age of menarche in America is 12.6 years. The average age of menopause onset is 51.7 years. That leaves a lot of possibilities for unplanned pregnancy; as many as 507 opportunities.
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The case in November 2011 of a 10-year old girl from Mexico delivering by cesarean birth started me thinking seriously about the range of ages outside the averages. The youngest recorded person to give birth was 5 years old. The oldest recorded person to give birth was 70 years old. A really wide range of ages could be included as clients for abortion.
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The second time I was at the clinic escorting, there was a very young girl accompanied by a companion who was an adult woman. The young girl was the client. On the other side of the range of ages, we have had several times when a mother and adult daughter have arrived and the mother was the client.
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It is imperative we do not assume based on age who we think is a client. If they are inclined to talk, the client or companion will advise us if they want us to know.
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The next assumption we have to overcome is that clients will all be female presenting. This is not what really happens either. Although the majority of clients will identify as female, there are also clients that identify as male. This happens often enough we need to be careful to put our assumptions aside and respectfully approach each person coming to the clinic.
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A third assumption we need to be aware of is that everyone walking on the sidewalk is going to the clinic. This is one assumption the antis always make. We have seen them approach the same individuals every morning.
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There are a lot of people just going to work. We need to be aware of visible name tags, lunch bags, people walking together with matching bags printed with a company logo, and other people we recognize from our experience on the sidewalk as employees in the area. The more time we spend escorting the easier it becomes to recognize people just walking.
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The only way to make sure a car occupant(s) parking around the clinic or people walking on the sidewalk between 7a-8a are going to the abortion clinic is observation and asking them. “Are you going to the abortion clinic this morning? Those of us in the orange vests volunteer to escort clients to the entrance. Would you like us to walk with you?”
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As we gain experience escorting, we may approach some antis, some people going to Dr. Bizer’s, some people going to work or individuals just walking. We may miss seeing some clients entirely as they approach the clinic. We may gain some, ‘No,’ ‘Of course not,’ but we will also receive several, ‘Yes, please.’ All of the ‘Yes, please’ we receive are worth the learning process.
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Reflections after the Training

I love my fellow escorts – and escorting – and I love talking about it.  What we do, how we do it, why we do it ~ all of that.

So trainings are a blast.  As a presenter, I get to talk about my favorite topics – managing stress and anger, and self-care ~ and I get to hear other people describe their experience.

If I say one thing, there are generally five escorts who could tweak it a little bit to be more accurate, five escorts who would disagree at least slightly, at least one who’d disagree completely, and five who would be willing to tell their own story to illustrate the point.  We don’t always agree on things, but we’ll invest the time and energy to explore it thoroughly, and when we disagree, we try to reach consensus.

We tend to be respectful listeners.  We work at understanding each other’s perspective, although we’ll argue our points vehemently at times.  With the points of unity for a guide, we look for middle ground.  And we can agree to disagree without hard feelings.

A couple of weeks ago on the sidewalk, I got into an argument with one of the anti’s ~ one of the protesters. Now, this is mostly against my principals, usually I am all about “non-engagement.”   And there’s a reason for that.

When I start talking with one of the protesters, I almost always end up angry and frustrated, tempted to say inappropriate and unhelpful things.  So I’m better off not doing it.

But this time, I got sucked in.  He ~ A ~ was talking about the Bible, and a couple of other escorts were arguing with him too, and I just couldn’t resist jumping in.

Of course if didn’t end well, and eventually ~ after maybe 5 minutes ~ I had to walk away from him.  The only redeeming feature of the whole conversation was that while he was talking to me, he wasn’t talking to the couple of clients standing on the corner waiting for the clinic doors to open.

Later, I was trying to figure out why it was so frustrating, why I ended up not being able to tolerate it any longer than I did.   I’m sure part of it is my own issues ~ there is no logical reason why it should bother me if he thinks women should be submissive to their husbands.  I’m certainly not going to marry him.  His opinion is just that.  His opinion.

I know that his interpretation of the bible is also “just that.”  One interpretation.  And I’m grateful for people like Seminarians for Choice, who help me remember that.  I’m not schooled well enough in the Bible to argue effectively with A.  It’s nice to know people who are.  {See their blog here.}

I think the thing that frustrates me most about trying to discuss things with A is that he is not really interested in hearing or understanding.  He is just waiting for the opportunity to make me see I’m wrong.

And I probably do the same thing back to him.  The difference is, I don’t care if he actually agrees with me or not.  I just want him to accept that it’s ok for me not to agree with him.

Does that make sense?  I’m fine with him thinking whatever he wants to think.  I just don’t want him to try to impose it on me, to insist that his way is the only right way.

And yet.  That’s exactly what he does believe.  So he’s trapped by his belief ~ he can’t be open to other possibilities, or even agree to disagree.  That is intrinsic to his belief system.

So really, the next time I’m talking to him, if there is a next time, I need to just listen.  Hmmm.   Not argue.  Just listen and understand his perspective.

I’m not sure I can do that very well, but I can make it a goal.  Not to argue, disagree, tell him why he’s wrong.  Just listen.

Because really, that’s part of what distinguishes us from the protesters.  Listening to people.  Respecting their words.

Well.

Listening.  Sometimes it’s easy.  Sometimes it’s a real challenge.  That’s ok too.

Clinic Staff

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The staff at EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville strive to be professional and polite, even while being constantly subjected to anti-abortion protests.
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When the doors of the clinic are unlocked in the mornings, it is always greeted by a shout of, “Why don’t you get a job some place where you don’t have to stand over the bodies of dead babies.”  I’m sure a simple, “Good morning,” would be a refreshing change.
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They hear the antis shouting and preaching from their soapboxes as they go about their jobs. The need to be alert to incursions by antis into the clinic, as happened twice this month, is mixed with their need to be attentive to the clients inside the clinic.
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Most of the staff at the clinic have been in their positions for years. They come every day. They face the potential for violence each day. Their workday reality is motion-activated cameras and the police on speed dial. Frequently the antis call in and fill their schedules with fake appointments, so they never know for sure how many patients they will see at the beginning of their day. Harassment from antis raises the term “hostile workplace” to a whole new understanding.
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Escorts usually only come a few days a week for an hour a day. We warn new escorts about not getting “burned out” with the words and antics of the antis on the sidewalk, always advising them to not escort every day. Personally, I can only take three days a week before I feel like lashing back at the hate pouring from the antis. I cannot imagine the strength of conviction it must take to work 40 hours a week in the environment produced by the protesters in front of the clinic.
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Escorts try to make the clinic staff’s jobs easier by notifying them in case of problems and checking in with them before we leave for the day. Many of us wish we could let them know how much we value the importance of their work.
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Last week, a new escort baked extra cookies as part of her preparations for Thanksgiving. She brought these extras to the clinic and presented them to the staff of the clinic. Thanks, AR. It was a simple gesture to let them know we appreciate them.
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As you prepare for your Thanksgiving get togethers with family and friends, please join us in being thankful for the staff of EMW. They make it possible for many clients to have access to abortion.
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REMINDER: Escort training on December 3rd,  9:00A to 10:30A.  Registration will start at 8:30A. We’ll be talking about the things you need to know if you think you might want to be an escort. If you want more information about the training you can email us at:
everysaturdaymorning@gmail.com
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Words Matter

Note:  I didn’t write this post – another escort  did, un-named at their request.  I wish I had written it.  It’s well said, and needs to be said.  The truth is, I probably need to hear it!  

Listening to the shouts and sidewalk preaching aimed at clients this morning on the sidewalk, I couldn’t help but think how important the words and tones we use to say things are. Blame, shame and humiliation are preached outside the clinic door. Escorts strive to bring acceptance, normalcy and empowerment to clients who are faced with hateful words when they arrive at the clinic. Words matter.

We have a new anti on the street the past two Saturdays who has brought the importance to differentiate the escort language and approaches to an even stronger idea to keep in mind. He was present on the sidewalk in the past, disappeared for about two years and is now back. Dave is his name. He screams, “Do not kill me, Mommy,” at clients while he rushes up to walk in front of them.

Today he had a heart painted on his hand with a square inside it. Dave would thrust his hand up so the client could see the drawing and say, “I drew a picture of you and me. Here it is. I love you, Mommy. Don’t kill me.”

It is hard to keep a semblance of normalcy while dodging him, a line of praying antis and soapbox preachers screaming messages of hellfire. We are there to empower the clients in their walk through this gauntlet. It is important we use the words that calm and reassure the client that they have people who respect their right to make a choice.

The following is a recap of things we have covered in training and discussions. I think it is worth repeating at this point. Experienced escorts will recognize all of these points and can add to them, but for newer escorts it might help to restate some of these.

While talking to two new volunteers this morning, some of us touched on the subject of how you approach and talk to clients and their companions. We all have different approaches and verbiage we use, but we are trying to get the same message across quickly. The main points are: 1. We volunteer to escort clients to the EMW Clinic. 2. Would you like us to walk with you?

How you convey your message is as important as what you say.

We always need to keep in mind the client has this one experience walking up the sidewalk. We can perfect our approach and conversation weekly, but we only have one time to get it right with the client we are approaching today. Calm, non-threatening presence and asking permission to escort them are imperative. The approach should be friendly and nonthreatening. A small wave and smile works to break the ice.

We have about 30 seconds to let the client know who we are and to gain their permission. If a client says they don’t want an escort, we of course let them walk alone.

Clients don’t know us and frequently confuse us with protesters. I usually start by asking the clients if they are going to the EMW Clinic.  Sometimes, I say Abortion Clinic or Surgery Clinic. My personal preference is Surgery Clinic. It immediately distinguishes a difference from AWC. Using the term Abortion Clinic helps in destigmatizing the word abortion and some escorts prefer this.  I find when I say EMW Clinic, I personally don’t speak clearly enough and usually have to repeat, but this may work for other escorts.

Then we ask the client if they would like us to escort them. If they say, “Yes,” we walk beside them. If they say, “No,” we back away and allow them to walk alone. It is all about the client’s choice. Sometimes the client will say, “No,” and then when they start walking change their minds. We should watch for this, but not approach them unless they request us to join them.

The next step is to identify the people on the sidewalk for the clients. Explaining to them all the people in the orange vest volunteer to escort and everyone else is protesting is quick and easy. We should be assuring the client the protesters will say things to them and try to hand them literature, but the client can ignore them and keep walking.

Giving permission to ignore the antis is important. Most people are too polite to be intentionally rude to anyone trying to talk to them.

If a client appears to be particularly nervous, I advise them to watch the sidewalk and don’t make eye contact to minimize the chance of engagement with an anti. It is important for one escort to keep talking to the client as you are walking to the door. This should be only one escort talking to the client. If more than one tries to talk, we overwhelm the client and they are not able to focus on one person. Then they are more likely  to be distracted and distressed with the anti rhetoric.

While walking up the sidewalk, the escort talking to the client should use calming, non-inflammatory speech. Talking about the sidewalk is a tactic a lot of us use because the sidewalk is bumpy. We need to keep in mind the idea of non-engagement with the antis and non-political speech on the sidewalk.

Again, these clients don’t know anyone on the street (usually). They are confused, nervous and don’t know who to trust. If we engage in struggling verbally with the antis, we are not providing an empowering environment for them to walk to their medical appointment.

Telling the clients all the antis are haters, blamers and insane does nothing but cause the client to be more nervous and upset. It puts escorts in the same category as the antis. They are telling the client all escorts are liars and don’t care about them; we are telling them all antis are liars and don’t care about them.

Again, the client doesn’t know any of us and then is made more nervous when we talk against the antis because they don’t know what is going to happen when they get to the door of the clinic. They just want to go to the doctor and don’t want to get into a struggle with opposing factions on the abortion issue.  Instead, if you just matter of factly say ‘some of these people will be trying to talk to you and you can ignore them if you want,’ it puts a veneer of civility to the otherwise bizarre situation they find themselves in.

We are all human and subject to human emotions. If the anti-rhetoric gets you angry and you feel like firing back, it is time to walk away for a little while. Always remember, we are there for the clients. We are there to help empower them in their decision. An angry escort yelling, pushing or just talking about how awful the antis are is doing nothing to support the client. It is time to walk away, cool off and regroup so you can escort the next client calmly.

No one should have to have support in exercising their choice to have a medical procedure.  But until the antis stop coming out, we need to be there.

Escort Training Saturday, July 25, 2009

Our next escort training will be next Saturday, July 25, 2009. We will meet at the ACLU office, 315 Guthrie Street,

Suite 300 after escorting at the clinic.  We will start the training at 9am.

Light breakfast and coffee provided by KY RCRC.

And for the first time ever, we are having an escort exchange! We will be hosting escorts from Cleveland OH here and sending escorts from here up there some time next month.

We are really excited to make friends with escorts from other cities, comparing tactics and stories, creating community and networking with like minded people.

We hope to see you there!

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Clinic Escort Training

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Clinic Escort Training

When: Saturday January 31, 2009 9am

Where: 4th Ave. United Methodist Church 318 W.  St. Catherine Street

Who: Anyone who is committed to ensuring empowered access to the only abortion clinic in Louisville Ky

Why: Every Saturday Morning 30-60 protesters show up to EMW Women’s Surgical Center and harass clients entering the clinic

What: Learn techniques to provide tactical and emotional  support for clients and their support persons on the public street

coffee and sweets will be provided by KYRCRC. Thanks to all our supporters.

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