Shona was walking along a familiar street with her
guide dog, when the dog suddenly slowed, Making her aware of a pavement
obstacle. Shona could hear work going on ahead so stood for a minute until a
man approached her.. he explained
that there was a ladder on the pavement but that he would give her assistance
to get past it. He then told Shona to take his hand to which she
explained that she would hold his elbow so that he could guide her safely. As
she took his elbow he grabbed her elbow and in doing so touched her rib cage.
However accidental this may have been, Shona felt powerless in the situation
and felt that her explanation of how best to help had been ignored. She
also felt that she had been touched in an inappropriate and intimate place,
which would have been easily avoided had the person listen to her original
advice. He then proceeded to walk past the lather not explaining that there was
not enough space for the three of them including the dog. This led to both
Shona and the dog becoming confused and disorientated as they were not able to
use the skills of their partnership in the correct way as they would have
normally done when using sighted guide.
Shona wishes that people would #justaskdon’tgrab, but also Wants to stress the importance of listening when a disabled person tells you how best to be helpful and respond appropriately.
Criminologist and Co-Director of Centre for Gender Studies at University of Sussex