The harassment faced by people with invisible disabilities
People with invisible disabilities often face harassment, especially when parking in disabled bays. This can take many forms, from verbal abuse to physical assault.
One of the most common forms of harassment is verbal abuse. People with invisible disabilities may be shouted at, sworn at, or made to feel unwelcome. They may be accused of cheating or abusing the system. This can be very distressing and make people feel self-conscious and anxious.
A man on Reddit posted about his experience on the Petty Revenge sub. when he was approached by the “parking police” — self-appointed members of the public who think it’s their duty to call out offenders. The “parking police” accused him of stealing a handicapped spot.
“I’m a healthy looking 55 year old male but have a degenerative nerve disorder and Ataxia (balance issues) so have a very hard time walking. I pull into a handicap spot at the grocery store, put my placard up, and get myself out of the car. A very angry person about my age runs up to me screaming about how I’m stealing a handicapped spot from someone who needs it.
As he went on I pulled out my walker and started walking to the store as he continued making a scene. As I walked to the store a cop, who just happened to be there, asked what happened. I just told him some people don’t get it and pointed to my walker and went about my business.
About 30 minutes later I came out of the store and noticed the guy was getting a field sobriety test. I sat in my car and watched as he eventually got arrested. Maybe next time he’ll keep his mouth shut.”
“I love how you didn’t have to lift a finger to get revenge. His own *** and bad karma did it all for you,” agreed one reader.
Another applauded the cop’s response and shared their own experience, “Good for you!! I have an invisible (usually) disability and am relatively young, but have a handicap placard. Every damn time I use it I have to mentally prepare myself for the distinct possibility that someone will want to act as my MD/PT and harass me for legally using my tag because I’m young and don’t “look” disabled.”
Highlighting that having a disabled placard actually isn’t a privilege one added, “I am glad that you had an officer around. I hate that people get irritated with the "entitlement" of a disabled placard, like it comes with all these privileges not extended to anyone else... I would rather not have my placard and be able to walk from the boonies than use the placard because I never know when my issues will flare up.”
According to a Forbes article many people think the word “disability” means people who require a wheelchair or walker. In reality, however, there is much more to disability than meets the eye.
The article goes on to say that over 42 million Americans have a severe disability, and 96% of them are unseen.
In some cases, people with invisible disabilities may also face physical assault. They may be pushed, shoved, or even attacked. This can be very frightening and can lead to serious injuries.
The harassment faced by people with invisible disabilities can have a significant impact on their lives. It can make them feel isolated, afraid, and depressed. It can also make it difficult for them to go out and participate in activities that they enjoy.
There are a number of things that can be done to address the harassment faced by people with invisible disabilities. One important step is to raise awareness of the issue. Many people are unaware that invisible disabilities exist, and this can lead to misunderstanding and discrimination.
Another important step is to educate people about the challenges faced by people with invisible disabilities. This can help to reduce stigma and promote understanding.
Finally, it is important to support people with invisible disabilities who have been harassed. This can involve providing emotional support, legal advice, or practical assistance.
By taking these steps, we can help to create a more inclusive and supportive society for people with invisible disabilities.
Here are some additional tips for people with invisible disabilities who are facing harassment:
Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself
If you are being harassed, it is important to let the person know that their behavior is unacceptable. You can do this calmly and assertively.
Report the harassment to the appropriate authorities
If you are being harassed, you should report it to the police or the management of the establishment where the harassment is taking place.
Seek support from others
If you are being harassed, it can be helpful to talk to a friend, family member, or support group. They can offer you emotional support and practical advice.
Remember that you are not alone
There are many people with invisible disabilities who face harassment. You are not alone in this experience.