On the street

I was followed on the street when going to a class at an organisation for blind people. I first checked if the person was really following me by changing my speed and crossing a street. When I was sure, I turned around and told the person to go in front of me, but the person did not answer and also did not pass me. When I called the organisation and asked for someone to come out and see who was following me, the person disappeared.

On the train with my guide dog

I have a guide dog. Once on a train, two teens (12-14 y, male) looking for trouble were harassing passengers. As I ignored them, they pinched my dog. The dog went to sit in the aisle to get away from them. I put my leg across the aisle to block their access to him and told the boys firmly: “now you stop and you leave him alone”. They gave up and got off the train at the next stop.

Celine: making noise

I have to do long commutes every day and after a long working day, my concentration usually decrease, making it more difficult for me to find my way. So I’m always happy when people help me. One day, a man offered to guide me on my way to the station, which I accepted thankfully. What irritated me was that he immediately linked our arms. At first I ignored that strange feeling. The man was very friendly and seemed helpful. On our way we discussed a current political scandal at the town hall. We arrived very fast at the train station, and then he started patting my hand and interrogating me if I had a friend or was married. I was feeling frightened and disgusted. Then I remembered our self-defence class and that it was important to act and make noise. I gathered my courage and yelled : « This man is molesting me ! The man beside me harasses me. » Again and again, many times. First I felt uncomfortable, but after the second or third time, I realised that I felt prouder and braver. The men let me go very quickly and I was surprised. As I cannot see, I don’t know where he went. Several people came and offered their help, and I caught the train. Even if my knees were trembling afterwards, I felt great because I managed to fight for myself and my dignity.

Fatima: the limits

My mother had a new partner and I could not read his lips, nor understand him when he talked. Each time I asked him to speak more slowly and clearly, he laughed and made fun of me, so I would leave the room. One day, I decided not to go back to my mother’s place. She complained that I never visited anymore so I told her to meet at my place because I didn’t want to see her partner. Then I told her that if she wanted me to visit her again, she needed to explain to her partner that his behaviour was not ok. My mother finally talked to him and when I visited again, he behaved better.

Marisa: my father-in-law

My father-in-law never accepted that I was deaf, and so when I went to visit him, he used to talk to me when I wasn’t looking, or called me out from far away as if I was able to hear. So I decided to ignore him as long as he didn’t tap on my shoulder or didn’t make the effort to behave appropriately to enable me to communicate. My husband didn’t feel comfortable with the situation and held me responsible, but I thought that my father-in-law’s behaviour was disrespectful and so I continue to act like I did.