Today I went to an appointment, and afterwards, when I was almost home, a man who was coming from behind me shouted something. I turned to him and laughed and said, "that made me jump", and he yelled it again, but I couldn't work out what he said.
He crossed over the road and yelled the same thing for a third time, and I worked out that he was saying "fucking DLA stick". I said, "I don't know what you mean?" but as I was saying the words I realised that I did. He was implying that, as I walk with a crutch, I was faking a disability to receive benefits.
For the rest of the length of the street, he yelled 'fucking DLA stick' at me again and again. I felt very intimidated and frightened.
And I knew. I knew that it was caused, as well as by a nasty, nasty man, it was also caused by this:
and every other story by the government and the media portraying disabled people as lazy (see the photo in that final screenshot!) scroungers.
I do not need to justify my use of a mobility aid to a complete stranger in the street, never mind one who is flinging abuse at me. The thought that I would carry a big, awkward metal thing around with me at all times in order to claim benefits is just ridiculous. The realisation that this is what some people think, that's frightening.
If anything like this happens to you, remember that it is a disability hate crime. You can report it directly to the police, or through an intermediary such as Stop hate UK.
The war against benefit claimants is, sadly, proving more effective than ever.
(This was cross posted at incurable hippie blog)