Sally was abused in the street whilst out in her powerchair and I was going to tell this little cheering story in her comments, but I thought I would put it here instead.
I am fortunate enough never to have received any overt abuse from strangers - in my more vertical days I had a bit of low-level sexual stuff and in the wheelchair I get the usual patronisation and crap, plus all those hilarious comments about speed limits, jet-engines and go-faster stripes. Oh my, how I laugh!
However one day, when I started using my powerchair, I was a bit nervous about running into trouble. After all, I was going out by myself for the first time in years and in the manual chair I was always with [...] who is a 6'2" sixteen-stone skinhead and tends to go through life miraculously unharassed.
Anyway, I was trundling along an isolated stretch of road, where I spotted a crowd of young lads of about fourteen or fifteen, all dressed in black with unkempt hair, hunched shoulders and scowls on their faces - you know the type - and they were occupying the entire width of the pavement.
No lowered kerbs nearby, so no chance of crossing the road without it being obvious if I attempted to avoid them entirely, so I rode right up to them and said, "Excuse me please."
"Excuse me please!"
"Excuse me PLEASE!"
At my third request they all jumped a foot in the air, and proceeded to line up wit their backs flat against the wall, giving me far more room than I needed to pass, all making their apologies as they did so. One of the lads was slower to move and had himself violently dragged to the side by his peer who snapped at him, "Get out of the lady's way, you spaz!"
Which I must confess made me smile somewhat.
On a serious note, the fact that Sally's abuser was wearing a suit and these lads behaved as they did says much about books and their covers. I also wanted to say that, folks who abuse wheelchair-users would most likely abuse anyone who seems like an easy target. Which doesn't make it any less upsetting or intimidating, but it does mean that there is little room for analysing why any of us become victims. These twats are fairly indiscriminate, like playground bullies.