Recently a campaigner posted some photos on our Facebook wall of cars parked in the disability access bays.
It was no different to any other situation of photos shared to demonstrate the frustrating and sometimes dangerous situations people with disabilities are often placed in when they’re just trying to access their community. Under Australian Privacy laws it is not illegal for us to publish photographs of vehicles (or even people) in open public spaces.
There are occasions the offending driver identifies their car and responds with an apology. It opens up opportunities for them to hear from those affected by it first hand and they’re more likely to stop the behaviour.
Unfortunately this time, that didn’t happen. Instead we got a barrage of excuses, abuse and insults. Ironically we were accused of being the bullies. Whilst most of it was played out in the public arena, for the campaigner who shared the photos it was private, direct and very ugly.
It’s not bad enough that we are forced to have to endure people like this who discriminate against people with disabilities by blocking access, but they also think it’s appropriate to victimise the people who call out this kind of behaviour in pathetic attempts to try and vindicate themselves rather than apologise and admit it was wrong to do.
Both preventing access and victimisation are offences under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 but these offences are so obscure to the general community they’ve got no idea. Which makes it even worse that they’re guided by their moral compass to do these things rather than the law. Unfortunately several campaigners other than myself were sent harassing and victimising messages in private by people too gutless to say what they had to say in the public arena. Yet, I’m the one accused of hiding behind a computer screen. Yeah, cos I’m never out there dealing with this face to face. I’m not the one whose identity is attached to this campaign all through the media. Please, don’t be so Johnny Come Lately and abuse me for standing up for people’s rights. How privileged of you.
I’m really tired of the age old come back “I have friends with disabilities” or “I’m very active in the disability community”. Big whooping deal. You don’t live our lives. You don’t walk in our shoes. You don’t sit in our wheelchairs. You don’t suffer our agony, frustration and often at times, humiliation. If you did, you’d treat people with disabilities and their rights, with more respect than displayed here and you sure as hell wouldn’t walk on by and allow it to happen. Remember, the standard you walk past is the standard you accept and we’re all just one accident or illness away from a disability.
So you can complain to Facebook all you like about the pictures my campaigners post on there but here, on this website… this is my domain. I choose what gets displayed. You’re welcome.
Oh and one more thing…. threatening to go to the police about a photograph that incriminates you committing an offence (which might I add is acceptable as evidence for an infringement in many cases), is not exactly the smartest thing to do.