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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Don't Be a Target

Target on His Head
Originally uploaded by zoom in tight

Recently I attended a self defense for women workshop. I have been feeling particularly vulnerable lately due to the fact that I can no longer hear people walking up behind me. I wanted to learn what to do if I were taken by surprise by someone with an intent to harm.

The most important lesson I learned was to establish the mental attitude that "NO, this is not going to happen to me!" when faced with danger. You have to be ready to fight and prepared to fight hard and fast and smart. Never follow an attacker's directions to go to another location. Instead turn the table on him and give him more than he bargained for!

My instructor emphasized the importance of preventing oneself from being targeted in the first place. Her words got me thinking about the safety factor in letting others know of my hearing loss through wearing buttons, T-shirts, stickers, etc. Acting on the suggestion of fellow blogger Danielle I purchased some stickers which my doctors can use to attach to my charts so they are reminded of my hearing loss when I come to their offices. That product really appealed to me.

But some of the other products I found online made me uncomfortable. There were T-shirts meant for those who walk in public parks that said on the back of the shirt the wearer would be unable to hear someone behind him. Yikes! Is that necessary? With so many people wearing ipods these days, I don't see why one would expect to get someone's attention from a distance. I also saw car window decals which seemed particularly risky to me as many attacks against women take place in parking lots. The decal seemed like it might make the car owner more of a target.

What is your opinion on and/or experience with these kinds of products? Is personal safety a factor in your decision to purchase items that announce your hearing loss to the world?

In my next post, I'll share an alternative option that I feel safely addresses communication needs with grace and humor.


kim said...

It's a tough call with those shirts. I've nearly been run over by people on bikes at the park. Even if they call out "passing on your left" I don't hear them. But like you, I don't feel comfortable advertising my deafness.

PinkLAM said...

I'll be really interested to see the comments you get. I'm not sure what I think of drawing attention to my hearing loss. I could see where it would come in handy if there was an event where someone needed to get my attention (and I didn't want to look like a rude snob). But part of me also worries the exact same thing, would I just be making myself a target?

I also ponder if in the future I should include deafness on college applications, or mention it when I'm trying to get a job. And a topic that will soon be very relevant to me- what about driver's licenses? I think I'll write a blogpost on this!

Mog said...

Just walk in a confident way. Don't walk huddled and scared. I doubt there are statistics showing that deaf/HOH people are mugged more than hearing ones. One is more likely to be assaulted by someone one knows after all.

Cyclists piss me off when they scoot by, as do skateboarders runners etc. I bet they would piss me off if I could hear them too.

I once saw someone who had on eth back of her vest "I'm not ignoring you I'm deaf". I understand where she was coming from, before I got my HA I thought the world was full of rude people pushing by. I never realised that they had given up saying excuse me and so barged through. Now I just say that I am sorry that if they were trying to talk to me I hadn't heard them as I am deaf.

No Tshirts and signs arent the answer. The answer is awareness, people realising that 1 in 7 people have a hearing loss and learning to deal with it.

MM said...

I'm iffy regarding advertising the fact I am deaf as a doorknob myself, as this can MAKE you a target. If people know they don't have to creep up on you to mug you they may well feel we are easy game. Just look out for those who say they are deaf..... look they advertise it, also they could just follow us home and think burglary is easy too.

Anonymous said...

I wear a HOH badge, but only at work. I won't wear anywhere else because of the same reason, I would feel vunrable. In this day and age of society, its not a risk I would like taking.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Interesting responses, thanks.

jelly said...

I suppose it is up to the individual.
I have a button at work that says to Please Face Me when speaking, but on the regular I don't wear anything.
My front door, we have a ear with a line through it so in case there was an emergency they know people in the home are deaf/hoh.

In public, I personally, would not wear anything advertising my situation...I wouldn't be comfortable, but like I said, whatever works best for you individually is cool by me.

Michele Simpson said...

This past May I did the Ottawa Half Marathon, but due to a back injury was unable to run it, so my daughter and I walked it.
There was one guy we saw that had a CI and had a 'deaf' sign posted to his back. I thought that was highly appropriate at a race and may do that next time I race.