Sunday, 5 April 2020

Disability, Trust and Vulnerability

Hello Everyone,


This post is about the topic of trust. Mainly, the fact that blind and partially sighted people need to trust others more than the average person. But it's also about how we shouldn't let this impact our safety. In other words, there should be a way to not put yourself in a more vulnerable situation, just because you need to trust the other person has your best interest at heart.


The Story That Inspired This Post:



Before we begin I'd like to explain that this was inspired by Victoria Vivace's blog post. She was the blind girl who was conned by her uber driver to give him a £20 tip and 5 star rating. All it took was, persuading her he needed to use her phone to check the journey because it wasn't working on his. From there he gave himself a very generous tip amd rating, without her knowledge. When I first heard about this, I'll admit my reaction was far from sympathetic. Yes, what the driver did was wrong. He should NOT have taken advantage of her like that. But I couldn't help but feel that,  she was partially to blame. Why? Because she shouldn't have given him her phone in the first place. From the looks of it other bblind and partially sighted people felt the same way. It wasn't until I read Victoria's post that I could see it from her point of view. 


Victoria explained that although the idea of the app not "letting him complete the task" was odd, she didn't think much of it. During the drive her driver hadn't done anything suspicious. He let her charge her phone, asked about how she became blind and they talked about his car. So she turned off her text to speech feature, to let him use her phone normally. This is an accessibility feature that reads out everything on your phone out loud. It can range from information on apps, text messages, buttons you press on your keyboard and more. On iPhones the feature is called Voiceover and on Android it's called Talkback. A lot of blind people use it so they can use their phone independently, like everyone else. With it being off Victoria didn't know what he was doing on her phone. She trusted him to do what he said he would. He even escorted her to her front door! It wasn't until she checked her email later that night, she saw what he had done. Thankfully the issue has now been dealt with, with the help of Uber and the police. I've paraphrased what she wrote in her post, so check out her blog to find out the full story. I should also mention that Victoria is a lot more than an innocent blind woman who was decieved by her driver. She's a professional  singer, singing teacher, song wroter, blogger and does workshops too. There's more to her than her disability. She's very talented. I don't know her personally, but I think you should all check out her work.


Trust Makes You Vulnerable:



One part of Victoria's post that really stood out to me was when she mentioned her need to trust others made her more vulnerable. This is something I wanted to explore further. I agree that because of our visual impairment, blind and partially sighted people are at times, in situations where they do need to rely on other people. This can happen when, asking someone to help you cross the road in an unfamiliar enviornment. You need to trust that the person who is willing to help will help you reach your destination. But also make sure you get there safely. Or when you're at the supermarket buying something but you don't know if the item is suitable for vegetarians. So you ask a member of staff to help you find what you need and read the information too. You trust that they will do their job, locating what you need and making sure it meets your requirements. I know it's easier to use your phone to figure out where you are, or order your groceries online. But there are times where your phone isn't much help, or you just need to buy that one thing you've run out of. It happens people. 

In the video above, Casey Niestat and Molly Burke went to a coffee shop and ordered coffee. Casey was blind folded to experience what it's like to do that without sight. It's a great example of how asking people for help is normal for people with sight loss. It's part of our everyday life. In order to become more independent, we recieve oriental and mobility training. It teaches us life skills, such as travel and mobility, managing money and cooking. In the UK this is done by our local councils. When I had mobility training I found that asking people for help when I needed it, was an important tool. I gained the confidence to do it, and now it's normal for me. If I need help, I just ask. So asking people for assistance and trusting them, allows people with sight loss to be their own version of independent. If you have children with visual impairments, encourage this independence from an early age. But remember each person is different, everyone has their own level of independence.

For people with sight loss, there are times we can find ourselves in situations that make us vulnerable. In these situations, it's important to trust wisely. Think about the situation you're in, how the person could take advantage of you and how to keep yourself safe. If I was in Victoria's situation, I wouldn't have given him my phone. The issue he claimed to have didn't make sense. It's something Uber should handle. I would have found a way to get out of that situation and get to safety. I don't have all the details planned out. But it's one of those situations where you think on your feet. Having said that, we should still make sure we stay as safe as possible. Here are some tips on how you can do that, from now on.


Current Events:



With recent events it's become difficult for blind and partially sighted people, to continue being independent. We're adaptable, but new challenges take time to overcome. One of these is the essential changes in supermarkets. The changes in the environment take some time to get used to. Plus you need to be made aware of them first. Also social distancing is a challenge in itself, depending on your level of vision, you need to rely on other people to abide by the rules on your behalf. Here are some more resources to help people with sight loss during this time. Sight loss charities in the UK have created a petition to make sure blind and partially sighted people are considered "vulnerable enough" to recieve priority access for online food deliveries.

In this post I wanted to give my take on trust making disabled people vulnerable. It wasn't my intention to offend anyone. I'm sharing another side to the topic. I hope you all enjoyed it. Stay home and stay safe.

Nanjiba 

4 comments:

  1. My autistic son takes everyone at face value, and trusts what they are saying to be true. It is likely he will always need support in his day to day life, and I can’t always be there, and there likely will come a point where I won’t be there anymore.

    So people taking advantage and mistreating him is a constant worry, you’ve explained excellently the vulnerability of disabled people who HAVE to put their trust in others.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, I'm glad you liked it. There are good people out there, so hopefully your son finds people he can trust and understand him when he's older.

      Also there's a Netflix show called Atypical that you and your family might enjoy watching, if your kids are old enough for it.

      Thanks.

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  2. This is such an insightful read. It's not something I've given much thought to in the past, as it's not something that affects me personally. But it really makes you realise that those with disabilities are incredibly vulnerable, particularly if faced with people who haven't got their best interests at heart.

    Trust is a particularly difficult thing at the best of times. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! xx
    El // welshwanderer.com

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  3. Thank you for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed it and found it an interesting read.


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