Clinic Escorting, Week Two

Today was my second time escorting at the clinic. The first time, I was surprised at how calm I was. It reminded me of the state I’d felt after meditation. It wasn’t quite the same this morning, though I’m still finding it difficult to describe and express, which is why there wasn’t a post about my first time.

I stood at the property line at the edge of the sidewalk, part of a human wall blocking the antis. If there’s not a client around to chase and harass, the antis get bored and try to engage us. Any sort of boundaries or civility do not apply.

Blocking them was like a dance. Shaming, cajoling, lecturing, and preaching wasn’t enough. They wanted to be in the client’s face, in their personal space, with eye contact. The antis would shift sideways to try to look over my shoulder, or tiptoe to look over my head, and I’d match their movements. We’d dance for a while, until they either gave up and went elsewhere, or decided to address me.

I discovered two weeks ago that the best facial expression to use with the antis is the thousand yard stare, combined with a sort of pleasant expression, and a slight, arrogant smirk. It’s a trifecta of contradictions. Open, closed off, and you’re full of shit all at the same time. It grabs their attention, and frustrates them, because they want me to engage, but I don’t. I’ve not spoken a word to the antis, and they want me to–because I’m new, and they know it.

My smirk prompted my frustrated dance partner to say, “you’re too young to be so cold. I can see it in your face. You’re cold-hearted.” I had to suppress the urge to laugh, and burst out singing that Jet song. My lips twitched, and she gave up and walked away.

The antis throw out a lot of names. Murderer, coward, wuss. They particularly like to holler at the male companions of the clients, telling them to “be a man” and “don’t be a wuss.”

At some point, the same anti told another escort that WE were violating the FACE Act (by blocking them from crossing the property line). I had to laugh at that one. I’m guessing the only thing she knows about that legislation is the title. Freedom of Access to Clnic Entrances Act. It’s freedom of access for clients, not protestors. Whoops.

So far, what I’ve seen is only in front of the clinic–I haven’t shadowed any escorts yet. So I haven’t had anyone try to trip me, or elbow me in the ribs. “Just” people getting in my face.

Just? Just.

One of the reasons it’s taken me so long to go down there is I just wasn’t sure how I would react to all of this. I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t lose my temper when say, an anti got in my face. Because honestly, who wouldn’t go off on someone running their mouth about you, four inches from your face?

But the sidewalk in front of the women’s clinic is a different world. Like I said, basic rules of boundaries and civility do not apply. The antis have an entitlement complex. The antis want everyone to do exactly what they want, and if you do anything but comply, it is totally okay to them, for them, to get in people’s faces, to insult, push, intimidate, harass, and tell personal stories about other people to everyone on the street.

The sidewalk, for me, is the only place where I allow such bullshit to go unanswered. It’s the only place where someone getting in my face and insulting me is more amusing than rage-inducing.

On the sidewalk, I am a human wall. If they’re insulting me, they’re not harassing a client. With my body, I’m denying them access to clients who have no wish to engage with them. With my body, I’m blocking their snooping eyes and cameras from clients. I’m there for the clients, not for the antis. I’m there because of the antis.

As a client and her companion were nearing the line, one of the antis shouted “you don’t have to be here!” The companion shot back “you don’t have to be here, either.”

About Brittany-Ann
Brittany-Ann is a proud, self-identified feminist with fictional tendencies. She currently writes for and moderates at My Fault I'm Female. She smokes camels, reads Dumas, and navigates a conservative state as "one of them darn liberals."

One Response to Clinic Escorting, Week Two

  1. Tim says:

    Excellent report! It’s terrible that women have to go through such turmoil to exercise their right to choose, but it’s great there are people like you to defend them.

    Have you heard about the events in Texas? They pushed through an extreme anti-choice bill that could shut down most of the state’s women’s clinics. Even though thousands of women protested at the state capitol against the bill, and a heroic state senator named Wendy Davis conducted a long filibuster to try to stop it, the right-wing shoved the bill through anyway. You should write a blog post about this!

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