There are not many jobs that require you to stand there and take it while you are yelled at and verbally abused, but being an Planned Parenthood escort is one of them. We are under strict orders not to engage with the protesters, and we don’t. Sometimes, though, that can be really, really difficult.
In those moments when there are no women entering the clinic, the protesters often turn their energies toward the escorts—and that means me. (For more on what it’s like to be an escort, read this post.) Sometimes what they say is fairly innocuous, and other times it’s the expected “there is blood on your hands” and “you are leading those women to the slaughter.” But lately the protesters at my local clinic have begun taking things even further.
You are a wicked woman.
Women like you are utterly vile.
You are worthy of nothing but disdain.
The disgust in their voices is palpable, and I have no recourse but to stand there and take it. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t emotionally taxing. Fortunately, the other escorts and I are usually not to close too the protesters, and fortunately the protesters don’t usually keep this up the entire time. But for that time when am standing close to them, waiting for someone to get out of a car on that side of the parking lot, listening to this? It’s hard to keep my face passive and not respond. I am beginning to understand why there is such high turnover among escorts.
Do me a favor, will you? If you ever have a chance to make an escort’s day brighter, whether it’s bringing him or her a treat as a thank you or just offering kind words and a hug, please do.