Jennifer Knapp Wilkinson was shopping in her local Walmart one day when, like many of us have, she lost her balance and slipped, and had to grab onto the shelves to catch herself. She’s also a wheelchair user, so righting herself was even harder.
She managed to get out of the situation without much injury, even though no one was around. Or at least, that’s what she thought.
It turns out, there was someone there to witness her fall, but they didn’t come to her aid, or even ask if she was alright.
Instead, they snapped a photo of Jennifer, then uploaded it to the Internet where people came out of the woodwork to ridicule the obese woman falling out of her wheelchair.
They called her fat, they called her lazy, and they made fun of her predicament. The Internet can be a great place, but it’s also notorious for people being nasty for no reason, especially women who don’t conform to often impossible beauty standards, even new mothers.
Of course, they didn’t know anything about Jennifer that she’s a full-time mom, lives with multiple health issues, and loves to crochet. And they didn’t know the most important thing about her: that she could stand up for herself.
Many people might have tried to ignore it or pretend it never happened, but Jennifer decided to take a stand. She was tired of not only the abuse and derision her weight and her disability she faced, but also that so many other people have faced.
Even if it meant bringing that embarrassing photo back into the public eye.
“The reason I am sharing this is because people think it is funny to laugh at people with disabilities,” she explains.
“You can not see my disabilities but they are there and they arereal.So next time you see photos making fun of people just remember you know nothing about these people or the struggles they face everyday. It is never just harmless fun to laugh at someone.”
Jennifer Knapp Wilkins was shopping in Walmart when she took a spill.
Soon an anonymous photo of her falling was making the rounds on the Internet, and the trolls were having a field day.
Instead of ignoring it, though, Jennifer responded.
“The worst thing about this photo is that people think a fat woman tipped over a cart because she was too lazy to get out of the cart to get the case of soda.”
“I have a condition in my spine called spondylolisthesis.
In spondylolisthesis, one of the bones in your spine called a vertebra slips forward and out of place.
This may occur anywhere along the spine, but is most common in the lower back (lumbar spine). In some people, this causes no symptoms at all.
“Others may have back and leg pain that ranges from mild to severe.
The most common symptoms in the legs include a feeling of vague weakness associated with prolonged standing or walking.
In my case, the longer I stand the more numb and weak my leg become. I have been known to fall because of this condition.”
“So this happened several years ago (around 2011- 2012). I was at a very low point in my mental health.
I also was experiencing a lot of pain and weakness that day. I took a cart because I was grocery shopping for my family.
I went to get a case of soda for my husband (He drinks this stuff by the gallons) and I turn and tried to grasp a case off the shelf and the cart tipped.
I thought I saw a flash of light and heard some young girls giggling.
I thought nothing of it cause I am use to hearing people make fun of me or saying snide remarks.
It was nothing new.”
Jenniferalso talked about her issues with mental illness, which she says drive her to binge eat for comfort. She’s still struggling with her weight, but is attempting to lose some.
“My main point in this answer is I did not choose to be photographed at a low point in my life.
“The fact that people assume I am fat because I am lazy is false. Or they assume I am fat because I want to be on disability.
Obese people are treated as less than human and as something to ridicule. I just want people to be aware that fat people are people too.”
“I also am not asking people to pity or feel sorry for me.
What I want is compassion, understanding, and respect as a fellow human being.
I am a person, please treat me like one!”
The world can be a cruel place, but luckily, there are people like Jennifer ready to take it on and remind us that beingkind and compassionate to others is really what we should be doing!
Please SHARE if you’re sick of bullies!
Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/jennifer-knapp-speaks-out/