Adventures in Canvassing
So I’m a canvasser for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, basically I do voter education and fundraise and sign up members to the fund. Today while I was out in downtown Portland, I met a woman who really brought home the importance of what I do.
It was towards the end of the day, a bit past four, and my energy was definitely diminishing. It was sunny and lovely and I just wanted to curl up and take a nap. But I put on my big “hey do you care about Planned Parenthood!?” smile and tried to talk to a few more people. I waved down a woman, and asked her if she supported Planned Parenthood. She got a kind of questioning look on her face and said “I can’t remember which side they’re on…” and I got super nervous. She asked me if they provided abortions, and I said yes. She got the most lovely look of relief on her face and just goes “yes! Good! I do absolutely.” and she stopped to talk to me. I told her what was going on (Federal budget cuts, the recent bill in Michigan, etc) and she gets this tight lipped smile on her face and says “honey you’re preaching to the choir here. I was raped while under anesthesia for an illegal abortion in 1966. If I had been able to go to a real clinic, I would have been safe. But those bastards didn’t care about women’s health then and they certainly don’t now” and she thanked me for being out there. I was dumbfounded that someone would be so open about that.
We ended up talking for about twenty minutes. She was so incredibly open and kind, talking about what had happened to her. I told her about my own sexual assault, and she hugged me. She said how happy she was that girls like me, today, have places that they can go where they can be safe, that there are movements against victim-blaming, that the “rape culture” is beginning to recede (though by no means is it anywhere close to being gone).
Ladies and gentlemen, this is why we need Planned Parenthood. This is why we need comprehensive sexual education. Because I promise you that somewhere out there are thousands of girls that have been raped and are too scared to tell anyone, with nowhere to go, blaming themselves because we have a culture that overwhelmingly blames the victim for being raped. Sexual health and family planning clinics should be open and accessible to everyone, everywhere.
I shouldn’t have to fight for my healthcare, for my safety. My daughters sure as hell never will.
People suck but are also awesome.
So today I had my first day at my summer job, canvassing for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (the political arm of PP). People were super friendly! I made around fifty dollars my first hour and I was feeling seriously awesome about what I was doing. And then about an hour in, this man stopped to talk to me. He was dressed really well and seemed like an all over nice guy, but I got about two sentences into my spiel and he just started screaming at me. My favorite term he used for me, I think, was “godless slut”. Adding that one to the arsenal for sure. I was absolutely petrified, but a badass lady stepped in and told him to fuck off and he left (She then also handed me ten bucks and told me that I was doing God’s work, it was really rad).
I don’t get people like this. I really really don’t. I know that is kinda dumb and naive of me, but I grew up in the most liberal city in the U.S. and now go to one of the most liberal colleges in the U.S. so I’m honestly just not used to it. I’ve lived in a little bubble of progressivism my whole life. I suppose I always kinda thought of people like that as sorta bogeymen, evil and awful but they never really existed for me. In Portland, no less!
But other than that it was lovely! I made three times my quota and most people were incredibly friendly and receptive. I had great conversations and I’m stoked with how positive the response has been. But gah. That shook me up bad.
TL;DR Some asshole called me a godless slut for fundraising for Planned Parenthood, but humanity as a whole came out on top today.