Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Blind woman hits back at bullies who "nearly destroyed me"

untitled-1.jpg
untitled-2.jpg
untitled-5.jpg

A blind woman who was persecuted by a gang of bullies fought back by filming them with a body camera and handing the incriminating footage to police.

Siobhan Meade, 30, was targeted by the youths after she moved from Norfolk to the Hertfordshire town of Stevenage last year.

"[It] ranged from being sworn at in the street, young people circling me and deliberately walking me into lampposts and nearly being mugged," she told BBC News.

"They actually said 'let's mug her and see how much she can see'... I was horrified.

"It was extremely distressing and it nearly destroyed me as a person... It was intimidating beyond belief."

Meade was born partially sighted and lost her vision completely aged 16.

She launched a respect campaign to combat the abuse after it began late last year and received support from residents of Stevenage, who were horrified by her treatment at the hands of the bullies.

"Everyone who has read my story has been both shocked and disgusted by it," she told thecomet.net earlier this year.

"They have told me that nobody should have to go through this. The majority of the public have been totally and utterly appalled and are right behind me."

Siobhan Meade with her guide dog Mac, photo courtesy of thecomet.net

However, her respect campaign did not go far enough in stopping the gang and eventually she arranged to film the perpetrators as "a last resort".

Meade used her own initiative to approach UK-based video companies and ask for a body-worn camera she could try out.

She then gave the film to police, who contacted the culprits. The abuse then stopped for the most part and Meade no longer felt the need to wear a camera.

"You get the odd silly comment but nothing to the extent it was," she said.

She added that officers had been "so supportive and given me lots of reassurance".

Hertfordshire Police said hate crime was "under-reported for many reasons" and encouraged victims to come forward.

"We are committed to ensuring people with disabilities have increased support and opportunity to report incidents in a safe and secure environment, either to the police or via a third party," a spokesman said.

It's not the first time Meade, a journalist, has campaigned for the rights of people with disabilities. In 2012 she rallied against cuts to the disability living allowance pushed through as part of the coalition government's sweeping benefit reforms.

See more about Meade's campaigns in the video below or on her Twitter feed.

Siobhan campaigns against cuts to disability benefits in a video posted on YouTube in 2012:

Words: Anna Brech, Photos: Twitter and thecomet.net

Related

bounty-bars.jpg

Top five recipes for healthy and sugar-free cakes, puddings and desserts

miserable.jpg

10 things that are scientifically proven to make you unhappy

hero-main.jpg

Myth and rape: will we ever stamp out victim-blaming in cases of sexual assault?

bnd8vbncuaafdta.jpg

Michelle Obama urges release of kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria, as UK sends assistance

untitled-1.jpg

CCTV footage casts doubt over Amanda Knox alibi

whistlewoodhero.jpg

10 weekend breaks under £200

More

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants reunion to Nicki Minaj's vintage look

by Nicola Colyer
18 Aug 2017

Chris Brown tried to excuse his attack on Rihanna, and it’s not OK

“Violence is a choice he made – and he alone is responsible for it”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Serena Williams on how skin colour affects what people think of her

“I feel like people think I’m mean”

by Amy Swales
17 Aug 2017

This Hocus Pocus star’s pregnancy announcement is pure 90s perfection

“I smell children…”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Anna Faris on knowing when to call time on an unhappy relationship

“Don’t be afraid to seek your independence”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Why Taylor Swift’s sexual assault verdict is a victory for womankind

The pop star has completely changed the narrative

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton defends Donald Trump from sexual assault allegations

“I think [the women] are just trying to get attention and get fame...”

by Moya Crockett
16 Aug 2017

The personality trait that Mindy Kaling hopes to pass on to her baby

Kaling gets real about motherhood as she confirms her pregnancy

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton describes the emotional fallout of her 2001 sex tape

“I could not leave my house for months”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017

Taylor Swift wins sexual assault case for “anyone who feels silenced”

“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017