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

Comments

More

The Queen thanks the people of Manchester following terror attack

“I would like to express my admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded”

by Amy Swales
23 May 2017

Theresa May responds to Manchester terror attack

“Britain's spirit will never be broken”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
23 May 2017

“We stand by your side”: the world responds to the Manchester attack

“We can do little more, but we are here. Solidarity has no frontiers.“

by Kayleigh Dray
23 May 2017

Pippa Middleton’s wedding: all the pictures

The gown, the guests, the royal bridal party

21 May 2017

Gal Gadot explains why the new Wonder Woman is a feminist film

"People have a misconception about what feminism is"

by Moya Crockett
19 May 2017

Robin Wright is still receiving less pay for House of Cards role

She believed she was awarded the same pay as Kevin Spacey in 2016

by Jasmine Andersson
18 May 2017

“How renting out my spare room changed my life”

Four women reveal the transformative experiences they had through Airbnb

by Amy Swales
18 May 2017

Jennifer Lawrence has the best response to leaked pole dancing video

“I'm not going to apologise, I had a BLAST"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
18 May 2017

Solange Knowles writes powerful open letter to her teenage self

The star has a few words to say on the power of the female

18 May 2017

So Geri Halliwell recreated the Wannabe music video all by herself

Viva forever, Ginger Spice

by Kayleigh Dray
18 May 2017