Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Learning to act right (25)… What’s harassment and why it must stop.

Learning to act right (25)… What's harassment and why it must stop.
Torrey Orton
Jan. 4, 2012
A message to HGPI* "helpers"

The Fertility Control Clinic is the everyday frontline of the lifer-choicer confrontation in Melbourne. We sit clearly on the choicer side for a number of reasons, and with a view that it's easier to inflame than it is to understand. So far we have succeeded in not inflaming a volatile setting.

We both retain a strong belief that clinic clients are being unreasonably accosted, and still want to see whether some sort of intervention might be created to address this situation. The objective in general will be to reduce perceived harassment to zero.

You are seen as harassing by many patients and by us. We know you act better when we're around, so the harassment must be even more than we see. We think the Bible encourages supporting the weak and you are harassing the very vulnerable. We also think you as a group do not understand why you are seen as harassing, and not only by us. Here's why, in two parts:

Part 1 - The idea that patients arrive already stressed so you are not aggravating it reflects a basic misunderstanding of stress. It is VERY clear that stress is cumulative, both through multiple stressors at one time and/or sustained stressor(s) over longer periods. A highly stressed person requires slight additional stress to push them over their personal limit. Anything anyone does which increases the stress of already stressed people who cannot defend themselves is understood in law as harassment. Patients are understood in anyone's church to be unusually vulnerable.

Part 2 - Harassing behaviour in the FCC context is any continued offering to patients and their families who have refused an initial offer by HGPI members. Continued offering means following the patients beyond the point of first contact and refusal towards the FCC gate and saying things like "You'll be a good mother / father." "Don't harm your beautiful baby", etc.

We would like you to understand this, and here's how we propose to try:
1- This document specifies a publically understood meaning of harassment (Part 2 above)
2- It also assumes a standard conception of stress as cumulative (Part 1 above)
3- We will present it to you and discuss the meanings of 1 and 2 for clarity
4- Then, we will begin to document violations of those 2 understandings and confront you in various ways with the evidence
5- In the process of step 4, our way of confronting you may elicit feelings of guilt and shame and anger from you, which is what harassment elicits from some patients.
6- We will do all of this in ways which do not add to patient stress.

Your pro-life pro-choicers,
Torrey Orton and Charles Brass
Friends of the Fertility Control Clinic

*HGPI = Helping God's Precious Infants

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