Jennifer Knapp Wilkinson was shopping in her local Walmart one day when she lost her balance, 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 to women who don’t conform to often impossible beauty standards, including 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 can 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 the abuse and derision her weight and her disability drew.
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 are real. So next time you see photos making fun of people just remember you know nothing about these people or the struggles they face every day. It is never just harmless fun to laugh at someone.”