Sad way woman with disfigurement has to block out sick taunts from strangers

A woman whose face was completely disfigured after a cancer complication when she was child has described how she is constantly harassed in the street.

Janine Howard says she is forced to wears headphones to block out the daily taunts from members of the public.

Ms Howard, from North Belfast, developed leukaemia when she was a toddler and a bacterial infection then affected her face development.

She says teenagers now shout abuse at her as she walks down the street, adding “instead of calling me Quasimodo, they call me Jeanny-Meany Modo”.

The 33-year-old said the mocking started when she left hospital as a child, reports Belfast Live .

She added that teens often shout “pasty face, stupid face, spastic face, squashed-up face” at her in the street.

Janine says “the only way I can blank it out is with the headphones”, adding that it gives her the “confidence to walk straight through them… I see their lips moving but I don’t hear them”.

Ms Howard said she also found that her photograph was being posted on Facebook with people poking fun at her.

She said those behind the abuse are usually teenagers.

She added that she has asked police to tell people to “leave me alone”, but they say there is little they can do.

People even give her grief while she is with her partner, she added. But on her own street, where the local children are quite young, there is no trouble at all she says.

The lady said that although she gets “annoyed, angry and uptight”, she can cope because she has a good family.

She added: “It’s wrong and it can be dangerous to people. It can affect people mentally. I have too many family and friends for that.

“But I do get annoyed and upset. What am I supposed to do – run about wearing a Halloween mask or lock myself indoors?”

She appealed to the people who were taunting and humiliating her on the street: “Stop and think before you speak and let me live my life.”

Callers to Radio Ulster’s Talkback said such intimidation was “heartless” and condemned a “sick society” that pokes fun at people with a disability.

Police confirmed that they are investigating the case.


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