In news that will make your blood boil, Ashley Ozyurt, an Auburn University student living with PTSD has come forward to say that she was bullied by Auburn Football Players when she and her service dog tried were on their way to class yesterday. Ozyurt says the verbal attack reduced her to a "crying mess."
While the situation is apparently "being dealt with" and both the school's football coach and assistant athletic director called Ozyurt to apologize, there's absolutely no excuse or coming back from the horror that two football players visited upon her when she asked them not to distract her service dog. Apparently not used to being told "no," the football players didn't, as human beings, realize that a service dog has an important job and leave Ozyurt, but instead attempted to intimidate Ozyurt until she recognized who the boss was, a task which they apparently accomplished.
Ozyurt, who is a veteran and suffers from PTSD brought on by sexual assault while she was in the Air Force posted a recounting of the event on Facebook:
At 10:30am today I walked into the Halley Center on my way to class. As I was walking I heard people behind me whistling and making kissing noises at my service dog. I ignored it like I usually do for about 10 feet and they didn't not stop. I turned around and said to two Auburn University football players "Please don't distract my service dog." Player number [omitted] moved towards me and proceeded to yell, "What do you want? HUH? Whats wrong with you, nobody's bothering YOU. What are you gonna do? HUH?" I opened my mouth but no words could escape. My hyperventilating only seemed to fuel their verbal assault. When I didn't speak, my service dog began to drag me away from the situation, one of them yelled, "THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT [expletive]!"
At that point, in front of dozens of people, my PTSD took over and I withered to a crying mess. I went to the nearest safe place, the Office of Accessibility and reported the student's football numbers that they were wearing their FB sweat suits and backpacks. [omitted], the main attacker, and his hype man [omitted]. I attempted to attend my first class, but after 30 minutes of crying and humiliating myself further, I knew I needed to get home.
I have never had a negative experience like this, ever! Especially on Auburn's campus where I have been accepted and treated like family until now. In fact, I have commented many times Auburn on how the campus is a safe place for everyone. It is no longer a safe place for me. I am hurt, angered, and very humiliated. I expected more from my university's athletes.
Yeah, fuck expecting more from athletes — this type of behavior shouldn't be expected from anyone. Who even thinks to start yelling at a woman just because she asked two adult men not to make noises at her dog? If someone asks you to stop, you just stop it and you mutter a "sorry" and go back to what you were doing before. You don't take out your embarrassment on the person who asked you to stop. And, to be honest here, I don't know if the reaction from the footballers would have been the same if the person walking with the service dog was male.
While I recognize that this is not how every person would react, it's horrifying to remember how little respect people have for the disabled. If the football players had even bothered to look at Ozyurt's dog, she says, they would have been able to tell that he wasn't just there to be cute but with her to perform a job.
Ozyurt told WRBL that she no longer feels safe at Auburn University.
Image via WRBL