If you mention the term "devotee" to anybody unfamiliar with the amputee community, chances are they will not know what you are talking about. I had no idea what a devotee was before my amputation. It wasn't until I was recovering from the surgery and I started to do research on the Internet about amputees that I was exposed to the devotee culture.
A Devotee, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, refers to an individual who is attracted to an amputee. Many times this attraction can be likened to being attracted to blond hair, or to somebody who is tall or to somebody who is thin or heavy. I have no doubt that many loving and lasting relationships have been forged between amputees and devotees. The vast majority of devotees have an attraction to amputees, but they are non-threatening and non-confrontational.
Unfortunately, there is a small group of devotees who take their admiration to an extreme. I refer to these individuals as the Extreme Devotee, because I don't want to lump them in with the benign, non-threatening devotee. There is a difference between admiration and ogling. Run ins with the extreme devotee can be frightening. I was at an amputee conference last year, and I experienced this phenomenon first hand.
Walking through the mall, I realized that I was being followed by a group of three men. These men followed me for over 30 minutes, and were taking pictures with their cell phones whenever I stopped. I was scared, and I called my husband on the cell phone. He encouraged me to find mall security. When I approached the information desk, the extreme devotee stalkers scattered. As they walked past me, they told me that they loved my stump. It was just creepy.
I am usually approached by the extreme devotee when I am alone. I have been approached in the produce section of my grocery store and told that I would be "sexier" if I didn't wear my prosthetic. When getting coffee at 7-11 in the morning, I have had somebody whisper that they wanted to "lick my stump." This upset me because I had my son, an infant at the time, with me. I have received offers of up to $250 for a single picture of my leg.
Within the amputee community, devotees have a negative connotation because of the actions of a small group. The radical extreme devotee demonstrates an obsession versus the admiration shown by the general devotee. I do not understand individuals who harass and stalk amputees to satisfy a pornographic desire.
- I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.