CN: Child abuse, child sexual abuse, child murder
Imagine that I told you that a young boy named Jamie* (hypothetical name) was being sexually abused by his father. What is your first thought? Hopefully, it’s all “hells no” and you’re ready to make heads roll, right? You’d be fighting for him and the Internet would be literally with hashtags like #justiceforJamie. We are outraged when we find out that our children are being abused by the ones they came to love and trust. But yet… this is a reality that disabled people face every day. People are appalled when it happens to “able-bodied” children, but when it’s a disabled child? “Oh, they don’t know the difference”. “They don’t understand.” “It won’t hurt them.” While to some, it may be hard to believe that people can be this callous, it’s true. When disabled children speak out about their child abuse, we aren’t believed in the same way other children are. When disabled children speak out about abuse – physical or sexual or emotional – we are gaslit. Disabled children (and vulnerable adults) are more likely to be abused than others. And yet…
Imagine a child was murdered by her mother. We’re shocked. We’re appalled. We cry out for justice for little Sophia (name chosen at random). We create a hashtag for her and raise money for her funeral so that the rest of the family doesn’t have to pay the final costs for their baby girl. Everyone (or at least, I should hope everyone. I’m sure there are some people who are not) is appalled that a little girl was murdered. But I ask you like I did before – imagine that child was disabled. Suddenly, the tune and tone is very different. “Oh, you don’t understand how hard it is to raise a disabled child.” I was a disabled child once, too. “Oh, they don’t have enough services.” Shut the fuck up about services. Walk in their shoes. I am going to throw MY fucking shoes in your face. “But she wanted to relieve her child’s suffering.” Who are you to define how Sophia feels? “But she’s such a good mother!” Good mothers don’t murder their frick-fracking children.
Sophia and Jamie could be you or me. They might be disabled or they might not be. But the outcome is different dependent on something that is completely out of their control. You say that you would speak out, but do you? When people are defending someone for murdering their child (and these deaths are often gruesome and painful, far from mercy killing – which is a fucked up concept in and of itself) – take a good look at yourself.
This could be me someday. I could be assaulted or murdered at the hands of one of my caregivers. Will people defend my abuser? Will people cry out for my justice? Or will I simply become another statistic?