CrazyLegs Episode 8 pt 2: I got yelled at for saying “F*ck You on Twitter”
here is a revised version continuing my long post about #MeToo and more upsetting sex stuff…
I was fortunate enough to be asked by Ottobock Healthcare to host their online web series, Fireside Chats, where I had the opportunity to talk to some AMAZING humans about their journey navigating life with limb differences; and how they’re turning their experience into a platform for others. In our inaugural episode, I sat down with Mama Cax, and we talked about a lot of things but we covered the current trend of “inclusion” in fashion. While companies are boasting inclusion with different sizes, races and gender identities; there still seems to be a certain kind of dismissal on people whose bodies are significantly impacted more than those that still follow a very conventional structure.
Start at 7:35 to catch which context I’m throwin’ down. (This way you only have to take a minute and a half out of your day. Come on, you can do it…)
Why is it that there is still this fear or discomfort around people with disabilities? Is it possible that there is a common thread woven with this particular minority to that of the #MeToo movement?
Bear with me here…
Okay. I started the idea of “CrazyLegs” stories to share, laugh and empower people living with disabilities to live their best life in the mainstream. After all, society is a shared experience. I also wanted to educate the AB* community; but unexpectedly the biggest response I have received from these posts have been that of parents who have children living with disabilities. I thought I was showing the world that disability isn’t that different; but actually, it is.
(*AB= Able Bodied)
It is different from many other experiences, and it’s alright that it is different. Now we have an opportunity, as the affected population to take OURSELVES to school.
Using my very prestigious private school college education; I did a cursory google search and one of the top links took me to this:
Let’s look at some quick numbers.
From a 2005 survey (which also- why aren’t we updating these numbers to be more accurate than something 13 years ago….)
83% of women with disabilities will be sexually assaulted in their lives.
Only 3% of sexual abuse involving people with intellectual disabilities will ever go reported.
Check the link for more stats and further upsetting articles, that frankly, if this were any other population IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD it would be a global outrage.
Rewind: EIGHTY THREE PERCENT WTFFFFFF
That means if you had 10 female friends living with disabilities, almost ALL of them would have been sexually assaulted. But no one might ever know because it is basically never reported.
When I speak on empowerment, I like to cover the topic of how women are traditionally raised. How we are instructed to behave, look, act, and just generally exist as agreeable.
“They are generally taught from childhood up to be compliant, to obey, to go along with people. [Because of the intellectual disability], people tend not to believe them, to think that they are not credible or that what they saying, they are making up or imagining,” she explains. “And so for all these reasons, a perpetrator sees an opportunity, a safe opportunity to victimize people.”
Nancy Thaler, a deputy secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services
If that doesn’t sound like the “norms” imposed on women and/or children, maybe you should consider it and read that quote again…
In my opinion, this is one of the reasons why sexual assault has ran so rampant. People are easily victimized BECAUSE of their physical limitations, whether than means by being *literally* smaller and weaker than your predator because of being a woman, a child, having a disability OR by being told to be compliant in all situations because of their age, status, or intellectual capacity.
The good news is, we are moving in a better direction. The present seems bleak, but the future is bright! What I think needs to happen, is that it is time to step into our power. The #MeToo movement has provided exposure and insight to a hugely immediate health crisis that needs to stop. These assaults have gone ignored and unpunished way too long.
At the same time, these assaults should be prevented not only by those who have or are in power; but also by those who are directly assaulted. We need to fight back with better tools. While there have been amazing, powerful women (and men) who have shown up for this movement; where do we find our power when we aren’t Meryl Streep or Oprah? When we don’t have a global platform?
I am hesitant to share, that I think the #MeToo movement needs to be challenged NOT because it is wrong; but because it feels like an unfinished thought. Where is power when you have a smaller audience? What does it look like to prevent a catastrophe when the world isn’t accommodating for you?
While persons with disabilities are the highest affected demographic affected by sexual assault; they are also the most equipped group of people to adapt and grow in a world that hasn’t been built for them. That’s what we do in our daily lives; so now it’s time to apply it in a brand new context.
If we want to change the result; we need to change our approach.
This is our Power.