She was spitting angry.
Well, I'm sorry.
We had been talking about "Ashley's Treatment" and she had been going on and on and on about it. I agreed, because of course, I agree. I think what happened is an abomination. Adulthood is not a disease that needs to be medicated away. But she kept going on and on and on. A thought that had been vaguely forming in my head came together and once I 'got it' I said it, "Don't you think you are being a tad hypocritical?"
She was stunned.
"Whatever do you mean?"
"Well," said I protecting my groin as I spoke, "it's not like your agency doesn't do psychologically what that family did medically. You don't do sex education, you don't allow people with disabilities to be alone together in private, you don't have a policy that allows people with disabilities to be fully adult and make adult decisions. So, it seems to me that Ashley medicated would be happier in your agency than Ashley, free."
She was spitting angry.
But, I'm sorry, it's not OK to disallow adulthood for those with disabilities. It's not OK to do it surgically and it's not OK to do it psychologically. It's not OK to use our power as service providers to keep people with disabilities as perpetual children. We're supposed to support growth not impede it. We believe what we believe or we don't.
I know that the situation with Ashley is not completely analagous - given her level of disability - but if it's not analagous it is certainly instructive. Ashley has offered us a chance to reframe our practices because when clinical practices in the real world look barbaric in the medical world - a problem exists.
A while back I published an article that I wrote with Susan Tough that said (I'm paraphrasing) "Any agency or family that disallows the natural growth and development of people with disabilities - including sexual development - commits acts of violence against the disabled every day." I said it. I believe it.
Because people are in care does not mean that we should be given complete power over their lives.
So, we who oppose Ashley's Treatment need to put up or shut up.
I have assisted many agencies as they have changed from sex negative to sex positive stances. I have seen agencies grow as they developed welcoming policies and healthy practice. I know it's possible to support people with disabilities to grow into thier own destinies.
It's why I got into this biz.
So she's spitting mad.
I'm probably never going to be asked back.
Because what's wrong, is wrong - no matter who does it, no matter how they do it, no matter what excuses they use to justify it.