Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Real World

I've been doing some research on the social experiences of people with disabilities in "community living." Now I haven't narrowed my research at this point, as I will soon, to people with intellectual disabilities, so I've just been browsing around reading, often upsetting material. One that I'm reading right now discussed 'situational vulnerability' for people with disabilities and described this as being certain hotspots where violence is likely to occur. I leaned forward when I got to this section, I was really interested to see what was listed and particularly, and more importantly, what wasn't listed. Where, in our community, are people with disabilities less likely or not likely to be targeted for violence and hostility.

Here's what was listed: on the street; in and and around home based settings ... ; in institutional settings, in schools, colleges and at work, and on public transit.

Um.

There's another expression for this: Pretty much everywhere.

It's disturbing to see, written in black and white, that situational vulnerability, means that there is virtually no situation under which people with disabilities can expect to feel safe from targeted violence and hostility.

So.

This is one of many reports I've read recently that result from major research project that paint a bleak view of the community and what it means. A British study showed that a large number of people with intellectual disabilities make adjustments to their movements in the community or adaptions to their schedule of activity out of fear of being targeted and hurt while being out, just being out. An Australian study showed that 56 percent of people with disabilities experienced barriers to social inclusion and community participation. An American Study that a significant number of people with disabilities report experiencing abuse and victimization 'too many times to count.'

These are large important studies. They raise significant issues that demand by the sheer size of the problem to be noticed, to be used in discussions of where we actually are in our movement towards full citizenship.

But.

Silence. I don't hear this being discussed in conferences or at tables where planners plan things that need to be planned. I don't hear concern expressed about what this means to actual individuals who deal with these issues daily.

I think there is a fear that if we talk about the community, and what it's really like, that people will decide to take community away from us. Protect us from this thing called 'freedom'. That's the knee jerk response. But what about, what about, maybe helping to transform people with disabilities, through skill development and through confidence building and through self protection strategies and what about transforming police and other protection services through the voices of those who have discovered their own power and their ownership of the right to be and live free. What about beginning by coming together and speaking honestly about the problem - without fear of consequences for that honesty.

What about ...?

What about ... ?

6 comments:

Unknown said...

You have to say what the reality is, before you can have any hope to change the reality...and Dave, you are a person who sees the world as it is, and questions it, and tries to change it. You inspire me to try hard, too.
Clairesmum

Frank_V said...

If our inner souls could actually morph our bodies, Dave, you would be SUPERMAN. Defender of the just, hero for the underdogs, champion of the disabled.

Oh wait: You ARE already that, the pen, or in this case, the keyboard is indeed mightier.

bito said...

Thank you for all your inspirational posts. The topic that you're going through are really motivating. It gives inspiration to the society to take better care of person with disabilities. I am a DSW student, I was following the blog for past two weeks. I am really interested in the great thought that you brings to us through the blog.

It was so sad to hear that even there is and hostility targeted to the people with disabilities. To make adjustments in their life situation to stay safe is a challenging fact for people with disabilities. The society should acknowledged about the present situation and should be motivated to bring a positive change through which everyone can enjoy all freedom of life.

I thank you again for providing us with good motivational thoughts.

Vineetha said...

I have been following your blog for about two weeks as a part of my assignment.I would like to thank you for all of the stories that you shared with us. Certainly, your blog helped me to think more deep into the issues that people with disabilities face everyday.I would say that,I was wrong about certain things related to disabilities,but you changed some of those views.I am really thankful to you and I would to like to add some of my thoughts related to this post.
It is hard to believe that people with disabilities experience domestic or sexual violence at a higher rate than people without disabilities. And besides, people with disabilities are often isolated from the mainstream of the society which even increase the risk of violence. You discussed an important issue in this blog which need be resolved immediately.

Robin Manuel said...

Dave , you are an inspiration to the people out there. you have great ideas on how to bring out the problems faced by people with disability. social inclusion definitely needs to be looked upon. also making them equipped is also a great idea. the only question is what are the necessary steps to attain it? I really admire your effort. Keep up the good job.
Robin

Sherry-Lynn K said...

Sadly, the conversation would probably result in more, "Oh, we able-bodied people must protect the poor helpless people with disabilities! Let's decide how to do this!" There would be no discussion of abelism, no conversation about changing laws or dealing with offenders...it would all be about how "those people" would be safer behind closed doors. Too many times the responses I have heard to someone with a disability being the victim of violence include "Why wasn't a caregiver with him?" (as if every person with a disability requires that) and "They shouldn't have been out (in public????)" etc.

We've still got a long way to go.