Saturday, December 06, 2008

Outraged and Speechless

A couple of days ago I was giving a presentation in Torquay to a mixed group of parents and professionals. The topic, how to prevent the sexual abuse of people with disabilities, is a difficult one because prevention begins with awareness and awareness, in this case, hurts. One of the people attending, a mother of a child with a disability, put her hand up and made a comment. She reported of two rapes of teenagers with Down Syndrome in the area and then talked about her connection with a Down Syndrome service group who report that they have had a huge increase in calls regarding the safety and vulnerability of adults. She said that she just wanted everyone to know that the problem is 'local' that they were not to think that these were 'American' or 'Canadian' problems. She was worried that a need to disbelieve would have those attending begin denial with a 'but that wouldn't happen here'.

I applaud her boldness and her assertiveness. She wanted to be clear that abuse happens everywhere. Even here. Even there. Even in far flung places.

Later that day I got an email from Dick Sobsey who wrote to me about a case in Korea wherein a judge has given suspended sentence to a grandfather and three uncles who have repeatedly raped, over a several year period starting when she was nine, a young woman with a disability. The reason for the suspended sentence?

Are you ready for this?

So they could continue caring for her.

This has sparked international outrage. I ask you to become informed ... take a look at ICAD to read a report and then please vote on ICAD's poll.

I have tried without success to find the link to sign the international petition but was unable to, I am fully trusting that someone out there has the search skills that I lack.

It matters that we care about this little girl. It matters that we express ourselves in whatever way we can. Somehow she must know that there is a community of people who want her safe, who want her protected, who want her respected. Somehow we must not become used to travesties of justice. Somehow we need to figure out how to respond as a community, powerfully.

I cast my vote on ICAD's poll.

But it's not enough.

But then, what could be?


Anonymous said...

In the Korean newspaper JoongAng Daily they say the petition is "on the Agora discussion forum on Daum, one of the nation’s biggest portal sites".

Unfortunately Daum is all in Korean so now I'm stuck but I have a translator and I'll report back if I get the right page.

I never cease to be shocked and amazed at what passes for justice both at home and abroad.
How can they not see?



little.birdy said...

So they could continue abusing her, rather. What a stunning display of willful ignorance. I guess the government didn't want the "burden" of her care.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, for helping bring attention to this case. It is in Korean, but here is the link to the Website for the petition

Anonymous said...

I tried to sign the petition, but I couldn't figure out how to get it to work.


klimin said...

Hi Dave - Thank you for bringing the atrosity of what is happening to this young woman in Korea to our attention. I have signed the petition and will be encouraging everyone I know to do the same. It is another reminder that the work I do everyday, educating my own agency and others, and everyone we support about your Ethics of Touch is so very vital. Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave:

I am going to let my DSW students know about this - just about to go to class. It is an outrage!

Also I agree with Kelly - it highlights the importance of the work you do and the work you inspire and the work we all do.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave:

I have directed my students to this posting and to the ICAD poll. Is there a petition? I went to one site that was all in Korean. If you know of anything else would you please post it. This girl's situation must not be allowed to continue. Are there any updates? I wonder if Amnesty International would intervene in such a case?


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