Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Must Read

Most of you will be familiar with the Edmund Burke quote: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. That quote has been both an inspiration and a challenge to me over the years. In fact I've fought some of the battles I've fought simply because of it. I don't want either 'evil to succeed' or to be one of those 'good people who do nothing.' Further, sometimes when I've wondered why people haven't spoken up when people with disabilities have been teased or bullied - my mind always returns to Mr. Burke's quote.

I thought of it again, yesterday, in an entirely different context. A friend of mine sent me an article that she thought I should read. I trust her judgement entirely and, as soon as I could for I had a busy day, clicked on the link. It took me to an article about new ways to interview children with disabilities about abuse. I need to warn you that it's an emotional read - so enter cautiously.  I was stirred, encouraged and astounded by what I read. The conviction to do work that leads to the conviction of abusers is so evident here. The determination for the voices of children with disabilities to be heard is so incredibly welcome.

So, to amend Mr. Burke. The only thing that ensures the defeat of evil is for good people to take action.

Amen and amen.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this and the inspiring article.

Karry said...

Wow. About 12 years ago my son, who was then 6, and had speech/language problems and was incredibly shy, was molested. Children's Services and the police believed it happened but also didn't do anything because he wouldn't be able to tell a courtroom what happened to him.... The man went to prison for molesting another disabled child BECAUSE AN ADULT WALKED IN ON IT AND COULD TESTIFY. I'm crying now. I'm so glad that people are working to make this better.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Karry, I'm so sorry that happened to your son and can only imagine what you went through. Last Feb. in Canada things changed a bit in regards to giving evidence. Check out this link ...

Anonymous said...

As I read that, I was thinking what a wonderful, radical and informed way to do things.

Then I thought again, and decided it wasn't really, it was just common sense.

In order to communicate with someone, you first need to find out how they communicate. Who would have guessed that!

Anonymous said...

One of the most fabulous articles about disability ever.

Anonymous said...

For me this article communicated a way of respect. I dont know whether I can give a good response in english (which is not my mother tounge) but the first thing that came to my mind after reading this article is, that while trying to understand and communicate like this was done with the molested children a little bit of trust can be reestablished.


Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Thank you for this article. I wonder if they could work on a method like this for adults with developmental disabilities who do not speak. I know for my brother that the only way he could tell us something had happened to him was through his behaviour and 20 years ago in Ontario that wasn't enough. This article gives me hope.


Anonymous said...

In many institutions around the world where women with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities have been confined, sexual abuse and rape is rampant. In some of the institutions, they have decided that the "solution" to rape is to sterilize the women in the institutions, often without their consent (ie forced on them involuntarily) and sometimes even without informing them (they may be told that they need surgery for something else unrelated and only find out after they wake up -- or maybe many months or years later--that they were actually sterlized instead.

Sterilizing the women, of course, does nothing to stop rape. In fact, some observers suggest it may actually *encourage* more rape because now rapists know there will be less potential evidence of the abuse later on. Because some of the women cannot report abuse, or have difficulty reporting it (and and the institution may not adequately accommodate their communication needs), a pregnancy is sometimes the first time that sexual abuse of a woman is even discovered.

But sterilization does stop pregnancy, and apparently some directors at some institutions think this is enough.

Yes, we need more tools for ensuring that people of all ages (children or adults) who have difficulty speaking either part of the time or all the time still have a way to pursue justice when terrible things are done to them. Whether sexual abuse, or forced/unwanted sterlization, or other things, or all the above.

Even better, we need tools for preventing abuse in the first place. But pursuit of justice is still important in its own right. If sexual abusers realize that even nonverbal people can still report abuse and testify in court, then they will have less incentive to target them.

Andrea S.