The worst thing about being disabled is that everyday I fear for my life. I’m not sure what the life expectancy is for all disabled people but for Autistic people, this is only half of our abled counterparts. This technically makes me middle aged.
“Why does autism make our life expectancy so much shorter?”, you might ask. Because we are more likely to be victims of murder, suicide and manslaughter.
Living in a world that’s designed for people with different brains and/or bodies is incredibly stressful. And isn’t difficult to describe to other people because having a different brain means that I communicate in a different way. Our ableist society means that we are less likely to hit milestones that ableds do (receiving a half decent education, first kiss, losing our virginity, going to college/university, getting a decent job, getting married, owning our own home). Not achieving these milestones can make us wonder what our point is in existing and what our place is in society. The only roles society gives us are being a family pet while our parents are still alive that the positive mental attitude inspires them and later in life a NEET who’s depends on benefits and strains the economy.
The world looks down on disabled people. Society sees us as a burden on our loved ones, a burden on the economy and a burden on everything else. Many people openly say that they would rather be dead that disabled. The anti-vaxxer movement is based on a flawed study that vaccines cause autism. And by people refusing to vaccinate their child they are telling me “I’d rather have my child die than turn out like you”.
All this can catch up with us. I’m going to talk about my own experiences.
For me the thought of being a burden on the people I love makes me wonder almost everyday if they’re better of without me. I love them so much and want them to have the best life possible. Even though my loved ones reassure me that I’m not a burden, society telling me that I am persists, and often wins. I also want to prove to the world that disabled people are as amazing as ableds. For me that means beating the system and the odds are really stacked against me. When I have a failure in my attempt to beat the system it makes me feel like a failure.
It is no surprise that disabled people have higher rates of anxiety and depression compared to our abled counterparts. 16% of women with learning disabilities attempt suicide or have suicidal thoughts, compared with 3.3% of abled women.
One disabled person is killed every week by a family member or carer. In 2020 there were 85 reported to the Disability Day of Mourning website
Very soon I will be getting new carers and I’m terrified that they will murder me.
People often murder us because they feel meeting our needs is too much of a burden. Or it’s a form of involuntary euthanasia, were they decide that our disabilities make our lives not worth living without asking our opinion.
Worse than murdering us, most murder victims get the glory of being portrayed as prefect individuals by the media and others often focusing on our strengths.
This is not the case is your disabled.
If you’re disabled you are portrayed as a burden to your murderer. People will focus on your weakness and barriers you face and use them as a excuses to justify that you were a burden, caused your murderer to have poor mental health and your existence put them in a situation they can’t cope with. Murdering was apparently their “only way out”. Instead of making you into a saint, your murderer is made into a saint for coping with you for so long, no matter how a short a time that was. Often their “defences” hold up in the court of law.
Disabled people who are not murder victims listen to these responses and often wonder if their family member or carer feel the same way. Should we just attempt suicide and make their lives better
Disabled people are often and currently victims of genocide. Genocide can occur actively or passively.
Active genocide occurs when genocide is committed by violence. The last and only known active genocide was by the Nazis. Disabled people were placed in their “T4 Programme”. To avoid public opposition the genocide was disguised as a care programme. Visitors were not allowed. Funding for the genocide came from money from the victims’ families, they continued to pay into the programme even after the victims was murdered.
At first patients were murdered by starvation of lethal injection but later the T4 programme became the first genocide to use gas chambers. In total approx 275,000 people were victims of the T4 programme.
Disabled people were later placed in concentration camps. They were give the badge the black triangle meaning anti-social (German “asozial”) and/or work-shy (German “arbeitsscheu”). Others given a black triangle include alcoholics, Romani, beggars, nomads, lesbians, women who had sex outside of marriage. Today the black triangle continues to be used and is reclaimed as a symbol for disability rights.
Passive genocide occurs from eugenics, forced sterilisation, issuing “do not resuscitate” orders and withholding money that we need to live. Although passive genocide occurs against disabled people today, it has a long history.
Passive genocide began with the eugenic movement. The eugenics movement began with people, usually privileged upper middle class white men, misunderstanding Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, particular his theories on artificial selection and “survival of the fittest”. They believed that disabled people were not naturally mented to survive and disabled traits are until undesirable.
Eugenics became accepted by mainstream politicians, including Winston Churchill, and therefore the general public. Many disabled people were forcefully sterilised and the last forced sterilisation occured in 2009 in the Czech Republic. In the UK, in 1913, the Mental Definicity Act was passed.
The eugenics movement stopped being mainstream after WW1, when many veterans returned home newly disabled. However it becoming more mainstream today thanks to abortion in general becoming socially acceptable. Scientists are trying to genetically test fetuses for genetic disabilities, even those that are non-fatal. Many pregnant people believe doctors have manipulated them in to having an abortion and misinformed about the reality of living with the genetic disabilities. In Iceland the abortion rate for Down’s syndrome is 100%.
Another way passive genocide occurs is denying disabled people the money we need to live. This is currently happening in the UK, with welfare reform. This was started by the 2010 conservative-liberal democrat coalition government, led by David Cameron. Changes made to welfare that affect disabled people include:
Charging people tax for having a “ spare rooms”in social housing, called the “bedroom tax” Ignoring that disabled people often need spare rooms for many reasons such as to place equipment and calm down during meltdowns and shutdowns
Replacing money we need for the extra cost of being disabled from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with Personal Independence Payment. This was intended to cut this money by 20%. DLA was assessed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) but PIP is assessed by private companies on their behalf. The assessments are unfair with the assesseer being unqualified and asking question such as “when did you catch Down’s syndrome?” and “why haven’t you killed yourself?”
Replacing money given to disabled people who cannot work from Employment Support Allowance (ESA) to Universal Credit. This has lead to many disabled people being declared “fit for work” when they are not. Many have died from working or from suicide.
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