Thursday, December 4, 2008

Yes, *ALL* Women Have a Right Not to Be Raped

From Joel's blog, I found this horrible story from Korea, about a sixteen-year-old developmentally disabled girl whose grandfather and uncles had repeatedly raped her over a period of seven years. When they were finally arrested and tried, the judge suspended their sentences so that they might go back to being her caregivers.

For me, what sticks out most about this story are two things: first, that most people people in power really don't care about disabled people so much as they want us to go away. As long as someone is taking care of "the problem," --- and, we see from this story and from the periodically recurring horror stories about conditions inside mental institutions and group homes, it hardly matters who is doing it, or how well, so long as it is done at all (and by Somebody Else) --- everything is fine. Second, this underscores to me the importance of autonomy to civil rights in general, and to disabled people's civil rights in particular. Families cannot be counted on to be reliable advocates for people's interests, and often will act in opposition to those interests. The current situation for most disabled people, eerily similar to that of women pre-feminism, is to be completely dependent on one's family for survival.

This needs to change.