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Showing posts from March, 2014

Client 98

No pictures for this post. But listen to the words. They come from the Lanterman Developmental Center, a state-run board-and-care facility in Los Angeles County that houses roughly 100 men and women with conditions such as cerebral palsy and autism.'On the morning of Nov. 6, 2012, an aide was helping Client 98 from the shower to the bed when the aide noticed drops of blood on the floor. A health services specialist found that the woman had a tear in her genital area.An on-site physician examined Client 98, whose age was not included in public records, and concluded that someone might have sexually assaulted her.'Drops of blood on the floor. This nameless woman had been raped so violently that it had torn her. “It was some type of blunt force trauma, but I cannot tell what,” said a nurse who examined her, according to public records. The nurse confirmed an assault had occurred.They are the words on paper. They do not tell us the name or the age of this unknown woman, who coul…

The Right to Bigotry

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*** WARNING ***This post contains disability and racial hate speech. This is Neil. Neil is a retard. Imbecile, dummy, stupid, idiot, subnormal, a mongol, defective, dimwitted, mentally defective, moronic, slow, shall we continue? Then there are the clever analogies – a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, not playing with a full deck, a few bricks short a load, the elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top, the lights are on but nobody is home, all foam and no beer, smart as bait, not the sharpest knife in the drawer, as sharp as a box of rocks, not the sharpest knife in the drawer, a few clowns short of a circus, fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down, receiver is off the hook, as sharp as a wet bag of mice, few roos loose in the top paddock, few stubbies short of a six pack, wouldn’t know if his arse was on fire. Funny, right? Here’s the thing. I don’t know anything about Neil, except that he has Down Syndrome. But I do know that as a person with Do…

The Minus People

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And now for the most offensive media quote of the year - are you ready?“We have profoundly disabled people at Stockton; some are blind, some are deaf and blind and some can’t move at all,” she said.“If you’re in that situation, you’re pretty much stuffed at making a decision.” - Newcastle HeraldSorry?I have to admit, I found it a little delicious sharing this quote with my fellow people with disability. Some are blind. Some are deaf and blind. And some can't move at all. The outrage was pretty much unanimous. Said Sean: '...I am "so paralysed" that I should be on life support 24 hours a day. The doctors can't explain why I breathe for myself… Really it's because I made a decision to do it for myself!In the 13 years and nine months that I've been paralysed I've had to fight against people taking my decision making capacity away from me. Smart politicians and bureaucrats invite me to events not to speak out about issues like this but, just to make it…

An Open Letter to the Greens

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An Open Letter to the GreensTo: The Greens, all NSW Members of Parliament, people with disability and the wider communityAn event yesterday served to demonstrate why political parties must have strong policies which reinforce their values. I am speaking, of course, of the decision made by the Newcastle Greens to actively protest against the closure of institutions. The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, together with the Newcastle Greens, held and promoted an event protesting against the closure of Stockton Centre, an institution where over 400 people with disability have been locked away for, in some cases, a lifetime. The NSW Government has failed to carry out its commitment to close this and other institutions by 2010, but have now recommitted to closing all large congregate facilities by 2017. Devolution of institutions is not an issue that should be confused with the issues around privatisation, nor is it directly related to the NDIS. The forum that was held deliberately bl…

On Taxis and Vulnerability

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On Saturday night, I caught a taxi. Unremarkable, right? Not anything particularly adventurous – nothing that would make your heart start racing and turn your stomach into knots way up near your tonsils. Not something risky that you’d tell others about – it wasn’t like I went paintballing or skydiving or swimming with sharks. To me, it felt like risk. I carefully noted the taxi driver’s registration, something I rarely do. And my ‘tactical’ pen (yes, my husband bought me a Smith and Wesson pen made of titanium, purpose built for the casual stabbing of rapists and thugs) was tucked neatly inside my bag. A few short weeks ago, women who use wheelchairs were blissfully oblivious to the dangers posed by their vulnerability whilst using Perth taxis. Then 58 year old Peter Edward Kasatchkow was charged of sexually assaulting a woman with cerebral palsy in the back of his cab last month. Let me explain what it feels like to be put in a wheelchair taxi. It is an experience that involves…

The Others

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When is a home not a home?When it’s an institution. This week, disability advocates were horrified to discover that the Newcastle Greens, together with the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, were advocating against the closure of institutions. What?That’s right. One of the last states in Australia to stop breaching our international human rights obligations, NSW, have made a commitment to close the last of the old ‘congregate accommodation facilities’ – including Stockton Centre, an institution for the intellectually disabled in the Hunter Valley. And some ‘stakeholders’ don’t want that to happen. There are a lot of stakeholders. ‘It’s their home!’ the parents cry. ‘My child has lived there for forty years!’ They’re stakeholders who are bound not just by love and fear, but by exhaustion and guilt. They’ve worked their whole lives to find the best possible solution for their child, who now knows nothing else. The prospect of the unknown is terrifying, despite the experiences of…