Posts

Showing posts from April, 2014

Kintsukuroi

Image
Kintsukuroi (n.) (v.phr.) "to repair with gold"; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken. Kintsukuroi. I didn't know this word until today. I have many friends with a disability, and almost as many friends who are parents of children with disability. It is a difficult life. There are barriers at every turn - access barriers, societal barriers, systems that do not work. Life is often harder, much harder, than it should be. I looked at this picture, exquisitely broken, perfection in the repair. Not a hairline crack, cleverly concealed, but a ghastly shattering that is resolved by art, improved by disaster. It made me think of others who have been broken in one way or another. Their bodies or minds or spirits, cracked or crushed in accidents or by some callous intent. I have many friends who are recovering from an injury to the mind or spirit - just as many who have experienced…

With Intent

Image
A few weeks ago, a taxi driver pleaded guilty to raping and sexually assaulting five female wheelchair users in his taxi. He pleaded guilty to 33 charges, but they only included the assaults that appeared on the taxi security cameras - four of the victims, who could not communicate his crimes, had to be tracked down by police. Nobody knows how many others this man may have assaulted. He carried out his crimes deliberately, covering the camera with a rag. Deliberately, with intent. It's not just the disability community who is outraged. This is an issue about our daughters, who need to travel safely home at night after a party - our children, who may not be able to access school bus transport. It is a mainstream issue, but for many of us, it is deeply personal. A group of disabled people organised a 'silent protest' for the sentencing, and many, many people with disability and parents of children with disability indicated that they would attend. We wanted to be toge…

The Brotherhood of the Unusual

Image
I have a friend who I hardly ever see – we correspond mostly by email. She doesn’t have a good command of written English, and sometimes we communicate only with pictures. Pictures from our holidays, or sometimes just a picture of a dog or a kitten or something we have both found amusing or cute or interesting. It would be a lot easier if she had Facebook. None of this is unusual, right? A friend, someone without Facebook. Someone who talks to you from a distance because you rarely see each other in person. Someone who you know, and eventually get to know better. A normal thing, nothing unusual. It should not be unusual, but it is. My friend has an intellectual disability. My friend was not always my friend – she was a student in a classroom and I helped support her to carry out her studies. She was a student for a long time. Over that time, I got to know her better. Like other people with intellectual disability in our small town, she had no privacy – people knew her…

An Unlikely Hero

Image
Somewhere in Perth, there lives a hero. The young woman I speak of is only 29 years old. She is an unlikely hero in the eyes of the public – she is severely affected by cerebral palsy and uses an electric wheelchair for mobility. In February of this year, a Perth taxi driver, 58 year old Peter Kasatchkow, drove this young woman to an Ascot carpark, some kilometres from her destination. There, he repeatedly sexually assaulted her. Remember this. The young woman was strapped in with four straps of nylon webbing. That, and her disability, made her effectively a helpless victim. Trapped in the back of the taxi van, she was unable to move or escape or fight back. And when he had finished, he drove her home. The most vulnerable and powerless of victims, you would think. But you would be wrong. Upon arriving home, this young woman who had been sexually assaulted and threatened and terrified, signalled to one of her support workers to record the taxi driver’s registration number. And…