What is magnificent about humans is when they decide to turn and stand. If they respond with non-violence on principle and hold their ground, they are really magnificent.” James Cromwell
Violent crimes against those with autism, Asperger’s, spectrum disorders, and intellectual disabilities appear on the rise. This is most likely because diagnosis are better and because social media places these crimes in the spotlight. Criminals are recording, posting, boasting, bragging, and photographing themselves victimizing people with disabilities.
Violence against Autism
This video came to light a few days ago. It is the recording of a party at which an 18 year-old beat, kicked, slapped, and attacked a 16 year-old autistic. Many young people are present to watch the beating and encourage the attacker. No one steps forward to stop the assault and help the victim.
** WARNING – This video is violent and graphic **
This video is very upsetting. I feel sadness and helpless for the victim who endures a beating because he is different. To the abusers he is “weird”. He talks differently, thinks differently, and is out-of-place making him the perfect victim. Despite his cries and attempts to protect himself, NO ONE steps forward to help him. In fact, you can hear other people encouraging the beating. This is incredibly disgraceful and shameful.
The attacker states, in this article by the Huffington Post, the 16 year-old autistic boy was “drunk and out of control”. Maybe. I don’t know the facts. I do know it is not acceptable don’t drive across town, beat a 16 year-old kid; and certainly don’t post it on the internet for others to witness your cruelty.
Abusers typically find fault with their victims; blaming the victim for the attack or assault. How often we hear “they asked for it”, “they’re weird”, “they said this or that” in an attempt to push the abuse back onto the victim. Individuals who are intellectually or socially challenged lack the adequate skills to deflect these accusations.
Crime against Persons with Disabilities Statistics
The U.S. Department of Justice reports on the “Crime against Persons with Disabilities 2009-2012” report that:
“12 years and older with disabilities suffered 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes in 2012.” U.S. Department of Justice
Nonfatal violent crimes, according to the report, include rapes, sexual assaults, and robberies, aggravated and simple assaults.
What can be Done?
I think it starts with us parents. I believe it is imperative we teach our children compassion, empathy, and morals. It is the responsibility of parents to morally educate our children. Without lessons in humanity our kids have no guideline or rule-set to live as good people.
Society has a responsibility to our kids as well. Society is obligated to abide the moral and legal codes of humanity and the country. Society must also set an example and hold individuals responsible for acts against humanity. Often times, our society excuses behavior because it is easier than the consequences. Unfortunately, the result is the video above where a vulnerable person is attacked and harmed.
Public schools have a responsibility to society. The public school system has our kids approximately 7 hours each day for 177 days of the year; 1,239 hours each year (approximate). School can and should educate students about tolerance, hate crimes, compassion, and empathy. The schools in my area use a “Toolbox” program for this purpose.
The bottom line is, as a society and population, we have a responsibility to say enough is enough and work to end the violence. Speak up and stand up to the bullying.
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