Crimes against Persons who are Disabled

Recently one of our students here at the ATLC reported to me an incident of an attempted aggravated assault.  The person in question was pushed into a street with oncoming traffic at a major road, and had to use some James Bond moves to stop the attack.  The perpetrator responded, after taking a thrust into his sternum, “man, blind people aren’t supposed to defend themselves.”  I questioned the student, who has multiple disabilities, which includes blindness, and they said that they were happy to have learned Tai Chi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tai_chi_chuan).  In my experience, many disabled folks not only have to deal with being labelled defective or worse, they also are seen as targets for thieves and bullies in society.

In this BBC article, you can see that no matter how civilized our society or the British society may be, the fact remains, that the disabled are often mistreated. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7123039.stm

Civilrights.org has a pretty good article about Hate Crimes Against Disabled Persons on their web site:  http://www.civilrights.org/publications/hatecrimes/disabilities.html One point the article makes is that persons with disabilities often do not pursue legal recourse and do not participate in the criminal justice process, and therefore these criminals are not prosecuted.  “The victim may be ashamed, afraid of retaliation, or afraid of not being believed. The victim may be reliant on a caregiver or other third party to report the crime, who fails to do so. Or, the crime may be reported, but there may be no reporting of the victim’s disability, especially in cases where the victim has an invisible disability that they themselves do not divulge.”

Do you have a disability and have you been a victim of crime and not reported it?

Another student who is blind reports that 6 years ago she went to a nail salon and the owner’s husband  drove her home after she was serviced.  The man when he got her out of his car, forcefully drug her from the street to the door to her house, but on the way he carelessly drug her over the storm drain at the curb where her foot went into the hole and wrenched her shoe off and damaged her ankle, foot and tendons.  She asked after this moment “Why  didn’t you stop me at the hole so I wouldn’t get hurt?” He denied he had done anything wrong, left her at the door bleeding and in pain, and drove off.  When we interviewed this student she said they wish they had made a police report as the injury was severe to her ankle and that she the bleed all over her  carpet once she  got into her house.  Quite the traumatic event!Picture of Jail Cell


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