Today’s blog is the second of a four-part series in which our contributors tell their stories of being people with disabilities who are also victims of sexual abuse. At the bottom of this and each part in the series, you will find resources for assault survivors. In the interest of protecting individuals’ privacy, if you would like to contact any of the contributors, please feel free to use my e-mail address (email@example.com), and I will relay questions and messages on to the writers.
Part 2: Luna
Where do I fit in the #MeToo wave? I often feel the voices of the disabled are lost. As a queer black femme my #MeToo came too early. My disability was used against me by abuser, my father. When I was a child, my world revolved around my dad. He was my champion, my protector from the scary dolls, the person who taught me to believe in myself and never let anyone harm me. Oh, how those words would come back to haunt me.
I don’t know what changed a champion into a predator. The one who held me down or forced me to touch him in ways inexplicable. I couldn’t run away. Our house didn’t have a ramp and he’d ask “Where would you even go? You cannot get out of this house nor into safety.” The inaccessible world trapped me with my abuser. I felt ugly. Dirty. Enraged. It would happen when I would least expect it. The worst times were when I was at the height of vulnerability: I had a broken leg and was in a half body cast. That didn’t stop him.
This went on for years. People knew about his other victims, but folks seemed to think my disability would protect me. Odd how ableism would allow folks to think I was untouchable. Then it happened. Molesting me was not enough for him and he chose to rape me. I was able to struggle and punch him. I called the police while in tears as he hid in the bedroom, pretending to sleep next to my mother. Officers created a wall with themselves to shield me from him as they dragged him down the stairs. I remember thinking “It’s too late to protect me.”
As I grew older I began to arm myself in color. As a scientist, I know that many species who are poisonous are brightly colored. It’s a signal to stay back from predators. My uber femme and technicolor outfits tell the inner pain to stay back; like Frida, the more pain I feel, the more armor I must put on myself.
You can call me lucky. The fate of my abuser is an anomaly in the #MeToo wave. He was tried and convicted. A meager sentence was what he served, but too many young queer disabled children don’t get justice. They are not believed, they continue on in silence. This wave should be the first of many in order to sustain change, and we should not forget the voices who do not get to be on the face of a magazine. We are disabled. We are #MeToo.
General info on abuse with resources
NPR Series on Disability and Abuse
Abused and Betrayed Podcasts
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Information and resources
The End Abuse of People with Disabilities Webinar Series
Webinars and resources