Last week when Britney Spears bravely gave evidence in her own conservatorship case, the world was rightly horrified to hear how her abusive father and team have controlled her life for the past 13 years. However, the case has drawn light to how similar practices are used to overpower disabled across the globe, as H.J discusses.
It’s been a tough few weeks for women, femmes and all those of marginalised genders who have experienced abuse at the hands of men.
Out of all of the hurt and pain however has come a new battle cry, a demand that we will not be treated like this again. But, unfortunately it’s something that disabled people have been largely left out of.
TW: Murder of Sarah Everard, sexual assault/harassment concerns, victim blaming. There are links to places to find support at the bottom of this article.
We are told that “statistics are human beings with the tears dried off.” Hearing about mass suffering can generate surprise and concern. But it can also desensitise. When the problem seems too big to contemplate, it can make the most personal crises feel impersonal.
In the three years ending March 2018, disabled women were almost twice as likely to have experienced any form of sexual assault in the last year (5.7%) than non-disabled women (3.0%). There is a degree of apathy that comes with numbers; they feel so far removed; we don’t see the families consumed by grief; men in the last year murdered 118 women.
TW: Stats about domestic violence, abuse and austerity.
Today is International Womens Day, a day when we celebrate how far women have come and how much we have left to achieve.
Unfortunately one group often left out of that is disabled women. Although we’re one of the biggest minorities, disabled women are often left out of – or not even able to access – discussions about equality.
TW: This article features descriptions of emotional abuse, sexual coercion, ableism please practise self care when reading.
One of my clearest memories of abuse was when my cancer was still growing inside me, undiagnosed. I had a rash, and mono-like symptoms. I was on antibiotics. My boyfriend Luca and I were on a road trip in rural Utah.