It’s Your Fear that Makes You a Target
I’m really disappointed in the responses from the last Access Press issue regarding whether or not people with disabilities are more vulnerable to assault. [“Are We More Vulnerable to Assault?” August 10, 2007.] Reading the comments elicited me to ask: why do people with disabilities have so much fear and why have they allowed this fear to stop them from doing the things they like to do?
In the hopes of not offending anyone, I offer my personal experiences. I don’t think that I am any more of a target than other members of the community when it comes to assault — either physical, verbal, or otherwise. My guess is that when people tell you that you’re worth is less than that of your able-bodied counterparts, you’re going to feel as though you can’t do the same things as others. And when you are told that others should fear you because you’re disabled, then you begin to become fearful yourself. The whole point of someone trying to scare you or insult you is to take power away from you and evoke fear. I’m not allowing anyone to do that. No one should allow it, whether they are a woman, a person of color, elderly, or because they have a disability. Your disability doesn’t make you a target. Your fear does.
Like everyone, be smart. Surround yourself with people you know and trust whenever possible, and don’t be a victim! Live life to the fullest! My disability and the color of my skin could have easily made me a target while growing up in the rough neighborhood I lived in. Today, this could still easily be the case. But I don’t let it. I have better things to worry about, such as the things that I enjoy doing in my everyday life. This includes going to the State Fair this year and eating everything they have to offer on a stick.
Anonymous from Falcon Heights