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Power imbalances are more extreme in disabled relationships. Societal devaluation of people with disabilities increases their vulnerability to victimization.

Society's ignorance of the abuses toward disabled people leaves them more vulnerable to further abuse.

Society and its systems are abusive to the disabled and their families.

Their families are stretched emotionally, physically and financially. There is significant lack of community support and resources for individuals with disabilities.

Professional care givers are inadequately prepared and trained for the individuals and conditions they will work in, and they are often poorly paid for their jobs.

Society’s fear and ignorance of disabilities is disabling.


Bastards and bitches
others to satisfy
their own selfish and perverse desires.

A life was given
A life was taken

The perpetrator perpetrates his evil
and feeds his appetite
with the life of others.
It is called

means filling in the holes
with God’s love and healing
For only the Creator
can create
and recreate
that which was lost
that which was stolen
that which needs to be restored,
For only He knows
how I am made.








I am very drunk now.
No one can stop me.
I am the queen of my domain.
I have the final say, stay away from me.
I can’t fight, my mind is alive,
but my body is lifeless.

There are three of them,
and I know I don’t have a chance.
My God in heaven, please help me.
I try to fight;
I feel the cement scrape my body,
as I am drug across this cold floor.
A very old yet familiar feeling engulfs me.
It is almost comforting.
For I am no longer inside myself.
Once again I am crouched in a corner watching.
Hoping and praying that my invaders will kill me
when they are done.








Please help the children
of this world;

They are hurt and hurting
and are crushed beneath the weight
of our insanity.

Please bless the children
and awaken us
before it is too late.






Associate Not Disasssociate
Anger melts into and nourishes
the spring of forgiveness






I don't want to pay any
Longer for being abused
I've paid enough







Long ago the journey began
as Innocent life was
enshrouded with incest and pain;
Knowing no love, needing, wanting, trying...

Taken in the night by the eyes and the hands,
the beat of the drum resounding in the woods,
Innocence was destroyed, the body tortured,
the mind split, and a childhood was lost.

Unknown to those around,
the essence of life lay hidden deep within;
protected from the enmeshed control,
only to be revealed in its season.

Daring to risk, to tell, to grow...
Choosing to let go of the old,
a new life has been found.
A circle of love gives freedom to soar!




Being disabled is no reason for:

  • Being treated with a lack of respect
  • Name calling and "put downs"
  • Being taken advantage of with unsolicited touches and/or hugs
  • Needing to keep defending yourself
  • Stigmatization
  • Not being seen as a whole person
  • Not having one's individuality respected
  • Inability to see a disabled person as someone who thinks, hears, sees, feels and hurts

Power imbalances are more extreme in disabled relationships.

Some reports show that sexual and physical abuse of individuals with disabilities runs as high as 3 to 4 times higher than abuse in the general population.

It might be speculated that disabled women and girls are perceived as ideal targets because their disabilities may mean they are unable to flee, or communicate easily. The very fact that they are female, smaller, and socialized to be passive may, again, increase the risk of abuse. A study by the Seattle Rape Relief Development Disabilities Project found that 90% of the girls and women referred to them had been exploited by relatives or individuals they knew. DAWN: DisAbled Women's Network, Toronto



Discussion - The Abuse of Individuals With Disabilities

Fear and ignorance exist. People without disabilities are afraid of those who do have disabilities, and they don’t understand the disabled. They sometimes take advantage of disabled people. The disabled often encounter a lack of respect such as name calling and “put downs”.

People often make assumptions of a disabled person, and don’t ask the person themselves, or check the person’s body language. They often treat the disabled person differently, taking liberties without permission, such as touching them or doing things for them that the disabled person would often prefer to do for themselves. Disabled people are often at the mercy of their caregivers, having to conform to imposed routines, without choice. They are treated as children, with no rights (people don’t even say “excuse me”).

Professional administrators and/or those who work with the disabled aren’t always able to understand the individual disabled person’s reality. The professionals often perceive things differently. Additionally, facilities are often understaffed, with staff sometimes becoming abusive with the individuals, treating them without understanding or empathy. Staff are inadequately prepared, trained and paid for their jobs. Professionals in the field are overworked and “burning out” without any support and recognition. The disabled are also sometimes over medicated, in those instances suffering a form of drug abuse.

People often cross boundaries when relating to a disabled person that they normally would not with others. The disabled are often put into the position of defending themselves in order to maintain their own respect and dignity.



Disabled children have no boundaries. They are not allowed to think or feel for themselves, starting with basic routines and the experiences of daily living. Emotionally they are even denied their feelings and the expressions of those feelings such as crying, sexuality, growth.

Power imbalances are more extreme in disabled relationships. Disabled individuals are often reliant on others to speak for them due to an inability to express language, or the inability of others to pick up on their cues. The sense of a disabled person as an individual being is sometimes lost completely.

Disabilities, and the lack of understanding of those disabilities by others can further compound and create other disabilities. The families of the disabled are stretched emotionally, physically and financially. There are minimal community supports, in fact there is a great lack of systemic support and resources. There is poor funding available. Society and the systems are abusive to the disabled and their families. Disabled people are stared at and made fun of. Both the individuals and their families are stigmatized.

People often deny the existence of the disabled. They are perceived as being unproductive people. When abuse is reported, the disabled are often seen as being incredible, because they cannot always describe the details clearly. Children with disabilities deserve respect, understanding, equality and support.




Diverse City Press/National Film Board. No! How. Film, directed by Barbara Streisand, written by Pat Conroy and Becky Johnston. Canada, English, 9 min. 30 sec. 1998.

Franchi, Linda M. Greater Vancouver Association of the Deaf, Co-producers. Sharing Secrets. Film, directed by Don Bangs, written by Patti Dobie and Linda M. Franchi. Canada: Distributed by the National Film Board, 80 min. 1991.

G. Allan Roeher Institute. The Right To Control What Happens to Your Body: A Straightforward Guide to Sexuality and Sexual Abuse. North York, Ont.: Roeher Institute, 1991.

G. Allan Roeher Institute and Canada, Family Violence Prevention Division. Vulnerable: Sexual Abuse and People With an Intellectual Handicap. Downsview, Ontario: Roeher Institute, 1988.

MacNamara, Roger D. Creating Abuse-Free Caregiving Environments for Children, the Disabled and the Elderly: Preparing, Supervising and Managing Caregivers for the Emo. 1992.

National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse. Disabled Child and Child Abuse. Kline: 1983.

National Film Board. Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres, Co-producers. Double Jeopardy. Film. Canada: Distributed by the National Film Board, 30 min. 1996.

Pound, Edward T. “Faith, Death and Betrayal: The Busam Family Placed A Retarded Son, Joey In The Care Of Catholic Brothers. Now He Is Dead Of AIDS.” U.S. News & World Report, March 11, 1996, vol. 120 no. 10, p. 42-8, 50.

Rappaport, Sol. R., et al. Child Sexual Abuse Curriculum for the Developmentally Disabled.







It's not your fault











No more Childabuse











Don't hurt little kids











I wish that we would
not be abused.
Ashley, age 8

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*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)

*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)