Department of Justice releases first ever “study on crimes against persons with disabilities”

5 10 2009

The Department of Justice just released the first ever study on crimes against persons with disabilities.  (Why “persons with disabilities” and not “differently abled people”?)  The results of the study are not that surprising and statistically illustrate/prove what many anti-ableist activists have known for a while now – that differently abled people are disproportionately targeted for various crimes, and many of these crimes go undocumented and unnoticed by the public.

Here are some highlights of the study’s findings:

  • In 2007 differently abled people were victims of approximately 716,000 nonfatal violent crimes, including rape or sexual assault (47,000), robbery (79,000), aggravated assaults (114,000) and simple assaults (476,000).
  • They also experienced around 2.3 million property crimes during the year, including 527,000 household burglaries, 107,000 motor vehicle thefts and 1.7 million thefts.
  • Differently abled people between the ages of 12 to 19 and those between the ages of 35 to 49 were victims of violence at nearly twice the rate as able bodied people in the same age group.
  • 16% of violent crimes against differently abled females were committed by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. Among women without disabilities, it was 27%.

While these statistics may not be news for all of us, they still are startling.  It is high time that the Department of Justice and the general public acknowledge the disproportionate amount of violence against differently abled people.  It is important to recognize that society is structured in a way that benefits abled bodied folks while making things unfairly difficult for differently abled ones.  Differently abled people are more vulnerable because we live in an ableist society where those who are differently abled are marginalized and treated as second-class citizens.

In order to prevent or better address violence against differently abled people it’s important to think of all the socially constructed barriers that differently abled people must wrestle with everyday.  What if the world was made more accessible?  What if the language we used was more inclusionary?  What if there was more coverage of violence against differently abled people so that there is less erasure of an already marginalized community?





Weekly Feminist Reader

27 09 2009

Cara covers the story of a Trans Woman Murdered in Hollywood

Partisan Politican Contributions by US Companies

A Take on The Good Wife: The Wrong Side of the Mommy Track

Health Care Reform — at the Price of Women’s Health?

Nike Makes Black Athlete Look Like…an Animal? An Alien? What?

Cross-generational discussions can be difficult – but we need to have them

Trans-misogyny? There’s an app for that

A topic that’s worth revisiting over and over again: How to be an ally

The Reverse of Discrimination is “Not Discrimination”

Minor Offenses: The Tragedy of Youth in Adult Prisons

What’s wrong with [not just young people] everybody now

Malkin’s venom knows no bounds: Obama “doesn’t like this country very much”, is the “Groveler in Chief”





Homophobic hate crime in Tel Aviv

2 08 2009

In Tel Aviv Saturday night, a masked gunman burst into the basement of the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association and opened fire on a support group for gay teenagers.  He sprayed the interior with automatic rifle fire, killing 3 people and injuring 11.  Of the 11 injured, 6 are “badly hurt”.  Witnesses have described the scene to the media as a “bloodbath”.

Nitzan Horowitz, an openly gay Knesset lawmaker, said that Saturday night was “without a doubt the biggest ever attack on the Israeli gay community, we are all in shock.”  What is especially saddening and tragic about this violent hate crime is that the targets and the victims were all young people.

For many of them, the basement of the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association was a safe space where they could meet others who were struggling like they were to come to terms with their identity.  It was a safe space for them to retreat from the homophobia they faced in the outside world and find themselves in a community where they were supported.  Unfortunately on Saturday night, their safe space was infiltrated by a violent and bigoted man.

These are human lives that were lost, the lives of young people who were stripped of their opportunities and right to live their lives and pursue their hopes, dreams and desires.  The price of hatred and intolerance is too high.  May those three young people rest in peace.