Letter to the Editor: Disability Rights for People Who Matter
One Patch reader speaks out on the issue.
Letter to the Editor: By Venus Heard
I strongly believe that disabled people are thought of as being unimportant because they are different from the norm of society.The norm of society consists of people who do not have any physical or mental impairment. I want to state a few facts, and why I do not think the punishments are severe enough for the crimes that people commit against anyone with a disability.
I need to say something here about these so called “disability laws" that are set to protect disabled people against abuse and discrimination. These laws do not work because no one pays attention to them. I am a disability advocate and I am disabled myself from a severe traumatizing accident in 1984. Today, I am an able-bodied disabled person. Meaning, I can walk, talk and do everything on my own so I feel that due to my remarkable recovery, I need to stand up for disabled people everywhere and be a voice for them.
Just because a person is disabled, does not mean that they do not have a voice. They may not be able to tell you what is wrong due to multiple reasons, if you see, hear or witness abuse of any disabled person–it is your duty as a responsible person with morals and values to say something. Disabled people need to be heard because they are people with feelings and have families just as all of us do. This has been going on for far too long and it is time that someone stands up for these people who cannot speak for themselves. Their rights through are being violated!
I read a story that just appalled me about abuse against disabled people who do not have a say in the way they are treated and cared for at this school for special needs children. Matthew Israel, who is the Judge Rotenberg Center's founder and executive director, has been in the spotlight over the past decade for controversial shock-therapy treatments practiced at the facility. He was ordered to serve probation for five years. Should Israel violate the terms of his probation, he could be further prosecuted.
The laws were set for disabled people in order to protect them, not to be ignored. I also do not think that the legal ramifications to those accused of breaking these laws against the disabled are severe enough. People who break these laws need to be held accountable through the courts and the legal justice system. I need to speak my mind here and say that I'm very appalled by all the stories of disabled people being abused and how people are just placed on probation and are allowed to just basically walk away, such as Matthew Israel.