My #metoo Moment

Dear Readers,

It is coming to my attention that people are supposedly upset because supposedly I slandered exes in my blog. Well? This is a rumor and is false, for any of the exes that violated my trust did so because they wanted power. Before I proceed to tell the story of my #metoo moment, trigger warning applies here. The trigger warning applies to descriptions of sexual assault/harassment and graphic descriptions of what happened.

 

When I first met Jason, I was fooling around on Skype. I had been fresh out of a relationship with a Somali blind man who is still friends with me, though we barely talk. We could not marry in the Muslim community however because of perpetual misconceptions about blindness that were spread among the brothers. When I added Jason to Skype, the Skype account was at that time “jasondo374”, and we started out as friends, hitting it off pretty well. What I didn’t understand was that Jason wanted access to my Facebook messenger, AIM, Skype passwords, etc. He gave me an account, but later he stole the password and allowed someone else to change it for spiteful reasons. But back at the beginning.

WE visited each other in Georgia, I flew from Denver to Atlanta, and Jason greeted me there at the airport. It was recommended by his mother, an older woman in her sixties or so, that Jason not record every single moment, but that’s when I found out that he did all this and more. We went to a house in a small town where, one night, we decided to have some fun. I went to a karaoke bar the night before, but the next night, little did I know that Jason was recording the moment penis met vagina. He also recorded and made jokes about me talking while having sex, which spelled woman as property but I didn’t know this at the time.

After I got back from Atlanta the second time, little was I aware that Jason had recorded all the moments, and I had a bad experience with the whole art of oral. I remember the last night we were together, we were watching Borat. Unfortunately, it’s a racist comedy, but still, I remember Borat in the background, my head slipped downward, I had to at least give some. But it was not to last long enough. I got back to Denver, and things went downhill from there. Jason not only violated the terms of service for Skype, he violated my trust, showed people the intimate moments we were supposed to keep private, even then, he made awful sexual jokes about how I wasn’t good at sex, and this was later revealed to me in a troll. While I was with my current, Trenton, I found bad comments on this blog related to my ability to have sex. And sadly, the person who did this denies even doing it, but he impersonated Blake, my most recent long term ex.

Blake saw the recordings, and he didn’t believe Jason’s awful side of the story. What I understand now is that he uses the recordings to jack off. HE has been known to violate other girls in this way, and I invite victims to come forward. Victims he’s had include friends of mine who I haven’t spoken to online and he also violated and badly injured an Asian girl. This guy has made it known through the recordings that he’s the boss, but he treated all his women like property. The only difference I see between Jason and Mr. Weinstein is money, and yes, an occupation.

Girls, if you want to know why I’m writing this, I should have done so long ago. I should have listened to Jason’s schoolmates who came to me with many a concern about Jason’s eratic behavior. He should have been punished for this behavior, and fewer girls would have been hurt.

Thank you all so much for listening and reading this #metoo story.

Beth

Churches and the American with Disabilities Act

Dear Readers,

It has come to my attention that some places are exempt from being compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. This includes churches, mosques, temples, and other religious places. They are also tax exempt and exempt from the prying eyes of the federal government. This can mean a disabled person may not be welcome to a church or other religious facility. I don’t exclude synagogues, Orthodox churches, or even Mormon temples. So what can be done to make the religious facilities welcoming to people with disabilities? Here’s a list of suggestions for clergy and religious leaders. While Catholic churches are run under the jurisdiction of either Greece or Rome, all churches and facilities in the United States should not be tax exempt if they don’t welcome and integrate people with disabilities. THey should be made to pay taxes like everybody else, and those tax dollars can go to make disability agencies within the government bounds more bearable, if not, much better for their clients. Think of it as punishment for the churches that actually works, gives back to those most in need of help because the church refuses to integrate and make their places welcoming.

Here, now, is the list:

 

  1. Make your building completely accessible. Multipurpose school buildings should have Braille signs, and wheelchair accessibility should be put into every bathroom stall, for if someone uses the handicapped stall while a wheelchair person is waiting, then what? People with disabilities are still human, and if we have to use the facilities, we have to go, darn it.
  2. Integrate your disabled patrons, members, or parishoners in the case of Catholicism completely and without fail. A good example of integration is allowing disabled adults a commitment ceremony treated as a wedding but not given documents or told to turn in their marriage papers to social security. A church that understands the plight of disabled adults is fully able to integrate them. Also, all activities should be open to disabled children and adults. The Mormon church, for instance, does not allow blind men or women to do missionary work. They also don’t allow disabled people to do many other things, and there’s sexism involved as well. Women in Relief Society should beware the sexism and dishonesty of folks who really don’t want blind people integrated into the church. Churches like this should never get tax exempt money because all that money isn’t going where it should, to those most in need of help, to members with disabilities.
  3. Treat all disabled people as equals to nondisabled people without going over the top. Churches who allow disabled people to attend and become a full member should treat that person as an equal, encouraging their nondisabled counterparts to visit the disabled if they are homebound, and take the person out if they are able. People should know that blind people, especially, are indeed able to go to movies and other recreational activities, but oftentimes that is a passed up opportunity because other church members are seriously not able to understand this. All that I’m saying should apply to Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and other religious facilities that practice some form of deity worship. Buddhist centers can integrate their members with disabilities as well in this manner, and hold meditative sessions in a park or backyard.
  4. Particularly for Christian and Jewish establishments, make your materials readable for blind folks. Your Roman misselettes and hymnals should not have to be pretranscribed by a member’s family but you should at least make it possible for your members to participate in singing of hymns. For instance, making an electronic copy of lyrics in a hymnal works if the person owns a digital Braille display etc.

There are many churches and synagogues and temples and other places that obviously don’t know what disability does to a person. I can show you examples of churches that have and have not integrated disabled members, but most of them don’t. Here’s a few examples of what churches should be doing to their dollars they collect.

 

  1. Supporting blind and physically disabled brides and their grooms, likely disabled, on their weddings, even going as far as financing the reception. I’d like to pick on St. Bernadette’s Catholic in Lakewood because they not only welcomed Arthur and Diana Yochim in to the congregation, but the priest went so far as to finance and arrange catering for the couple’s wedding. The priest went so far as to help this couple where other people might not. All religious establishments should follow the example of St. Bernadette’s, and do the same.
  2. Send blind people to missions. Mormons, take note. Blind people are just as willing to serve as sighted counterparts. I’d like to thank my buddy Clayton, also known as Esoteric Quality, for the notes on the Mormon church because this is duly noted earlier. God does love everybody equally, so it should be preached, so God encourages prophets like Jeremiah, who was mute at first, and Moses, who was elderly and possibly had a slow tongue, maybe he wasn’t that great at speaking, but God encouraged him to say his famous, “Let my people go.” Disabled people in the Bible do not number in millions, and Jesus does not truly understand that in his absence, blindness is not healed. Not till he becomes one with the Father. But God believes in equal opportunities, love, and equal rights. No false prophecy can say otherwise. All religious establishments should send blind and physically disabled people to do good works abroad along with their nondisabled counterparts.
  3. Help disabled adults’ families with childcare, education, and welfare stuff. If a family needs food and the lady’s pregnant, the establishment must, under all circumstances help the individuals in question. IF a disabled woman is raped, pregnant because of the rape, and then has a baby, the baby should be welcomed with joy, the woman given money for rape counseling, and if she chooses to adopt out the baby, no harm done. I would keep a product of rape if it is a female, likely, because if the male was sadistic enough, he could pass on bad traits to a male offspring. That doesn’t mean I’d abort. I don’t believe in abortion, but women and their bodies and mental health should always come first.
  4. Pay for a member’s funeral expenses. If a member dies, or if a child dies, or if a disabled member’s spouse dies, a church or other religious community should, after all is said and done, pay for funerary expenses including burial, cremation, and memorial flowers, or in lieu of flowers, all donations can be made to a person’s favorite charity. At the completion of someone’s life, that person should be given fanfare, a gentle and loving goodbye, and no condemnation to Hell for sexual preference or orientation, sexual or gender identity, or disability. Again, Clayton. When his sister was gunned down by Mesa police, he had to pay for funeral expenses, and went out of his way to find a celebrant that would not condemn his transgender sister, who identified later as male, to Hell. He found a female, but before this, most of his family condemned her, even after her abuse. She suffered at the hands of her family, and Clayton was the only one that understood.

Churches and other religious places have a lot to think about. IF they want their tax exempt status taken away, more power to them. The procedure would be simple: any church or religious/faith based establishment that does not comply with the real teachings of God and Christ, Buddha, or whatever, including the teachings of love and equality, will be audited by the IRS and forced to comply or should be closed. IF it takes changing subtleties in the doctrines, that must happen.

This article was inspired by not only Clayton, but my friend Tyler McKinny, who hates all forms of God and supernatural things. A lot of what this guy says is correct. Religion may bring humans together, but love without end is even more powerful. Tyler says that supernatural belief without science is ridiculous. I tend to agree, and miracles have some scientific explanation. Although science won’t be able to explain creation or the beginning of the universe, it does explain evolution. And something put it there. Wisdom in such figures as the Dalai Lama and Buddha are extremely important for living a balanced life, and I’m in agreement that science does support meditation/prayer. It works in some weird ways, but people learn better when exposed to an inclusive environment. This means disabled people should be allowed to pray, meditate, whatever.

Beth

Open Letter to the Royal Newlyweds

Dear Readers and fans,

I’d like to share a few thoughts with the royal newlyweds as they are merrymaking and having a good time at their wedding. They first of all picked a fine time to marry as this particular day was a twelve year recovery anniversary, and it’s not easy having been discharged from a place that violated evry right in the book, violating privacy and confidential and social information for a blind patient. To HRH Prince Harry, you’re so lucky. As you said at the altar crown, you are indeed lucky. But being set up with Megan Markel on a blind date is nothing. For me, every date is a blind date. I kid you not. Being blind, my dates have to know in advance that I can’t see facial expressions and feeling someone up is not good in polite society. You are marrying an American, and now that you’ve taken your vows, please, I beg you, validate the peoples who are rendered not as “desirable”, the blind, the wheelchair users, the intellectually disabled, etc. These people are mistreated by the government and the Duchess of Sussex, as MEgan is now called, should be aware of this stuff. It happens everywhere, and someone should use their celebrity for good things such as validating the feelings and wants and desires of disabled people. We want to get married in style as you guys have, but did you know that 80% or more disabled adults can’t find jobs? 90% of disabled females are restricted to living at home with their parents, verbally/emotionally abused, or sexually assaulted? Think about those numbers and figures for a second. Disabled females are more at risk than the males because of misconceptions, emotional detachment by parents, and possible abandonment. My 90% comes from extensive conversations with many females in the disabled community. In Britain, this number could be different. Let MEgan do the research since this might be new to her. Megan, one thing I want to say is be blessed to have a husband like yours. Your husband and the rich connections you’ve made have awarded you a 53 meter around wedding veil, embroidered with all the flowers of the Commonwealth. It doesn’t matter how you look at it. I didn’t watch your wedding because for one, I’d never be invited to a wedding unless I was family or well connected. For another, the wedding option for me was written off the books because my parents think nobody will fall in love with me, and made my relationships look bad. They blame me for one sided relationships, one of which or maybe two of those relationships weren’t. What’s worse is that I was violated by a blind man from Georgia. I’m currently with a Denver man, and we should be able to express our love in whatever way we choose, including a lavish wedding. What you don’t see is that I’m probably mixed, come from the same Catholic family, and am marrying a black guy. My parents according to my fiance could send someone to shoot him. Well, I assure you, if you get racist commentary anywhere, it won’t be the last time, but that’s the burden we bear. My fiance won’t have bodyguards which he should have anyway because of the risk we face. I don’t want to lose him as much as His Highness Prince Harry doesn’t want to lose you. You may not be a virgin, neither am I, but that’s a small detail that really doesn’t matter. Trenton accepts me the way Harry accepts you. So think about it. Your wedding should not just be about the lavish diamonds, lace, and silk, but about the poor and downtrodden of your Commonwealth as well.

To those who watched the wedding procession, be mindful that not everybody can afford a carriage, crowds, and pictures with photographers. Trenton and I have had to forego $5 out of $5000 we were trying to raise for a decent wedding, but were not awarded enough, so the money was refunded. This is a disgrace. I wanted a wedding to someone who would accept a lifetime marriage contract, no divorce, nothing. So … be mindful of what you all do.

Sincerely,

Beth Taurasi

Open Letter to Sudan

Dear Readers,

The following is a plea. Sudan supposedly is a Muslim country. They have the most cultish laws in place such as women marrying only Muslim men, forced marriage provisions to benefit the monsters who rape and destroy women’s lives, and laws that allow the hanging of a young girl, Nora, who killed her husband because she was fed up with being raped. Is this justice? No. I’ve ridden with men from Sudan, but to ask these men questions about girls and their treatment over there is bogus. I now plead with the international community. Free Nora, and hang the relatives who forced her to endure rape, not the other way around. That man who got her deserved to get whatever came to him. Nora needs our help, none of the men do. They don’t deserve brides for a price. Nora, if only you could read this, you have a right to the tree of life. Just get out of there, and unlike Miriam Ibrahim, you should get protection so you can not be rearrested for forging documents. Get out! Sudan is not safe for women and girls, especially those with disabilities. IF you need a hand, women of the world, I’m right here and if you need something, to those who don’t like the men they marry in force, just tell the husband you’re forced to have that he’ll get what’s coming if he even so much as touches you in a way that doesn’t make you happy.

With love and a bit of fire,

Beth

Blind People in Recovery

Dear Readers,

Imagine that you’re in an in or out patient recovery, and you can’t see. That’s not as easy to wrap your head around, but for me, that was the reality 12 years ago. Not much might have changed since LaAmistad violated my rights and the rights of other blind patients, so let me break down what it is we the blind may need in a recovery circle.

First and foremost, since blind people cannot read standard Print, it is the utmost importance that treatment providers must, even if it means changing policy, provide spoken or Braille materials for blind people to better understand and/or participate in recovery. Using HIPAA is not a good enough excuse not to allow a blind person to read their own recovery tools. Emailing recovery materials may be an option, and since most providers have a signature about confidential information, keep that signature, but send all materials as attachments. Braille materials can be embossed from these attachments or the treatment provider could pay a transcriptionist or emboss it themselves using a computer with a Braille embosser in sync with a transcriber program such as Duxbury or Perky Duck or something similar. Blind people must have full and equal access to all material related to them and their recovery. That’s the most important thing. Without it, your practice could end up in the same category as LaAmistad or any other company that violates the rights of blind people.

Secondly, as with autistics, all threatment providers should talk to their client directly, not expecting eye contact. Blind people with shrunken eyes like myself can’t give you the “evil eye” and other eye related expressions but we can face you when you talk, and we exist, so unless the client has a vocal disorder or speech impediment, please, please talk to your client directly. Find out the reason the client is in therapy. A representative such as a parent or public guardian may have forced your client into mental health counseling for all the wrong reasons, so be sure that this is not the case. 80% of blind females may need rape crisis counseling and another 10% may be added for the high rate of abuse such as sex abuse, physical battery, or emotional/verbal and mental abuse. Females with disabilities are seen as less valuable and not desirable, so it is often said that they are “sexless saints.” They aren’t. As a treatment provider, your job is to treat the whole picture, not “fix my child” in the case of parents begging you to, for instance, convert a gay person to a state of heterosexuality. Applied behavior analysis should never be used on blind autistics, just as with sighted ones. Parents should not be allowed access to your client if they say so. Participation of families may be hard because either the client is battered by one or both parents or a guardian, so take the reason for treatment seriously.

Your relationship with the client matters. If you say or do misconceiving things to your blind client such as ask them why they can’t open their eyes, they may be off put. IF your client uses a guide dog, allow them access to your facility because really, it’s the law. Ask your client the question of the dog’s purpose but not so much whether that’s a pet or service dog. If a client uses a wheelchair, your practice should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including not have architectural barriers such as lack of a ramp or no elevator so the client can remain mobile. Some blind clients do use wheelchairs, so be aware of what needs to be done.

As you progress in therapy with your blind and physically disabled client, do what you normally do in asking about the client’s life story, talk about the onset of your client’s disability. Some disabilities are a direct result of abuse, so don’t be shy about the onset questions.

For some blind people, art is great for coping with stress and abusive situations. For children, use of three dimensional play things is fine, as with regular children who are not blind. The difference with blind clientel is that we prefer to have differing ways to artistically express ourselves such as weaving, clay sculpting, or three dimensional and tactile artwork. Collages are great ways to build art projects, and paper folding art such as the Japanese origami is a really good way to allow your clients to express themselves. Art therapy is excellent, but what if your client isn’t an artist? As with regular clients, blind clients may want outdoor activities supervised by a therapist such as horseback riding, playing fetch with a dog, or a nature walk. Some therapists’ offices are cramped, so this might work. You can come up with all kinds of creative things to do outdoors with a blind client who might have suffered anything from rape/abuse to night terrors/nightmares. The possibilities are endless, but make sure you get the logistics and resources before you do what you want to do.

Blind clients who are deaf will likely need Braille materials or computerized Braille files to participate in recovery. Sign language may not be the best, unless you want tactile interpretation like in the case of Helen Keller’s teacher Annie, who had to spell into her hand. The best way to address a deafblind client depends on the level of hearing loss but the best way I see to address said clientel is to use something like the Deafblind communicator, and use of writing software such as that can break down barriers of communication common in the deafblind arena. Sighted or hearing treatment providers should always be aware of what the deaf and blind client’s needs are just as with anyone else.

Group therapy can be a challenge for blind people, both in and out patient being where groups abound. Always make sure Braille materials are available, and allow your blind clients to bring whatever works for writing down answers and filling out worksheets. Allow them to email you the results if they must be turned in. When homework is assigned, make sure the client is given the same assignments as the rest of the group, but there may be triggers in some of the content of group discussion. Allow all clients equally to discuss things, but set your group rules as you would with regular clients. Blind clientel may need time to get to know group members’ voices, so icebreaker activities can be a great way for all members to remember each other. Blind people may be unable to transport to certain places by bus or train such as a field or horse barn, so if you are a treatment provider, and you wish to do therapy in a field, be sure to provide some form of assistance with transportation for your blind client as they can’t get a license to drive. IF a representative is unwilling to drive, you may be able to put some backbone into why they should, and be sure to remind the rep why the client benefits from your services. This step applies to treatment providers in rural areas where buses and trains may not be present.

In the advent of technology, some blind people may benefit from e-therapy. Some therapy resources are available through electronic means such as the phone or computer. E-therapy through a platform such as Google Hangouts or Skype might work, provided you don’t use an accessible counseling or e-therapy platform. Online counseling must be delivered in a way that benefits the blind clients, so use a screen reader or Braille display or both when testing e-therapy options.

I hope you find these tips helpful.

Beth

The Recovery of Persons on the Autism Spectrum: What’s The Right Way to Address This?

Dear REaders,

I had an interesting conversation with an autistic woman in Great Britain about mental health and autism. For one, I learned that autism has nothing to do with mental health. This is true as the problems autistics face have to do with society’s unwillingness to accept them for who they are.

As Mental Health month progresses, I’d like to address the problem of autistics in therapy and such. things as psychiatry treatments. For one, some autistics don’t benefit from psychiatric treatments because society is trying to reverse their nonconformist ways. For another, therapy can sometimes get frustrating for folks with autism if the wrong source is pinpointed and the trauma is not blamed on what it should be blamed on, which leads to my next point.

Many autistics in the U.S. schools are subjected to unnecessary punishments and spankings, overwhelming sensory overload or deprivation, or injury because of their autistic differences. Teachers in public schools here pay closer attention to those of color, females, and other minority groups compounded by the spectrum.

I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, but that went out the window because for one, most Asperger’s or high “functioning” autistics are usually males, but females make up a good portion of the diagnostic statistics. I’m not on the spectrum, and my mother, who wanted this diagnosis, was not a qualified diagnostic clinician so she should never have said I had pervasive developmental disorder either. These diagnoses were designed, in my parents’ mind, so they could ruin my chances of getting a job, a mate, a house, and more income than the paltry government allowance. Autistics find it just as hard as blind people to get jobs. So how should treatment providers deal with this?

First, what’s the reason your autistic client is in your office? IS it a greedy parent who wants you to “fix” your child? Is it your client’s inability to find a suitable mate or job? IS it traumatic circumstances such as grief, sensory overload at school, etc.? Was it rape? Figure out the reason by talking directly to the client, and listen to the client’s representatives. IF the parents expect you to “fix my child”, I would recommend explaining that family dynamics have to focus on the most marginalized member, and forcing the member to conform to the able person’s perspective is not a good idea. I wish this had been noticed, as when my parents took me to therapists, they ultimately treated me like a broken piece that needed to be fixed, but they didn’t want to fix themselves. Autistics have the unique challenge of parents who sometimes want to get money from the child as other disabled children face this too. Autistics have differing social constructs and scripts that parents sometimes don’t want to or know how to read. Therapists should take the cue if they see this.

IF an autistic person in treatment/recovery does not have enough income for out patient treatment, therapists should make it their mission to keep autistics out of in patient treatment by lowering their fees because of places like the Judge Rodenberg Center, which uses shock devices to keep the autistics conforming to what the staff wants. This should be discouraged as the shock treatments shouldn’t be present, but if they are, they damage someone who is subjected to it beyond repair. It will take years for treatment to have any effect.

Therapists should realize that autistics are not going to give you eye contact, and neither will totally blind people with sunken eyes. Autistics like to think in pictures, so I think art therapy will give you a clue as to what the person is thinking or what’s bothering them, just as other clients without disabilities or who aren’t autistic will want to use art to depict their traumatic event, their hopes and dreams, or what their future should look like.

Therapists should realize that a high rate of abuse occurs among disabled and autistic clientel, so treatment with family involved may not work. In patient treatment is not recommended for autistics because other patients might perceive them unfavorably, staff might abuse them, and they could be given the wrong set of constructs or scripts given they could have been abuse victims.

Trauma victims who are autistic should be given the same treatment but with a few small changes. Besides lack of eye contact, autistics should be allowed to bring a service animal into therapy. IF an autistic has fear of dogs, a therapy dog might be able to help with exposure to good dog behavior in the animals. Autistics should be invited to, for example, pet the dog and watch carefully with their senses any body language that indicates love, respect, loyalty. Dogs are probably the best teachers, and horses as well. Animal therapy should be greatly encouraged for autistics and others because if you can connect good with animals, that is a sign that you’re not too far gone. Animal therapy is also helpful for abduction victims, but no matter what the ability is, people and animals can teach love and respect to those who have an 80% likelihood not to have felt it. Dogs and horses are the best examples I can come up with, but cats are also very empathic given their nature. If you’re afraid of rats, no matter what is different about you, holding a tamed rat might work. A good therapist also should let their clients run around outdoors and do therapeutic activities such as play fetch with dogs, ride horses, or paint on the legs of a horse or the hairs on the back of a dog. A goat might work, but bear in mind that a goat can’t go on a plane with you. Recently, airlines have had to crack down on exotic animals, which is fine up to a point.

As a blind woman who did recovery treatment, I will talk about blindness specific problems faced in recovery another day.

Beth

The Disability Recovery Model

Dear Readers,

Imagine you’re a person with a disability with mental health challenges as a result of an abusive family. Do not apply alcohol and drugs to this picture. Weed does not count as a controlled substance in this case. Just imagine you want to tell your family goodbye or commit suicide and don’t know where to turn, then get punished for speaking out. So what do you do?

The Disability Recovery Model is something I’m about to show you and it works with sensory and motor disabled individuals who are not using bad or overused chemicals such as alcohol or heroin. Sit back, and listen now as I envision what recovery should look like for mistreated disabled mental patients.

 

For a blind patient, all recovery materials, including twelve step guides, nursing educational brochures and other things should be in accessible formats. Since in patient facilities oftentimes do not permit use of the Internet, this sadly only applies to out patient recovery programs. For those in residential rehab, however, this rule must be changed so a blind patient can use the best, and only the best cutting edge tech, their own preferably that they can supply, on the Internet that is accessible from anywhere in the facility. Since materials in print such as a guided diary card/journal may not be suitable for blind individuals or those with very low vision, I recommend that all recovery programs should allow portable notetakers and computers in the hands of patients with print disabilities, and recovery materials should also be in Braille hard copy or plain Braille formats for note takers. IF this isn’t done, or if there’s policy against computer usage, change it so exceptions don’t have to be made for one person in a blue moon.

For these same patients, it should be seen as taboo for guardianship to be commenced. IF something like it is in place, therapists should assess why it was put in place, realizing that because of the high abuse rate among disabled children and adults, acceptance should be aggressively pursued by parents, treatment professionals, and those in charge of recovery programs in the community. Disabled people have disabilities, and should be given resources outside their community that can aid in independent training if, for example, they don’t want a state run facility with dormy conditions and possibly aggressive males living next door. While the NFB trainng centers are overpromoted for the polished but inaccurate image they hold, resources such as those should be ranked number 1, audited for how they deal with blind patients in both twelve step recovery and out patient counseling programs. CCB, for instance, located in Littleton, Colorado, has a counselor on site sometimes that visits people for adjustment reasons once per week for an alotted time. Louisiana’s center in Ruston may not have all the resources it needs to help combat the high abuse rate of disabled adults and children, and it doesn’t help that Louisiana as a state may have Napoleonic law and offensive maneuvers in place to close its doors to LGBTQIA disabled and nondisabled people alike. Minnesota’s Blindness Learning In NEw Dimensions or BLIND Inc., has more immigrants, who may bring harmful traditions to American soil. One thing the state and Minneapolis do have, to their credit, is central transportation, and could have fertile ground for LGBT folks, but it must be a place of welcoming and material support to recovery patients whose physical lives are being abused and neglected every day.

The Littleton center to its credit is located in the heart of Liberal Colorado, where marijuana is legal, but it does have a harmful policy against weed usage because of federal funds. If marijuana is legalized federally, we should demand that all landlords and facilities for the disabled allow the use of weed for all occasions, except for during class times as in the case of CCB. Weed and other medicinals have been known to relieve seizures and glaucoma pressures in one’s eye. Blind people are notorious for having headaches and migraines due to glaucoma. Why not relieve that pressure without expensive pharmacological medication that could cost too much! Marijuana has some medicinal value, so if you’re government officials reading this blog, do something and legalize marijuana if not for tax dollars, for the glaucoma and epilepsy patients in true recovery.

In the case of blind patients, therapists should be treating the patient not like someone else’s problem as in the case of LaAmistad in Winter Park Florida’s Orlando region, but as viable citizens with potential to do great things. Protecting patients with rules and prohibitions could hinder a blind person’s ability to deal with real world things. A blind patient who cuts should not necessarily be denied acces to food cutlery but should be decoded, properly assessed for self injurious behaviors, and if the culprit is hindering family, they should be told outright that they’re the culprit whether they pay for your services or not. My family is a classic example, but I had no self injury behavior that led to bleeding, however, during rehabilitative recovery programs I’ve seen, the food was fattening and we weren’t allowed real kitchen utensils. We were also ironically forced to use blue Biq razors for shaving, both men and women, however, BIQ is a dangerous disposable brand and disabled people should be allowed to opt out of this. IF a patient has injurious behaviors that lead to cutting, bleeding, etc., a bloodless razor should be what you use. So what if Biq was cheap? Cheap shavers aren’t good for anyone, so don’t force them on your clients with disabilities or any other people. Show the disabled client the proper use of the razor, hand over hand, but never shave for them for fear they could cut themselves. These tips apply mostly to in patient recovery clients with blindness.

For all patients in and out who are blind, travel and meetings should be encouraged, not discouraged. LaAmistad forbade me from visiting old friends in recovery when they left, and that hurts. Disabled patients would benefit from going places alone, as they will have to do so at work, in school, and to meet with attorneys. Blind patients being supervised is too stereotypical unless they are physically sick and truly unable to support themselves walking. Going on group tours and trips with visual arts in mind should be strictly assessed for its ability to meet the blind patient’s needs for being able to perceive the information presented. Never say that a blind patient has a strong sense of entitlement. This is dangerous to the recovery efforts they are making, and oftentimes advocacy for things like going to blind friendly locations for outings is mistaken for entitlement or being exceptionally grandiose. This is also dangerous as it can destroy the voices of these marginalized mental health patients, who are likely to reenter a world where they can’t get jobs, can’t find folks to teach them Braille, or cane travel, a world where their children could be stolen from them due to their disabling blindness supposedly plus mental health. In recovery circles, it should be discouraged for courts and social workers to disband a family. I as a blind person will not allow my family access to my children because they did all of the above bad things such as accuse me of being entitled, discouraged advocacy, and isolated and drugged me for being human at all. Recovery isn’t just counseling and drugs for a blind patient. Independence and family support make a difference. HEre’s an example. I’ve said enough about me, but you should know that family support is lacking for the wedding funds. I’m considering selling things to pay for wedding accessories, and all because family won’t do their duty as tradition dictates they pay for the bride and her dress and wedding ceremony and all. However, Jennifer, who lives in Littleton, received family support when she married her blind husband. They now have a little boy, employment being for both parents, and housing that supports the family.

Jennifer’s job and independence come as a result of family support, encouragement, and positive development of independence training skills as a child. No recovery patient is ever afforded anything like this, and this must be done.

WHile blindness is a low incidence disability, I’d like to turn my attention to deaf and deafblind individuals. A deaf person should be allowed access to sign language interpreters or therapists who signn if the deaf person can see. Hearing aids for the hearing impaired should be mandatory allowances and no deaf person should be discouraged from their use. Deafblind individuals should never have communicative access issues in both in and outpatient treatment. They must be given Braille equipment such as the Deaf Blind Communicator from HumanWare. This is just one example of a tool that opens the world to deafblind individuals.

Mobility impaired individuals must be allowed all the basic rights as someone on the outside, just as blind patients should be allowed to explore their communities unaided unless they’re paralyzed and unable to use a cane with a wheelchair. All wheelchair users should be given full and complete acces to private baths and toileting areas. All toilets and showers in group facilities for regular recovery patients should be forcibly fitted with bars and the showers should be made wider. All doorways should be made wider and no stairs should be implemented. Your facility should have ramps to go in and out of the building as well as a ramp to go upstairs to another floor if your facility is small. However, if a facility is large, it is mandatory that elevators be put in place. All bedrooms should be equipped with wide doorways, bars in limited capacity for climbing on and off beds, and low desks and dressers. Architectural barriers should never be present because the last thing a person who is mobility impaired needs is to have to crawl in to bed, not being able to transfer to their wheelchair.

OF course, for all patients in recovery, sexual aggression should never be enabled, however a sexual relationship with one’s partner should be greatly encouraged. Marital counseling should be given a dose of equality based training for any able bodied spouse who feels entitled to abuse. Of course, if you work with domestic violence victims, there are great resources available for said disabled battered wives or other such victims. Women’s shelters should follow all the guidelines for accessibility to all types of disabilities and resources should reflect access issues the patients face.

While applied behavior analysis is abusive to autistic people, there are more positive support mechanisms that treatment providers can use to help autistics cope with trauma. Demonstrating proper use of differing things should be priority number one. However, foods that overwhelm autistic people should be assessed according to patient need, not banned for all clients. Blind autistics could be bombarded with sensory consistencies when eating certain foods. When recovery is implemented for autistics suffering abuse at the hands of family, treatment providers, or home care providers, it should be duly noted that evaluating what foods overwhelm individual patients can lead to better results and practices. Punishment for autistics is not something any treatment provider should allow. Autistics in schools should be given positive behavioral supports at home, but if child welfare providers see otherwise, parents should be removed from the picture so that the autistic child can be placed in a loving adoptive home where supports are in place. If an autistic person is blind, hands on crafts instead of drawing should be implemented in therapy. Art for all is a good thing, whether a patient is autistic or not.

I hope this model serves as a bullwork for treatment providers and families alike because I went through Hell. But keep in mind that taking rights from a person with a disability should be gravely discouraged, as recovery should focus on the bigger picture, what will happen when the person’s family dies? Guardians only steal money and kill their clients, so a therapist should serve as an advocate for a disabled patient. All disabilities are not necessarily justifiable reasons for guardianship. Down’s Syndrome patients should be told freedom is a good thing, and women with this condition face more rape than most others. IF you have support groups for all disabilities for patients in recovery, do divulge these resources and encourage the growth and implementation of said groups without judgment which is dangerous. Judgment and negativity should not be tolerated. I’ll discuss what the ideal self help and recovery group looks like for persons with disabilities in a later post, so if you have anything to add to the model I just proposed, comment here.

Beth

What Should Recovery Look Like for Persons with Disabilities?

Dear Readers,

It was twelve years ago on May 19 of 2006 that I was discharged from a recovery program in Florida. I’ve named this program as a violator of the ADA, however, because a few things happened that shouldn’t have.

1. They refused to read things when I asked kindly, saying it was not their job to do so.

They refused to allow me to truly have friends in the recoery network.

They absolutely refused to let me walk alone with a cane, the only way to learn independent travel.

They refused to allow me to use the Internet, and didn’t have the equipment to accommodate me doing research and Internet usage. All these things are violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but there’s more.

This program would benefit substance users, and it did so. However, for nonchemical dependents, it was harder in the residential program to relate to those folks. I was frequently abandoned to staff and not given the right kind of treatment.

If any friends or readers want to comment on either the Facebook post or this blog post, do tell me what recovery should look like for persons with disabilities. However, here’s a model for what nonchemical dependent recovery should look like for a blind person.

1. Therapy should be based not only on the fact that there are external sources hindering the person’s independence, but the person has either mood or mental health challenges preventing certain aspects of it.

Therapists should encourage, not hinder, research, reading, and use of independence tools while in recovery.

Therapists should discourage residential treatment unless ordered by a court in cases of substance use only.

Therapists should be giving, not taking away, the skills of blindness tools and making it possible for the blind person to feel liberated.

While in out patient recovery, a blind person should learn the skills of use of real life cutlery and real life food processor equipment in a home environment that encourages, not depletes, said skills.

Therapists and psychiatrists should be aware of when a person who is blind is being used for chemical restraint urposes and stop it immediately if this hinders independent thought and critical thinking, skills that all people should be taught.

These things should be taken into account when investigating out patient recovery centers. And moreover, I will reprint this in Medium so that we have a serious look at what it should look like when a disabled person gets mental health challenges. Many disabled females are abused to the point of no return around the world, and in the United States particularly, 70% to 80% of all females with all range of disability are subjected to verbal, physica, or sexual abuse. This includes figures about guardianship, a form of institutionalization. About 86% of females with disabilities are indirect or direct witnesses to abuse and sexual assault. I’m basing this on observations I’ve made of the disabled community throughout the years I’ve been able to do so.

Make sure you read this, and if you have anything to add to the recovery model, please respond and comment to your heart’s content.

Beth

Who’s Excellent?: Why We Should Never Do Business with North Korea

Dear Readers,

I heard a pretty awful thing that our President actually said. Did I hear it right? He said Kim John-Un was “really excellent.” What? Here’s a few reasons why this is not correct.

  1. This is the most important reason. The DPRK, or North Korea, is ableist. It decries the presence of disabled men and women in its public squares and in Pyongyang, its capital city. I have a friend who was adopted from South Korea, and honestly, he wouldn’t survive the North and its able bodied policies. He’d likely be killed or moved to a subhuman goulag, according to Human Rights Watch. I’ve seen articles and watched videos about the North, and this is a hidden shameful truth. My friend might have faced sterilization if he were of the female persuasion and if he was a certain height, he’d have to live in a special village set up for the little people. This country is doing business with a country that hates disabled people.
  2. North Korea hates giving women opportunities. Even to choose your own mate! North Korean women soldiers face astronomically larger sums of sexual harassment than the male soldiers. After which, these women are usually forcibly married off to men who might not have it all there. My friend I mentioned earlier might have had to work in a nuclear power plant provided he survives being born sighted in North Korea. HE’d then be given a docile bride, but his ability to love would be compromised by serving the regime. He’d have to do his usuals, producing children for the state, but his bride would have to give flowers to statues of Kim Il-Sung, produce a child or two, and all without love or understanding in the marriage. Thankfully, my friend lives in a country where there’s plenty of food, and yes, women marry for love. Another odd thing about North Korea is the fact that their women are shamed for having their menstruations. This could mean these women aren’t allowed to throw out sanitary napkins, for instance, something we American women take for granted. North Korea, in truth, does not elevate the status of its women by much. They are encouraged to get cosmetic surgeries to lok like the ideal Korean wife/bride, provided they’re upper class.
  3. This country is doing business with a cult. The moment you fly into North Korean air space, you’re not allowed to oppose the Kim family. You hear nothing but propaganda films praising the ruthless dictator. You can’t even watch Netflix or any other form of in flight entertainment. Is that fair!
  4. North Korea does not truly educate its children. They’re learning that their leader invented the hamburger, which is false. They’re learning he composed operas, is immortal, all gracious, wise, and gentle, all this is false. IF he is allowing people to starve, cutting disabled women’s tubes without prior reason, or forcing the able women to marry unstable and not so loving husbands, then his inventions and opera compositions are false. Our President doing business with dictators will only push us down the same path.
  5. North Korea starves its people on purpose, and blames whole families for the sins of one. Imagine that because your dad stole a television, your brothers and sisters and yourself would all go to prison and have to suffer the consequences. This is the reality for North Koreans who disobey the dictator. They are not allowed government disapproved music, which includes some Southern kPop and most American artists. This is bunk and should be reversed if America is going to do business with a dictator like the Kim dynasty in the DPRK.

IF anything should happen to this country, I have none to blame. Our President certainly doesn’t care enough that Otto Wormbier was callously tortured by the Northerners on the Korean Peninsula. He doesn’t give a crap about the fact that ableist thought exists in grave manifestations of the worst kind. HE doesn’t know what and who he does business with. The only thing he cares about is the Art of the Deal, and even that “art” won’t work in cases where whole lives are at stake. THe stakes are higher for disabled Koreans, who face possible orphanage placement in the South and total isolation in the North. Korean should open its doors to disabled folks, stop the guilt by association punishments, and allow Western and mainstream thought to filter in because music is supposed to bring people together. Women should be married to the men they choose, and out of love, not as a reward for the men’s service to this brutal slug who could become the next brutal reason to end a dictatorship, the next Siad in Somalia, Stalin in Russia, Castro in Cuba. Worse, he could be the next Hitler in Germany. Trump did have many parallels in Hitler as I stated before, and it’s evident in his Muslim bans, his throwing out African immigrants, and his comments about Africans being from countries with a big fat expletive where no President should go. We need to elect progressive candidates to congress and other places in government. If not, we could be in the same boat as North Korea, Cuba, Russia, and other places where dictatorships thrive on the blood of citizens undesired.

Defining Slavery: Kanye West Gets a Lesson on What Slavery Did to His People

Dear readers,

Let’s go back in time, to the 1700s while we’re at it, and watch the harbor in Africa. Imagine for a moment you see a huge group of male and female Africans being chained up and thrown into a cramped slave ship. Imagine the harrowing and horrifying voyage and the consequences thereafter. Reread the stories of the latter slaves who were born slaves in America. Due to the recent comments by none other than black rapper Kanye West, I’d like to paint a picture of slavery that only my African American studies professor would approve of, though none of us are proud of it.

What if Kanye were along for the journey from Africa through the Middle Passage to the Americas to work? Kanye would have been separated from the women of his lineage, and the whole idea of separation of men and women was according to the history of benefit to the sailors. Mulana Caranga writes in the book we used in black studies that the sailors raped the women. I’m also paraphrasing the lecture the professor gave us. Kanye would have to have suffered among piles of men, men who would later be branded on the butt, chest, or other part of the torso such that the white masters could dehumanize them. Kanye would have been sold and forced to take the last name of his master, but worse, he’d have to work in the fields as a carpenter, plantation picker, or perhaps a livestock tender. Kanye’s ancestors were renamed from their African names because whites wanted it that way.

The sad thing about this disaster called the Slave Trade, in all seriousness, was that great men like Cotton Mather owned slaves. Cotton was the son of a Great Awakening preacher, Increase Mather. The Mathers owned Onesimus, a Gurumantes slave who was purchased by Cotton’s church congregation of all things. UGh. How could a church purchase slaves!

Now, in cases like the male ancestors of Kanye West, their fates could have led them to death.

What of the slaves of the antebellum South? First, if Kanye had skipped down to 1858 which was two or three years before Confederates waged war with the perfect Union, Kanye would have witnessed many of his ancestors being beaten and raped, and imagine his reaction to what Master Brodas’s slaves called the Big House. Harriet Tubman was born a slave, and her sisters were sold. OF course, her master was Edward Brodas, but he and his young son died, so Harriet was sold out a few times. The master and mistress tried to hire her as a cook, a child’s nurse, etc., and only at 7 years of age. Neither of her employers, or potential owners, were people of quality. THey expected Harriet or Araminta Ross, as she was known at birth, to do chores around the house automatically, as if she had been programmed, and without pay at that.

What if Kanye looked through Harriet Tubman’s eyes? IF he’d only understood the great lengths she went through and traveled with her on the Underground Railroad, he’d understand the risks she was taking to free her people. She even freed her parents, Ben Ross and his wife Harriet. Yes, Harriet’s mom was Harriet as well, but she was called Old Rit by the others. IF only Mr. West would have seen how many bounty hunters were after escaped slaves, the Fugitive Slave Law and its aftereffects, the wanted posters for Harriet Tubman and others, he would have then reevaluated his comments on slavery. Slavery was not a choice for yet another famous female named Harriet Ann Jacobs, born to a carpenter and his wife, born a slave herself. She was bequeathed to Emily Flint, also known as Mary Matilda Messmore, who married a man named Daniel Messmore. He was about to take home Ms. Jacobs, all could have been bad for her, but the Willises, who employed her, namely Nathaniel Parker Willis and his wife, freed her by having a group purchase her. She had fled north obviously because of James Norcom who was her master at the time. She had no choice in the matter of James Norcom and his advances, he was ruthless and tried to make her succumb to sexual abuse again and again. Suppose that happened to someone in Mr. West’s family? If that did happen, Kanye would have had no choice but to watch as a sister dies in childbirth and the mistress looks on and says, “Cost of doing business.” It’s life that should not be taken, and the black woman who dies in childbirth is not a write off for doing business.

My family had a mixed lady somewhere there. Hebert is a common bloodline in Louisiana. There are black and white family members who would find Kanye’s comments about his own people disturbing. If he thought the interracial marriage laws were a choice, they were only for the white slaveholding families who wanted the race pure, and for the family I deal with every day who doesn’t want me to marry an African American Florida Seminole Blackfoot whatever else is thrown in there. Racism exists today in the form of brutality against Kanye’s own people, and now he owes these descendants of greats like Harriet Tubman and Harriet Jacobs a full and decent apology. Not only that, he must accept punishment for bad deeds done as a result of said comments. No more playing Kanye songs on certain radio playlists, and this is already happening. I will never think of Gold Digger the same way again, and Mr. West ought to realize that his comments came with a much higher price. It’ll be a much much higher price than his ancestors were worth at the auction block. If Kanye himself had been betrayed and sold by “Mass’r” and he had to answer to a new one, he would not be feeling this way. The only reason why I empathize with his or should I say my people is because I am descended from a slave as well, and so is Trenton’s ancestry. We both have splashes of many different colors in our family, which is a lot to say for the slaveholding whites who married cousins. Look at Gone with the Wind.

Scarlett was not the best mistress of slaves, and Prissy was often whipped if she didn’t do her thing. I wouldn’t want to live like Prissy, Scarlett’s maid. I wouldn’t want to be a forced “Mami” which was a joke word later used in an animated Disney short about dolls of all things. The “Mammi” jokes just kept coming post Gone with the Wind.

Kanye should watch and then perhaps talk to his own daughters about why they even have Kim’s blood in their veins. Slavery and race division was no choice of Kanye’s people. Kim would not have been allowed to marry or adopt with Kanye not long ago. Now, look they have two girls, and those girls better learn the right stuff in slave narratives and books, and Solomon Northup’s book Twelve Years a Slave should speak a lot. Mr. Northup has a very good definitive slave narrative that was made into a movie. I hope that my children someday watch this without trying to cry or ask too many weird questions, but if they do ask questions, they’ll get answers,, lots of answers. Anyway, all of this should be taken into account in selecting a proper punishment for Kanye. He should be made to perhaps live as a refuse slave, a disabled black person who was usually thrown on an island to die. He clearly doesn’t get it, and should be made to see this post and look back at his own family tree.

Sincerely,

Beth

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