Why we shouldn’t bill parents in the United States for educating the kids …

Dear Readers,

Imagine your school days. Did it ever occur to you that your mom and dad would one da have to pay for the great memories you make at school? In Brian Crosby’s book, Smart Kids, Bad Schools, he proposed billing parents a nominal $339 per semester or per month, I forgot which one, but here’s the problem with this billing:

1. Immigrant parents who are particularly poor and don’t make enough could have their daughters stay at home.

2. Girls would be sold into arranged marriages in such families.

3. Children would be restricted to common core curriculum because of financial inequality with their peers who are rich.

4. Religiously framed homeschools such as that of Muslims would spring up all over the United States. We may have more liars too, folks who homeschool but really abuse the “students.”

5. Poverty for parents with disabilities would be more pronounced. Trenton and I would never pay for school uniforms, books, or any form of tuition. We’d want education for our kids of the future, but paying for it would mean prioritizing boys over girls, or if there are no boys, prioritizing able over disabled. And I’m sorry, but the billing of families would make inequity more of a problem.

There are kids like Cassidy and Harmony, two girls who want to do wrestling, but their parents have disabilities and might not be able to afford the girls’ wrestling accessories. Their mother wants them to do sports, which is all well and good, but imagine she’d been billed for those uniforms, food, and bus trips for the wrestling team. Oops! She has no boys, and all her kids are able, but let’s face this fact head on. She and her husband have poverty chasing away everything they want for their girls, and I hope this doesn’t include thir desire to wrestle. In any case, children should be allowed to find themselves and know their creativity in school without inequality and poverty getting in the way.

How to Stand Up to Hate and Bigotry in our World: the Charlottesville Anniversary Going Forward

Dear Readers,

It is amazing what support I do have for this blog, and the best thing is, it came at a time when standing up to hate and bigotry is most important. I am against the Alt Rights, the White Supremacists, KKK, and Neo Nazism, and all this because it affects me personally.

Here’s a few examples of how, on the other hand, you can stand up to bigotry and hate and prejudice from all sides of the cube.

1. Talk to a person in a minority group. This example comes straight out of Remember the Titans. Coach Boone, that is I think his name was Charles Boone, was a black football coach who said to his players, “Speak to a teammate of a different race.” He made them pair up, then absolutely made them talk about each other’s lives, families, and other things. You’d be shocked at what you can learn about your coworker, classmate, or your potential son or daughter in law.

2. You can also attend a church of a different denomination, a Jewish denomination you’re not familiar with, or a Hindu temple. Try any religions you’re not familiar with, and remember, this happens only after you complete step 1. IF your new friend is Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, or whatever, go with them to temple, church, mosque, etc. Learn about the religion, but don’t just convert without doing your homework, and then you can have more meaningful conversations with that person about their beliefs.

3. After completing steps 1 and 2, invite a group of different people to a dinner party whether it be a restaurant or your house. You don’t have to complete step 2 for this one, but step 1 should be done a few times over. Let’s suppose I stopped by my friend Tanya’s house. Tanya is Jewish, so then I stop by an old classmate of mine, Amit’s house, and then stop by someone else’s house, and so on. LEt’s suppose I invite Amit and Tanya and my fiance Trenton and a few other spices and icings of different people to a party. Let’s suppose I made a vegetarian meal, something Amit and Tanya could enjoy. No beef or pork, so I’d stick with chicken, but if someone doesn’t like chicken, no meat. While getting to know your friends’ favorite foods, discover the kinds of cuisines they’re into, such as Italian, Israeli, Indian (from India), etc.

4. In school, participate in a group that advocates for inclusion such as Best Buddies, or diversity, such as NAACP or any other organization you can think of.

5. Sit with a classmate who is repeatedly excluded from groups at lunch. This step only applies if you go to school or work and you notice a coworker or student classmate who’s excluded. Find out why. Could it be that they were the survivor of sexual assault? Could it be that the student is the only mixed or person of color in a crowd of white people? Anglo Americans should take note that persons who are African Americans or African natives by blood are people just like us, and they are not aliens. Got it?

6. Ask a minority on a date. If you’re in love but live with a hateful group of family who doesn’t get it, dare yourself to act and ask someone in a minority group on a date. Doesn’t matter what coupling, dating is for everybody. If you just want to hang around with your gay buddy, that’s fine too. Ask your potential partner what he/she’s been up to, what she or he has suffered as a result of being LGBTQ or whatever. Talk about whatever floats your boat, and watch your relationship grow if it does at all.

7. IF it is possible, introduce your new partner to the family. Pick the family that shows more acceptance to your partner, like I have to do all the time. Trenton’s mom and I are on speaking terms, thank God, but my family? Hmmm, not much is said except happy holidays and Merry Christmas, of course. Lip service doesn’t pay, neither does crimes against humanity.

8. IF the steps 6 and 7 are completed successfully with acceptance, plan a wedding. If your finances allow, you could also go to a perfectly acceptable honeymoon, and plan to visit a country that won’t judge your interracial or interfaith relationship. For example, I wouldn’t recommend India for anyone, not at all, even if it was your ancestral home because of rules regarding kissing in public, arranged marriages on the fly, and village child marriage that could possibly damn the vacation. Don’t go to countries that bear the banner of nationalism and exclude certain races or mistake them as gypsies. Trenton, for example, has a darker hue than me, but if we travel to Greece or some other Balkan nations, we could end up in hot water because Trenton could be mistaken for a Roma, a Gypsy or other weird form of tribe nobody’s familiar with, and as a result, I could lose him in a brawl. I won’t let this happen. Germany might be a better choice, but we don’t spreghensi, … like we don’t speak German, so yeah. England, Scottland, or Wales would probably be good for us since we have friends there.

I’d like to say that not every step is going to apply to everybody in the world, but remember, if you’re a Y.A. Book Nerd, those star crossed lovers could appeal to your situation depending on the relationship and how the lovers interact. Finding a minority in the coffee shop you frequent might be impossible, but if a Native American or black or whatever other person walks in, greet them with a smile. Serve them food, and if they want to borrow coffee money, do it. I did that, and received two rocks as a result.

In any case, I hope this entry presents many ideas for people to ponder on how to break down race and other barriers making friendship or a loving romance impossible. Thank you all.

Beth

P.S. Correction: the Titans’ coach was Herman Boone, and his friend was a Bill Yost. So there you have it, my bad, if you’ve ever watched Remember the Titans, remember what Coach Boone said to his players.

Nervous as Hell. Social security is reviewing the obvious.

Dear Readers,

While I was going through the mail, I came across a letter that said we (both myself and my fiance Trenton) had to do a work and health review about our disability. Well? Let’s look at a few figures.

  1. Blind people are 75% or higher in the disproportionate unemployment rate in the nation. About 80% of employers are uneducated about blind people and their abilities. An ability based resume doesn’t seem to work for a lot of my friends, including my friends Blake, Josh, Jason, Clayton, and so many others. Four males who have spent their lives unemployed could tell you, especially Clayton, that job hunting is especially hard. Imagine 30 job applications a day, and do the math times the number of days in a year. Times that by 365 and you get a very high number, over a thousand. Compound the applications themselves with print only and access barriers you get lots of unemployed blind people.
  2. Compounding this with being female, most blind females are seen as valueless, naive sexually, a target on their backs for executives to take advantage of them. Rape culture is written into school and work handbooks, their dress codes, and worse, their corporate manners. IF I try to do manners like I have seen in an etiquette book, I might have a man pull out his junior executive and expect me to suck it, which I won’t. The blind men and women with jobs are lucky, lucky as ever, and most of those blind people with jobs are Braille readers, but women who are blind are also subject to the gender based pay gap. I would earn 50 to 75 cents out of every 1 dollar, whole dollar, that my fiance would earn. I won’t have this happen to me, and even if I ask for a raise, I would probably have to sleep with males who aren’t my husband. THis could hurt our marriage and relationship down the road.\
  3. What are the consequences of today’s corporate rape culture? For the men, it should be the high profile headlines like Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein, and others being thrown out. Matt Lauer was a Today show host, but because he sexually harassed colleagues at work, he was thrown out. But there are many more Matt Lauers and Harvey Weinsteins out there who expect, not respect, sex with women at work. Though Matt’s and Harvey’s stories brought it to the forefront, I wish this had been addressed earlier. Not only that, but I wish they’d address blind females at job sites being harassed because of blindness. Blind females have a huge consequence that I can’t bear to think of. Pregnancy at work. Can you imagine yourself in my shoes? Blind and pregnant? Because of a boss? I didn’t think so.
  4. Most of the SSI and SSDI rules make marriage impossible, but with Trenton’s affiliation with two Native tribes, we could get better resources, we could possibly together work to build a better future. Not on a reservation, however. The unemployment of reservation residents, especially at Pineridge in South Dakota, according to some church data I collected, is staggering. Try being blind, female, and black (person of color) or a minority racial group, religious group, etc. A Jewish blind female could suffer the same consequence as any other if harassed or forced to have intercourse with bosses who don’t think that their playing around, their sweaty fumbling as one guy in SVU once said, could lead to eighteen long and hard years of responsibility. I would never want my boss to be the father of children that I, Beth, would be forced to carry, raise, and or adopt out because if Trenton finds out a colleague in the upper office rank slept with me, the consequences would be damning.
  5. For females who are harassed in any way whether it be school or work, when the assault is done, the damage is done. I have been called slut before, and it hurts. Imagine if a boss violated me and nobody believed me and instead called me names, wanted nothing to do with me, and took things from me like friendship, relationships, and so on. This is unacceptable, and my body is as valuable as anyone else’s, and is not a vessel for someone to throw their broadsword into. That’s what my friend Tim calls the man’s body member. A woman’s body should be respected, and when I say no, I mean those two letters, n, o. Nothing more nothing less. I mean, leave me alone, don’t touch me, don’t advance on me, do not sleep with me, do not get me pregnant. Don’t upset my relationship with Trenton. No means no, and all those other things are important.

I have many profiles of persons both male and female on Facebook who work and are blind, but they come across access barriers at work. There are some who are expected to log visual information, use a visual software that can’t be rendered by a screen reader, and sometimes these ladies have no way to do proper clerical work. Clerical work requires you to read emails, collect data, etc. Oh well.

I have seen blind men at work. All but one of these blind men at work have shown their true colors. Maybe even two. I’ve got a few blind friends who work, but most of them work in sheltered places. Some of these guys are entitled, others have committed predatory acts in the past. See a medium post I wrote, and I was going to reprint the blind sex offender post, but I want to make a reference to that post.

Now, what is the punishment for sexually violating blind girls? The answer should be, jailtime, not just probation. One man raped a thirteen-year-old girl in Oklahoma, but used his disability to get off easy. This should not be happening.

There are probably many among us who would decry the presence of all sex offenders, but those who’ve committed sick sexual offenses against blind disabled females, or otherwise known as females with any type of disability, they should be in jail for a few if not ten years. They should have probation, a restraining order that prevents them from contacting their victims, or finding more potential victims, and this goes for all male sex offenders. The sexual offense battlefield is 90% male, 10% female. I for one am not one to assault a child, and I would never touch a child because sex between an adult and a child is considered abuse, and yes, it is abuse. I wouldn’t dare.

As for males who think it okay to say that there are no sexually aggressive females, there are. Sexually aggressive females are rising up, not in response to man, but in response to their inner wiring. Same thing with guys, they feel they can do deviant acts because of a choice they make based on wiring.

One such lives in Arizona, I’m redacting her name for those guys who think they can say she’s a dream. She’s not.

I’ve seen what she’s capable of, the things she says about the LGBTQIA community, and the worst thing she ever said was something to try and get someone she stalked to have her for breakfast. She might have had a brain tumor at twelve that took away her sight, but the brain tumor is not an excuse for her behavior. She must receive one on one and family therapy, treatments to prevent deviant sex acts, and stay away from guys.

And she certainly can’t go to work, not even with her loads and piles of money.

But what I’m nervous about is Social Security Administration taking away Trenton’s and my payments, and we have an audit to do on Tuesday, and they want to review whether I’m healthy enough for work. It’s not a question of health, rather it is a question of social status as to whether I can work or not. I won’t be able to do job training, work related programs, etc., and Trenton certainly will have to do something in order to get us a home. A house, a town home, a whatever, is the only way we can have the future we deserve. But SSI rules prevent us from getting legally married, so we won’t be doing it legally. Tim understands this, though he works. He and my friend Jessie are probably the best two blind guys who work, have good standing in the world, and do crazy stuff that makes all of us happy.

How many females work along with their male colleagues?

Not many. I hope the SSA does not take away mine and Trenton’s paycheck because we won’t be able to get a paycheck or food or anything if we don’t have payments.

Beth

P.S. For those who are pro guardianship, refrain from commenting. If we lose our SSI payments, I and he won’t be able to live on our own. Meaning, Trenton and myself, that is.

Open Letter on a Little Known Problem

Dear Ms. Prout,

Yes, I’m writing a letter to a very courageous survivor, dynamite future lawyer and prosecutor in the courtroom. Who couldn’t forget the name, Chessie Prout? I’d like to first of all say that I’m in the middle of poring over your book, and I’m loving it. I love the fact that someone took down at least one predator in the world, and even more so, the guy has to be a registered sex offender. Even more so, I’ve almost become victim but came out on top because, well, how do I say it? I studied lots of cases of sexual assault, and rape, whatever you want to call it. I support the rape survivors, not so much because I am or was one or because I’m not one, but because this is a huge problem. It’s not just a general thing either.

I’d like to throw your attention to a few blog posts I’ve made about how unsafe college campuses might become under the new Donald Trump administration, and I bet they have. Rape culture is permeated in the St. Teresa’s Catholic School dress code, not just that but sex preferences or sexism culture as well.

I’ve done some thinking back, and believe you me, Chessie, the culture of my Catholic school was sexist in its obvious choice of dress code policy. Girls had to be modest, wear pinnafore jumpers in the younger grades, then these ugly skirt things in the upper grades. But that wasn’t all. Boys got pants, and up until my seventh grade year, girls had their thighs hanging out with these knee length primitive looking plaid skirts we had to wear. Girls had to dress like girls to Mass every Friday, no questions, except when the girls got pants, I started wearing those in the winter. Boys had these short shorts, and it’s just not stopping there. They had to cut their hair short, no jewels worn, except a Catholic cross. While I understand you went to Catholic school, I see differences in the boys and girls stuff they wore at STS (St. Teresa’s School) as a sign that they prefer boys over girls, or they stressed a sexist view of girls’ wardrobes. A better dress code would have been something like this:

All students must wear the prescribed uniform which could mean something like a pair of plaid pants for all grades and a polo shirt with the emblem on it. Fine. Gym clothes would be a nonissue. No conservative dress for girls would be prefered, and even worse, girls would be allowed big hoop earrings, except during phys ed. Of course.

Why not drop the plaid uniform and instead insist on blue and white for shirts, and all that. But clothes don’t make the man or woman, right? And they’re just the surface of rape culture in the United States.

Another rule STS should have probably thrown in their handbook would say something like this: This school does not permit sexual violence, harassment, rape, etc., not even based on what a girl a wearing at all. Sex without consent is sex without responsibility. That’s what my old pastor would have said.

But that’s not all. Imagine if my high school had gotten a hold of a rule like this, and went further and taught boys how not to rape. This should be done in health classes all over the States. WHile you did attend great schools, not all the schools in the U.S. are half as bad as St. Paul’s was. I read the book, and I admire your strength and courage and sacrifice to come forward.

It reminds me of a sheriff, Donna Matoon, who worked in Toole County Montana, who instead of taking the easy way out and saying, “Oh, just a bunch of collies in cages, I’ll let the breeder go,” she did the right thing. She arrested the people who hurt 180 collies in Great Falls. It takes courage to come forward and report any crime, which includes everything from robbery to sexual assault to puppymilling and animal cruelty. I love animals, so the thought of mistreated dogs in a cage bothers me a bunch.

Chessie, I want to point now to a problem that you might want to address. Blind females might not be on your mind right now, but I want to tell you that I have been indirectly the witness of several sexual assaults by a disabled man in two different situations. Once, there was a blind man who had nineteen different heart problems who went and assaulted my girlfriend Bree. I heard her story, and I want her to come forward one day.

HEre’s a figure you might not have thought of: 80% of blind females are prone to rape by either friends or family members. I would say that number goes up by 10% when you look at the number of blind and handicapped women who are victims or witnesses to sexual assault. Sex abuse is not a fun topic for me or anyone to discuss, but I’m a fervent supporter of the survivors of such. Bree is one such, and she deserves our backing. Like your attacker, the guy who attacked Bree lied and lied and lied. Believe me, learning about this stuff has taught me to read people’s words, patterns you might say.

A bit about me. I’m a blind woman who lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, sort of, and I love Denver’s openness and honesty and the way things are hammering out. I’ve been blind since birth, and have adapted to blindness pretty well for myself you might say. Questions people ask me are things like “Can you open your eyes?” “How do you do this or that?” One guy had a lighthearted question answer to the thought of how do you have sex. He just laughed and answered, “Like everybody else.”

Chessie, I may not know you personally, don’t think I’m trying to be weird. Well, we’re all weird. But after reading your book, I feel called to action. And here’s what needs to happen.

  1. Females with disabilities should be acknowledged and trusted during a rape case.
  2. It’s always going to be the attacker’s fault, and when I confront those who tell me that they assaulted females with disabilities, I’m going to demand why. Then go further. Chop them into pieces, with words of course. I’ll say, and you thought this lady’s body was not valued because she was handicapped? Oh my God.
  3. Females with disabilities will get their day in court so they can confront their attackers as you had to do your own. Every lawyer should realize that just because I have a disability does not make it okay for men and boys to assault me or the rest of my disabled friends. Just because I may be blind, deaf, in a wheelchair, God knows, that doesn’t mean I am not able to have a stable and loving relationship with a partner. Even after an attack.
  4. Females and males with disabilities should be valued. Just as you felt devalued, you know you are valued yourself. I support your efforts on the general public’s behalf, but boarding schools for blind and disabled people have had rape by staff to dumbfounded students before. You should read some books I’ll recommend at the bottom of this entry.

Chessie, I have read books on the matter of blindness and such. I’ve come to the conclusion though while observing my friends and their relationship habits, their family issues, etc., and all that lies within, that they could have targets on their backs worse than what you had. Imagine yourself blind and in a boarding school, not necessarily the one you attended, but a state school for the blind. There have been rapes and sexual assaults in the 1980s and 1990s at St. Augustine’s Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. The students affectionately call it “The D&B”. While I never went there for school, I came to realize why the blind school model can be so harmful.

For one, staff and other students can assault blind females, whose bodies are seen as the lowest of the low according to the boys and or the male staff. Even boys are fair game. My friends have told me stories of their families asking, “Did anyone touch you the wrong way?” I tell you, Chessie, I read all this in a book called Walking Alone and Marching Together, and it didn’t just cover the assault problem. Two girls died in 1989 at the D&B. Since then, I’m proud to say that some of the students say things changed. Vaill Hall, where the Multihandicapped kids stayed, might have gotten a makeover. But I think the whole blindness school system needed a makeover from the start. Sexual assault on campuses is a real problem, especially for colored blind females. Those classified as African American and totally blind in my observations have more targets on their backs.

Blind people are the most feared by society, but I don’t want people to fear me. Chessie, if I met you on the road, I’d have to tell you personally, and this is serious, that I’m not afraid to speak my mind. I think you would be new to the blind thing, but trust me. You’d get used to it. Yeah, I’ve had to overcome some fears before, but trust me.

Think of it this way. I’m blind. My friends survived unimaginable trauma. I had my own. But hearing the conversations about sexual assault in the campus communities brought to light what could have been my fate at the D&B Boarding school in St. Augustine. My mother had no care in the world whether I liked it or not. She kept threatening to ship me off to blind school, but even public school would have no place.

No place for blind women. Blind people are 80% unemployed, disproportionately higher than the national average. And compounding the stuff that society refuses to talk about, sexual assault, we have a huge problem.

Chessie, I told my story to some people. But now I want to tell you who I am, what’s special about me, my strengths and weaknesses, and you be the judge. Am I valuable?

I have played piano since I was 2 years old. No kidding, I’m not joking. I’ve had many honors and awards, All State Florida musician for twice in a row, and even more, I’ve gotten superiors at Florida Bandmasters Association Solo competitions. Three years. I am smart, love to read, and love animals, and sometimes I think animals are better friends than some people.

Mind you, cats are good at reading things. Dogs are great too, but if I had a guide dog I’d have one hell of a best friend. A best friend like that wouldn’t tell me she isn’t gonna guide me because my hair looked like Ramen noodles or something.

Now, if this doesn’t scream person with a soul, I don’t know what does. When any survivor comes forward, it’s hard. I should tell you that the creepy guy that attacked my friend also begged me for oral, and I remember it vividly. I couldn’t have gone forward because it was across state lines, no DNA, no real evidence. This guy, I don’t want to write his name down at all, though I have in the past, this guy had Borat playing on his desktop, the raciest comedy ever. I remember nothing of the lights, but I do remember this guy and me, my head down. He wanted control, and even when I got home from visiting this creep in Georgia, we had no stability, no love, nothing. He made awful sexual jokes about me, almost to the calliber of a sex assault. He made all my honors, awards, brains, etc., into a trash pit where he could try to inject his toxic crap into. Well, never works, does it?

He’s read this blog, but this guy won’t ever talk to me again because, to tell the truth, I blocked him on everything. As I type this, a siren and firetruck has sounded outside my window. Someone must’ve died or gotten bit or something weird. Always happens this way.

I live in the stacks, the highrise building apartment I share with my loving fiance, who’s been incredibly supportive throughout this time of need. I’m a relatively happy woman, but it just makes me sick to know that nobody talks about females who have disabilities being assaulted by friends or male relatives, juveniles of all things as well.

I hope we can someday soon get to know one another, maybe even partner because believe me, four hands on the keys would make me sing. I would love a duet partner myself, and one day I’d like to produce music and perform some. Who knows. My life’s been torn apart partially because of the abuse I suffered at the hands of El Creepo, if I should call him that.

Anyway, thank you for your incredible memoir. Your incredible story has inspired me, moved me, and lit something underneath that fire that might make any attacker’s head explode.

You go get ’em, Chessie, and I hope you find this blog enlightening and … yes, we’re both going to move and act and find ways to make the world a safer place for all.

Sincerely,

Beth Taurasi,

Denver, Colorado

Isolation at 19

Dear Readers,

There’s a virus or infection that is attacking our elderly. It’s not really a virus, not a bacterium or a spore. It’s not a real parasite. It’s called isolation, and it’s a weapon of war used by guardianship holders to destroy the person in the room. Here are the symptoms:

Irritability. When I became isolated, could not go anywhere, could not call anyone, I was highly irritable, and my parents wanted medication to stop it. They weren’t truly treating the root of the problem, just the side effect of their cruelty.

Anger. I was so angry, I became incoherent. I would cry easily, become depressed, was not able to understand today’s current music.

Loss of abilities and cognition. My parents might have lied about this one. Seniors who are isolated face dementia symptoms made ten million times worse from isolation and nursing home abuse.

Suicidal thoughts or ideations. I really wanted my own father to die so that the guardianship would be erased, and because he was being abusive, in my stunted mind, I was ready to throw any thing at him. My parents tried antidepressants to stop the anger and irritability and it only led to violence. I unfortunately was repeatedly told that nobody loved or wanted to be with me, which made me, the isolated 19-year-old me, even worses off.

How do you treat isolation?

The solutions are siimple but complicated.

1. Tell your elder or aging parent you love them. Allow them to socialize with their friends, whoever they want to see if possible. Be reasonable.

2. For younger disabled adults, let them go. Let them find meaning in their lives, a love that will last, and their own lives and families.

3. For elders, never put them in care/rest homes or nursing facilities period. There is no room for one more abuse victim in the inn of shame and disgrace of elders who are ixty, eighty, even a hundred or older.

While I was a victim of isolation, I had little to no friends, only Orien Henry was on my mind, and then there was Melissa. My mother refused to accept Melissa, and how she turned against me I will never know. But the issolation seriously put me in no place to stay with my family. I should’ve known this was happening to me, told the cops I was being isolated, and told them to tell my parents off for being abusive. One day, I could have a target on my shirt because of not only blindness, but elder age, deafness, perhaps diabetes, lack of ability to walk, whatever the case. I have a rule for anyone who thinks it’s okay to abuse elders: keep your hands off your aged loved ones. Keep the caretakers away from your elder parent if you feel they can’t be trusted. Granny/nanny cams should be used in situations to save your loved one’s life.

As for a younger adult with disabilities, you should know better than to isolate and drug your family member. If you’re gonna do that, just leave them in the care of a friend they trust, and it’s not about you anymore. When they become eighteen years of age, it’s them, not you who should have a life full of love, meaning, and romance. I am going to one day be the voice that speaks louder than the Austrians yodeling on a mountain so high. You won’t hear me cry out like that though, you’ll hear these words, and only these words: stop the isolation, violence, and abuse. If you’re a lawyer and you’re reading this, you should know. There are twenty things seniors go through when they’re isolated. And I will do a follow up to this post on Medium so that you guys can read the article on Web MD.

Thank you for reading.

Beth

Letter to Rosemary Mahoney, Concerning Fear of Blind People and Blindness, My Life Story, and how it lines up.

Dear Ms. Mahoney,

I read your book For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind, and you’ve gone further than sighted people in trying to decode the fear of blindness. I am most notably proud of your work in Tibet and other countries that don’t value blind people. Blind individuals in those countries should be reading, writing, and living and loving with their disability, but violence, government corruption, and gender favoritism prevents and precludes all that. Even here in the United States, blindness being a low incidence disability is still feared. Here’s how my life as a blind woman is here in the United States.

Currently, I have no employment, and DVR Colorado (Division of Vocational Rehabilitation) or commission for the blind as some like to call it is a joke. It was a joke for a long time, and though things changed, I highly doubt they will change for the better. DVR forced me to visit Dr. David Benson, a psychologist from Colorado Springs, who was in the Anthem Building. An assistant gave me a battery of memory tests and bullshit like that, but Benson’s comments were highly inappropriate because a. I was studying Islam and hence wearing hijab in the office, causing him to think that I was “pretending to be Arab”; and B. He made brazen statements pointing to child marriage, though this is a hot button topic. It was all inappropriate and racist, and it didn’t help matters that I was blind, and he said I couldn’t do social work. I placed a complaint on his license from the Department of Regulatory Affairs in Colorado or should I say Agencies? Okay. After this complaint, I tried to pursue work, and was bogged by those comments. Why would a bigot even be allowed to test or evaluate people in any way? Why should he? He was not only an Islamophobe, he was a … should we pen the word blindophobe? I don’t think he cares enough about his job, and blindness means instability to these entitled assholes like the doctor I described.

So begins the next chapter of my messed up life. I met and moved in with a blind man, but did you know that this blind man was black? Oh, I’m not sure you did. I am being pestered to going to DVR for job placement, but this job placement could slot me at the bottom forever, and the job would mean no upward mobility. MOst blind folks who work in the U.S. don’t work in meaningful employment because of their state rehab services, and are sheltered in workshops that pay pennies per hour. Goodwill is an example. This is why I want nothing to do with work, and nothing to do with any business outfit that claims to prep blind people for work because it’s all a joke. It’s nothing but a joke, and … just imagine, not talking politely about subjects you enjoy, not allowing you to converse with anyone of the opposite sex, whatever else you can think of. Any job site could also be a risk of workplace sexual harassment, especially for blind women. As a blind woman, I’ve watched the news, and I blog because there’s nothing in my life worth doing except for the music I wish I could write. But nobody supports blind entrepreneurs here in the States.

In any case, my blind fiance and I are also going to have a pretty empty wedding guest list too. We cannot go on a honeymoon, nor can we celebrate properly with family and friends. So called friends say that we’re not worthy of their attendance at our wedding, and honestly, these people have some sight, but I bet the total blindness, the slut comments I’ve had spewed about me, and the words and names I’ve been called have something to do with it. This wedding should be a time of celebration, of love, of family and real friends, but in the blind world in America, there’s no friends. Only followers, people you get to know via social media. Our lives may not be as bad as those of your students in India, Tibet, and other developing nations, but the developed world should not be this far behind. Blind people should not be a microcosm of high school for the sighted, it should be a jewel on the community’s crown, should we decide to even wear the crown of pride in our work.

The average blind person, including myself, makes way under $1000, I was lucky enough to get my full check this month and such, and about 75 to 80% are un or under employed. Underserved would be another way to put it. While your students may contribute to the economy of the countries they eventually take root in, it is highly unlikely that any blind American reading this will get up, find your books, and believe in themselves. We as a society refuse to hire any blind people, and even ask irrelevant questions to throw them off which is illegal. I should go to job interviews determined that I will get a job position, but like my friends Clayton Jacobs, Blake Tucker, Trenton (my fiance btw), and even Jason Milyo and Josh Kennedy, there might even be a Barbie Roberts and Ken Roberts in there somewhere, but like this list of persons I know and love, I could be rejected too many times and age away from work. No job, no way to finance a family, and partially due to parental guardianship abuse too. Did you know that 80% of blind females in the U.S. have been direct witnesses or victims of sex abuse or assault? Such things occur I’m sure a lot more in India, China, Tibet, etc. Think about it.

As a result of this, people have skewed opinions and fears about female action and blindness. Females who are blind are seen as goddesses of sex, but for the greater society, having sex with a virgin does not cure AIDS, a myth that Africans hold. I don’t get this. My parents got their guardianship to protect me from not just one man, but to prevent me from being in the public eye, to isolate me, drug me, abuse their power with me, and possibly murder. There was the tragedy of Kelly Marie Bond, who died as a result of what my friend Lacey suspects is murder by her own family for being disabled, and Lacey had little time to express that. Kelly’s sister Emily didn’t even sound like she mourned her sister’s death, in fact the girl sounded like she just got a bouquet of roses at prom from a sweetheart. It was an unacceptable response to the murder of a disabled family member.

To prevent tragedies like Kelly’s, I’ve thought of creating a group for it, but no, nobody’s interested. I think it’s important that people be interested in the welfare of their own people, including me, without name calling. This is common with sighted women and girls. Girls are called slut in high school, but I was called that as an adult, and was called a bitch. I don’t care who did it, I swore at my counselor and said it wouldn’t happen again.

Blind women here in the U.S. are feared as much as if not more than your students in India or China or Tibet because we’re low incidence. Blind women should be examples for sighted women, but alas, we’re not.

I’d like to honestly say your piece I saw lately on wordpress was a treasure. Fear of blindness leads to lives like mine, suffered at the hands of bigots, and I honestly am exposing every little bigoted lie I’ve been told about myself and other blind women, whether we worship God, Allah, or Buddha. I don’t care. We’re women, members of the human body, and we should be respected. I am just one of over a million females with disabilities who has to deal with sexual assault whether from friends, done to friends, or done to themselves. I am one of about 90% of guardianship abuse cases that ends in isolation, abuse, and denial of rights because of blindness. I am one of only 2% perhaps that escaped guardianship, went to live in Colorado, and now has to tough it out on SSI because the job market has me at a statistic, 75% or more unemployed.

I am also one of 10% of blind adults and children combined who know Braille, which for 90% of Braille literate adults should have led to employment, but most employed blind are male. Most of these employed males who are blind show signs of entitlement over those who aren’t, and if you read my FB page, some of the males I’ve known on there ridicule me for all they want to, thinking it okay to do so. I wouldn’t work for half of them, but those who don’t forget where they come from are usually a lot nicer.

I know some males who work who aren’t entitled, but usually it’s those who do the DVR thing that feel like we females are fair game.

Anyway, take my life story seriously. Fear of the blind is not only in the developed world, but in the states as well.

Sincerely,

Beth Taurasi,

Denver, Colorado

How should we change the way we serve disabled customers?

Dear Readers,

In light of the recent snafu over the #strawban, I’d like to bring to light the ableism in society and the double standard that must be quelled for women and girls.

For starters, straws made of plastic help all forms of disabled folks. Imagine if my Nanna Taurasi was at IHOP with myself and Trenton. Mary Taurasi died years ago of pneumonia, but if she were a living soul during this so called #strawban, I’d have to say out loud, “Give Nanna a straw.” She would have to drink from either this or a water bottle with a plastic tete, and so would her late husband, Jim. Now, I caught this old guy at IHOP today with a tracheotomy in his throat. Probably from years of tobacco use, but even he needs a straw.

I would not mind if my grandma on either side was with us, but for the sake of physical exertion, I would have to say, “Give Grammy a straw!” Even if we were in California, where this ban is being implemented, Grammy (Marie Taurasi) might have needed a plastic straw. Saves me a little tremor or nerve picking up cups. While I can drink like a so called “big girl”, I joke with myself about this all the time, a straw is a definite yes for me not because of blindness, not because of physical disability, but because I just feel that the look of a soda is just as important as drinking it. Without straws, where’s the love a soda gets? Paper straws can rip easily. Plastic ones can do better.

Now, besides straws, let’s move on.

Women and workplace harassment have not always been working in tandem. One o the reasons I don’t work is because precisely of workplace harassment, whether by a boss or fellow coworker, I don’t want it, don’t wanna be shunned for sexual purposes, or have value placed on a hymen, which I repeat is not, not, not an important part of the body. It is nothing more than a piece of skin. That’s it.

As a woman, I feel that working for a male boss could put me at odds with myself, lead to whoredom, or worse, pregnancy by my boss, which should never, never happen. Trenton should be the father of my children, not a supervisor on the call center floor. Therefore, it is better for now that we simply do not work. And we can’t report the kids to social security either. Forget that.

SSI should not be the end all be all of a blind person’s life, but the stigma is still there. Writer Rosemary Mahoney writes candidly about even the developing world’s blind being abandoned, beaten, abused, etc. Africans often confiscate the land of blind people and their families, which is not fair. Therefore, the stigma is there in the world.

Talk about curing stigma for mental health. We need to cure stigma for all other disabilities, including but especially blindness. We need people in the developing world to quit trashing the blind folks, and start caring because blindness will not go away as a characteristic that some people must adapt to in everyday life. Thank you, Ms. Mahoney, for writing so eloquently about blindness. And that’s why we must, as a community, stop being a microcosm of the sighted and start being a jewel on the world crown.

For the women who are blind, we must be respected, not touched, no sexual advances anywhere. I have a soon to be husband, practically a mate for life, and I won’t allow a floor man to have my baby with me, and I want no child with anyone but the man I want.

Thank you all for reading. As for the #strawban, restaurant chains should take note that us losing plastic durable disposable straws will mean elderly customers aren’t welcome. Think if Mary Taurasi was still alive, or Rose Gravina, or any of my now dead relatives. In their golden years, I bet they used straws to drink, so that #strawban should be thrown out for good.

Beth