I wrote a post a while back about writing characters with disabilities. I said that in real life, disabled folks experience social violence regularly. In order to write realistic disabled characters, it’s important to write in social violence (and not blame it on the disability).
I didn’t include many examples though, which probably made the post more or less useless for people who don’t already know about such things
So here’s some kinds of social violence that are common for people with various disabilities:
Being asked invasive personal questions:
- Detailed questions about their medical history
- Questions like “What happened?” or “Why are you like that?”
- Questions about how they have sex
- Questions about how they use the bathroom
- Unsolicited medical advice, often ridiculous (eg: “Have you tried veganism?”
- Unsolicited and invasive prayers. Insinuating that they’d be cured if they had more faith
Not being believed:
- Many wheelchair users can stand or walk a few steps. They’re often seen as faking their need for a wheelchair when they do
- Some people like to test to see if people are blind by getting in their faces or doing inappropriate things in front of them
- People try to trick AAC users by asking complicated questions in hope of tripping them up and proving that they’re not really communicating
- Being told they’re just fat and if they’d lose weight they wouldn’t be disabled anymore
- “You’re too young to need a cane”
- Being told that something can’t really be a seizure trigger because it’s not flashing lights
- Being called the r-word implicitly or explicitly (happens to most people who are perceived as disabled, not just people with downs syndrome or other conditions that tend to cause intellectual disability)
- Being told they’re a burden on society
Folks with service dogs:
- People try to pet the dog
- People ask invasive questions about the dog
Being treated like a young child:
- “Where are your parents?”
- “Should you be eating that?”
- “You’re not flying alone, are you?”
There are a lot of other examples. This is not an exhaustive list.
Being told you can’t consider yourself disabled because some people have it so much worse than you, so you’re not really disabled since you can do the things you want. Courtesy to the shittiest psychologist on earth.
being told that you don’t need a wheelchair and arm crutches because “but you’ve had surgery and you’ve been walking since you were little!!” and also being told that you don’t have a disability.
“but you dont look disabled”
- Being doubted and perceived as spoiled or wanting to take advantage of people because they can’t see the barriers you’re facing.
- Being perceived as rude or ungrateful when people offer you help you don’t need and refuse.
- People telling you it’s all in your head and that all you need to do is change your attitude to be healthy.
- People using ableist language and describing you and your body as broken, inferior, defected or unworthy.
Not to mention actions speak louder than words! People staring at your walking stick or refusing to move from priority seating.