Let’s talk about disability hate crime. According to a report published by the Home Office, from 2018 – 2019 disability hate crime rose by 14% to over eight thousand reported cases. We should remember however that these are only the cases that are reported (important to note, since the actual figure is most likely be higher). It’s tragic that nobody is seemingly talking about this so I wanted to help promote this discussion.
I’ve lived with Cystic Hygroma my whole life, so I’ve grown accustomed to name-callings and whatnot over the years. Personally, I definitely don’t receive abuse every time I go out but it still happens often enough to be notable.
I remember when I was growing up there was one particular incident when I was about thirteen or fourteen and I was at Chessington World of Adventures with my friend and his older brother. I remember there were these kids saying something about me, which didn’t really bother me at the time but I remember my friend’s older brotherJohn (who was an adult) call them out because he was upset by the situation. I didn’t quite understand why he was so upset at the time, as to me it was nothing, merely water off a duck’s back. This is just one of my many examples and in all honesty, when it comes to kids, especially young kids, I am a lot more lenient because a lot of the time kids don’t mean what they say and are easily influenced.
I know lots of disabled people who have been discriminated against, abused verbally and even physically. One example is my friend Paige (who shares her story in the video at the end of this blog post) who was punched in the face. Another example is my friend Atholl who has Cystic Hygroma like myself. He was ridiculed by three women while shopping because of the way he looked. Another recent example from the media is nine-year-old Quaden Bayles who was bullied because of his dwarifism, and subquently wanted to end his life because of it. This is tragic. People with disabilities are human just like everyone else and have real feelings and emotions. We aren’t animals and we aren’t freaks. This isn’t the 1800s where people would watch a freak show to see the Elephant Man, this is 2020 and times need to change, which is why I want to use my voice (figuratively because I got speech impediment) to spread awareness.
Of course, I could just easily say disability hate crime (or hate crime in general), needs to end. But it’s not as easy as that, but what I can do is share my and other people’s stories in the hope that it will educate someone else.
In 2016, I participated in a segment on Channel 4 News called ‘No Go Britain’. Below is a segment that surrounds disability hate crime where I and others discuss our experiences. If you have time, watch the video they as they left the best person till last 😉 (but also listen to other people’s experiences as well). Share this post with friends and family.
P.S.: I want to say in regards to the video… I was young, my fashion has greatly improved since then and I don’t know what on earth I was doing at the start of my part.
Home Office (2020). Hate Crime. [online] Assets.publishing.service.gov.uk. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/839172/hate-crime-1819-hosb2419.pdf [Accessed 26 Feb. 2020].