Victim Blaming and ASD

My second article here! The first one had some great feedback, so Im going to carry on… This one is a little bit different though.

Rather than reflect too much on my past this one is more to do with something I really struggle with comprehending and I have heard more than once in conversations with other people.

Just some background here. Recently I was physically assaulted on the street. The area I live in is in fact rather dangerous and has a high crime rate, a lot of it centred on anti-social behaviour. There are a lot of unoccupied houses here, which are boarded up. There is a security van which the local council pays for to ‘mind’ these houses.

So what happened was, a load of kids were sitting on the back of the van, I knocked on the window to let the security people know about it. 

What happened then was shocking to say the least. This lady got out of the van and I got a tirade of abuse levelled at me for nothing. She tried to snatch my phone from me when i tried to film, made racial comments (she was black and I think from Africa, Nigeria if I had to guess- My former boss was from there and Im good with accents). I called the police as the kids also got involved- it was a mob by the time the police turned up all focussed on me. Nice huh?

This however is not what I want to talk about. I have been involved with the residents association here where I live for my own safety, and there is a whatsapp group for it. I asked on there where I could find this persons employer, and described her as I just have above. BUT included the word asshat. I was distressed and upset, as im sure you can imagine. This was not meant as a racial slur in any way. But was taken as such.

what i didn’t expect was that people focussed on my description of this lady, as opposed to the attack that took place. Ive been as I said in my article, open about my autism, and the comments I had were suggesting in some ways I was to blame for this attack. I immediately apologised for any offence caused, but it was not let go- and I made it clear that in this case, in fact my ethnicity was brought up in the assault. Besides, i made no derogatory comments about her skin colour, that would be racist and unacceptable.

I have since thought about this a lot. it seems to me that in society now, we blame the victims of crimes like this on how they behave and what they say- particularly when it is reported after the fact. I have seen several articles on this in relation to autism, where the person (often a child) with the condition is blamed for being provocative, or causing their own abuse to happen at the hands of others. In fact my own communication problems have led to this before myself- it is as if I am told I bring it on myself, or I was told that ‘I’m my own worst enemy’ and words to that effect.

Now I do think that as vulnerable people with this condition, more needs to be done to prevent this from happening. being assaulted, verbally, physically, or sexually, then being told we are at fault because of our ‘behaviour’ is not acceptable, or we are ‘asking for it’ or ‘bringing it on ourselves’. Far more needs to be done in terms of the law to prevent this kind of behaviour or response.

I was as I said on this whatsapp group and not ready to be reasonable I will admit that. Its called being in shock. They decided to ban me from commenting, rather than provide any emotional support at all. I would stress that my motives for doing what I did were in fact to prevent anti social behaviour, for the good of everyone here. I now feel I should not have bothered if I am going to be held to blame for being abused.

One thing did happen after this- I was told by the area manager of the security company that this woman has been transferred and disciplined. I am thinking of pressing charges but I think I just want to be left alone now.

Anyway. an interesting tale, but to me this shows a wider issue in modern life which affects anyone with a disability like ours. Things are our fault no matter what happens- Well, that needs to change. Id be interested to hear any comments about incidents that have happened to you where you were treated in a similar way. I don’t think this is a one off.

this video I’ve been watching recently really sums it up- play with sound on! kinda describes how I feel about this incident. 

Dr. J Roberts

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