Just Stimming…

A land we can share (a place I can map)

Please, Please Believe Me

with 6 comments

My attempt to start a letter-writing campaign on behalf of this teenage boy abused for being autistic appears to have failed, so I am trying a different tack. Below you will find the text of the letter I wrote for him. If you can, please help me disseminate this far and wide in the hopes that it will reach him, and anyone else in a similar position. Add your own kind words, experiences, and links to or quotes from disability pride resources. If this picks up enough steam, I would like to start a blog exclusively for this project.

Some resources to start:

You Get Proud by Practicing by Laura Hershey

Disability Shame Speaks by Laura Minges (make sure to follow the “next part!” links at the bottom: it’s a total of four pages and very, very good.)

Speech (without a title) by…me

The Letter:

Hi.

My name is Julia Bascom. You don’t know me, and I don’t know your name. I read an article about an assault you endured at your school though, and I want you to know that you are not alone.

I’m Autistic too. There are millions of us just like you who have been bullied and abused too. It’s wrong, it’s horrible, it’s unfair and unacceptable and none of us, especially you, deserved it. And you are not alone.

I was sexually abused by my classmates every day in Earth Science in ninth grade while my teacher stood two feet away. No one believed me. No one stopped it. Everyone laughed. But here’s what some very wise people said to me, later: just because no one believes you doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Just because they laughed doesn’t mean it was funny. Just because they said you deserved it doesn’t mean you did.

Please, please believe me.

I’m sure you’ve been told it wasn’t a big deal. It was. It’s a huge deal. Don’t doubt that for a second. It was wrong. They are in the wrong. None of this, absolutely none of this, is your fault. They are the ones who need to work on their social skills. They are the ones who lack some basic empathy.

I can’t fix what happened to you, or to me, or to any of the people I know. It’s painful and humiliating and makes a person feel wrong and bad and powerless. Please trust me when I say that you are none of those things. You are not bad or broken. You are autistic, and you are also fine.

You deserve to be treated like a human being. You deserve kindness and respect and dignity. Someday, you will have those things.

I am fighting for that. My friends at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (http://www.autisticadvocacy.org/) are fighting for that. Even the President is on our side—he made a speech in March for a conference I attended that stressed that bullying and abuse are civil rights violations. We’re gonna win this. But right now, you just need to remember that you are fine. There is nothing wrong with you. All the bullies and abusers in the world can’t change that.

You can write back to me if you want to, or email me at juststimming@gmail.com. You absolutely don’t have to. But there is a whole community of us out there who want to help, and who are sickened and outraged every time this happens, and who will always support you and have your back.

You are not alone.

Written by Julia

August 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I don’t know what kind of links would be the most appropriates…. well, let’s try to put some here:
    …Sorry, I just begon my search, and I have found too many posts already… and of course by searching blog by blog mainly…
    You have no obligation to check each one… I’m not sure they all qualify… (I’m not sure also I have understood what kind of help you asked for… maybe it wasn’t about finding other posts about disability rights and pride but writing something by myself, if this is the case I’ll try to prepare something)… when I will have found more, I’ll go back here and make a selection of which posts seems really appropriates
    http://www.mouthmag.com/bridgebaby.htm
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/empathizing/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/distance-underthought/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/regarding-neli-latson/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/if-only-oh-if-only/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/if-we-were-real-people/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/my-sort-of-people-just-as-real-as-theirs/
    http://labracknell.blogspot.com/2009/05/chestnuts-roasting-on-open-fire.html
    http://davehingsburger.blogspot.com/2009/10/your-daughter.html
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/breathtaking-to-behold-talking-back-to-dismissal/
    http://aspergersquare8.blogspot.com/2009/07/i-repeat-myself.html
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2008/11/27/an-antidote-to-x-ing/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2008/10/11/people-can-be-a-bit-like-water/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/michelle-dawson-won-her-human-rights-case/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/about-this-cant-defend-themselves-stuff/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2008/07/26/how-did-you-figure-out-that-this-was-a-pattern-and-what-made-you-realize-it/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2008/05/24/students-vote-boy-out-of-class/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2008/01/02/this-post-is-mainly-for-two-sorts-of-people/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2007/10/08/the-consequences-of-bullying/
    http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2006/09/29/lifes-infinite-richness/
    http://davehingsburger.blogspot.com/2009/11/shhhh-revolution-in-progress.html
    http://davehingsburger.blogspot.com/2009/03/tears.html
    http://davehingsburger.blogspot.com/2008/04/hand-went-up.html
    http://www.normemma.com/advocacy/areut_frazee02.htm
    http://blog.cripchick.com/archives/7037

    Yes I will return and make a selection in all of this… I don’t know if there are other ways I can help ?

    humainsvolants

    August 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    • I haven’t had time to check all those links (and won’t until probably Saturday at the earliest, this week is hectic) but they all seem to be from very good, reliable sites. Thank you for the resources! I am hoping to start a secondary/independent blog for autistic survivors of bullying and abuse (aka nearly all of us), so any contributions or ideas, be they your own or links, are appreciated.

      Julia

      August 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      • I had wanted to write a letter too, but got bogged down with trying to find where to send it. This approach is something I hadn’t thought of–good idea! Now I am tempted to write more or less an open letter (with a link back here), in hopes that even if this kid won’t see it, *somebody* who needs it might.

        That also looks like a good collection of links.

        I look forward to the blog, when/if you start it. Sounds like a much-needed resource–both for people dealing with that crap now, and for those who are still dealing with the PTSD from it. If I am able to contribute anything cogent, I’d like to.

        urocyon

        September 14, 2011 at 12:58 am

  2. […] are trying to get together an autistic version of It Gets Better. (Started it off, though, IIRC: Please, Please Believe Me. I was also trying to find where to send something, in that particular case.) Just like with the […]

  3. […] Please, Please Believe Me […]

  4. […] have to live through thirty years of hell before coming to understand that they are, to borrow Julia Bascom’s words in a letter to an autistic young man who had been abused, “not bad or broken. You are […]


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