There Are No “Perks” To Being Bullied.
TW: bullying, abuse, rape, sexual assault, ableism, ABA
For some inexplicable reason, Autism Daily Newscast thought it would be a great idea to publish this article on the “perks” of bullying. Written by an “ABA instructor”, Karen Kabaki-Sisto. The irony of a professional bully writing about the perks of bullying is not lost on those of us at Parenting Autistic Children With Love & Acceptance either.
My trauma is not your teachable moment. My PTSD is not an opportunity for non-Autistic people to “learn” about “autism awareness”. And unlike what the author of this piece said to me on Twitter, it is not about using my “hurt” for strength.
This response from Ms. Kabaki-Sisto is the ultimate in condescension and ablesplaining. The trauma and pain of Autistic people who have been victimized by bullying is not for your inspiration! It’s not for you to use in such disrespectful and dehumanizing ways.
The Ten “Perks” are as follows:
Promoting Autism-Friendly Programs.
First of all, when has this happened? Secondly, if your response to a child being bullied because they are Autistic is to use them for an opportunity to create “awareness” of autism, you are ridiculously misguided. Trust me when I say that bullies are well aware of autism…. they are aware that their Autistic peers are put in restraint and seclusion, are segregated in special education classrooms, are punished for “behaviors” that are harmless and held to unrealistic expectations that their non-Autistic classmates are not. Do you think that could have a bit to do with why they are bullied? When adults “other” us, how do you expect children to respond? Children learn from YOUR example more than your words. What example are Autism Daily Newscast and Karen Kabaki-Sisto giving to bullies about the worth of Autistic lives?
I am dying of not being surprised that this “team” is everyone BUT the Autistic child. Way to empower a child who is being bullied.
Autism Awareness Every Month
The last thing that we need is more “awareness”. Especially when that “awareness” is created by parents, professionals and teachers with absolutely zero input from Autistic people. Awareness hurts. Awareness gets us bullied and killed. Also, how dare you use our pain for your own ends? How dare you?
Kids Learn Skills
Are you god damn kidding me that you are going to use a child’s trauma to push them to use more verbal speech? YOU ARE KIDDING, RIGHT? Behavior is communication and the behavior of Karen Kabaki-Sisto and Autism Daily Newscast is telling me that they are ableist and do not respect actually Autistic people at all.
No. No, it doesn’t. Let me tell you about the “strength” I have when I have a PTSD flashback to the intense and nonstop bullying from my peers as a kid and teen. I am so strong that I will stay in bed all day, crying and desperately trying not to have a panic attack. I am so “strong” that once someone who smelled like my tormenter caused me to run out into traffic and almost get hit by a bus. I am so “strong” that I spent fifteen years of my life fighting addiction and almost losing my life and family in the process.
I am not strong. I’m a human being, not a life lesson. Again, how DARE YOU?
Seriously? Really? Children who have been bullied have an extremely hard time forming mutually trusting and loving friendships. Probably because most adults want to write it off as “kids will be kids” and then professionals such as Ms. Kabaki-Sisto, who work with us write articles about how there are “perks” to our pain and trauma. We end up with loads of internalized ableism and PTSD reactions that can get us killed or sent to jail. Yeah, such a great perk.
FOR WHO? Certainly not for the victims of bullying. Is this a How-To-Guide for retraumatizing victims of bullying? If so, congrats. It worked!
Healthy relationships? Bullying taught me that I had no right to be who I am. Bullying taught me that my authentic, Autistic self was not good enough for anyone so I should accept mistreatment and abuse. Bullying taught me that people can do whatever they want to me and it was okay. Bullying never taught me about healthy relationships. This is outrageously offensive.
Increased Life Skills
“Survival Skills” are something I can do without when it involves surviving dehumanizing abuse and treatment. I did not learn “independence” from being bullied. I learned co-dependence and to not trust anything about who I was. I did not learn to be a better person because I was bullied. In fact, I often took out my frustrations on younger siblings because that is what people did to me. Kids who are bullied usually bully other people. I am a good person now. It’s not because I was bullied and mistreated. Do not dare tell me that the way I was treated, the abuse I endured, the PTSD that I developed made me a better person. How dismissive and condescending.
I can’t even with this. Self esteem? My self esteem has been in the toilet for my entire life. I have people in my life who love and adore me and in those dark moments, I still believe the bad people. The ones who held me down and told me I was a worthless piece of garbage. Who called me the R word, who told me I didn’t deserve to live. My bullies did not help me to have better self esteem. They did the opposite. The people who have helped me to have a better self image are the people who have loved me, respected me, treated me with kindness and compassion and accepted me for exactly who I am. Bullying did NONE of that for me.
This response to bullying and the is ableist, offensive and dangerous. Autistic people do not exist to teach you life lessons about autism. Autistic children are disproportionately abused and bullied and this piece amounts to nothing more than condoning the actions of our abusers.
We deserve better than this.
PLEASE READ MORE RESPONSES TO AUTISM DAILY NEWSCAST AND KAREN KABAKI-SISTO’S DANGEROUS ARTICLE:
Other Responses from the Autistic Community:
***EDITED*** More Responses:
Posted on October 15, 2015, in Parenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.