Autistic Reactions to the Murder of Daniel Corby


Some reactions from the online autistic community to the murder of 4-year-old autistic Daniel Corby by his mother.

 

Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg:

All attempts to explain this tragedy hide from view an essential fact about becoming a parent: In having a child, you make a commitment that, even if you end up in the worst extremity, you’ll protect the child’s life. That’s a basic, sacred trust. The child didn’t ask to be born, didn’t ask to be difficult, didn’t ask to be disabled. When people don’t speak to that commitment and that trust, but start talking about how difficult the child was, and how the parents lacked services, I get really scared. Because there will always be people without adequate support. And if people can’t simply say, “I don’t care how bad the parent’s life is. The parent broke a sacred trust with the child and had no right to do so,” I don’t see that there is any protection for disabled people at all. It’s very frightening to me. It means that I live in a society that is nothing short of barbaric.

When a four-year-old child is drowned by his mother, it’s not the time to wonder why she did it. It’s time to condemn that she did, and it’s time to look at how much we devalue disabled life that a mother thought her life would be better with her son dead.

Because the problem isn’t the lack of services. The problem is the devaluation.

 

Lydia Brown:

Yet in the cases of disabled victims, the media does not speak up for the victim. Even when the killers have confessed or when it is obvious who the murderers were, the media pours sympathy onto the murderers. Articles about these cases emphasize how stressed the murderers were with the burden of having a disabled family member. They emphasize how difficult the victim was to live with and how the victim's deficits and challenging behaviors drove the murderer to the edge.
 
In short, society blames the victim and exonerates the perpetrator.
 
This is the same thing as blaming a woman for her rape because she wore a short skirt or had a low neckline on her shirt. It is the same thing as blaming a Sikh man for his assault because he wore a turban. It is the same thing. There is no difference.
 
You don’t know how hard it is to live with autism when your life may be in danger at any moment if a family member or someone decides to abuse or kill you. You don’t know how hard it is to die with autism. …….. and the matter is made worse by the news media tending to repeat the “it’s so hard to live with autism” or “the person was low-functioning,” or wore headphones. Wearing headphones or being afraid of dogs is not an excuse to kill a human being.
 
 

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