that myth about the two locked in eternal combat

I am torn constantly between “making my child normal” and letting my child grow into the world.   This “autism” label isn’t helping anyone.  My child can’t tell anyone if he is mistreated.

My handwriting was not very good in 2nd grade – so I was hit on my panties on my bottom, bent over on the teacher’s desk so my skirt rode up, in front of the whole class, with a 1/2 inch thick wooden paddle 3 times while I was told to make my handwriting neater.   No note was sent to my mother because the school had full permission to strike any child with a paddle at any time.  I didn’t feel this was right – but I was a seven year old child – and when I tried to tell adults like I was taught, they told me not to make up stories just because I didn’t like the teacher.

In 4th grade, the science teacher used to ask the girls in the class to sit in his lap often.  He enjoyed picking us up in the air when we wore skirts and he kept a special “gift box” where he’d allow one or two of us to take special gifts now and then – like perfume or lipstick or cheap jewelry.  When I told someone I didn’t feel comfortable about it, I was told he was a Christian Family man and how dare I suggest he would be anything but fatherly in his intentions.

These are just two of many stories I have.  Most say “bullshit” because they cannot imagine things like this.  The ones who have similar stories are like me – so tired of being told we made things up.   So we just shut up about it.  Enough adults tell you you’re lying, you begin to believe it yourself.

And yet, I’m subject to a continuous stream of accusation of abuse, neglect, and violence against my son by those who have no concept what any of those things really are.  I’m the last person to raise a hand against another living soul.  I know what it feels like to be abused – physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually – mild, moderate, and severe.  The things I’ve lived through most people couldn’t fathom in their nightmares.  I have worked in the counselling field as a mandated reporter.  I have been subjected to scrutiny you cannot imagine.  All because a little label called Autism.

I will never see justice for 99% of the injustices I’ve suffered and I have to be okay with that.   I’d be okay with some recognition though.  And some compensation for all the things that should not have been issues – compensation for my time and my health and my sanity.  Compensation for all the things I’ve given up to make my boy fit into your comfort zones.

I’m beginning to realize that Autism has become a “class” to be discriminated against.  Even though it is in the Diagnostic Service Manual, people don’t believe its a “real” diagnosis.  You still think it’s due to parenting.  You still all think if I had just done a better job as a parent he would be normal enough for you.


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Pearl Manhattan

Life interrupted - this space is changing - stay tuned

One thought on “that myth about the two locked in eternal combat”

  1. This breaks my heart! I am so sorry that you were abused by those who were supposed to protect you. I think that is always a fear for parents that their child could be mistreated, but it’s worse for those of us who have a special needs child. Thankfully my son is verbal, but I still worry that he wouldn’t be able to tell me if something was wrong.


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