Monthly Archives: February 2013

Defined by Love…not Disability

I’ve seen a blind woman, here where I live, with her young teenage daughter. This particular day, they were getting off of a public bus. The mother got off first, into a crowd of people waiting to get on. Before I saw her…I saw her red tipped walking stick. When they got off the bus, I was staring. Her daughter made immediate eye contact with me. I have never felt so shamed by a child’s “look”. I wanted to make my way over to her and explain; my stare was one of admiration! She reminded me of my own daughter, and how she helps me.

To listen to their story on NPR Storycorp, click the link below:



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Filed under MS and Family

Domestic Violence and Disabilities

In 1986 I found myself in an abusive relationship. I had become one, of the one billion.



Playwright Eve Ensler’s Vday Movement has raised over 90 million dollars to stop violence against women and girls worldwide.

Vday is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. Vday generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.

Well once again, I’m in!

Vagina Monologue Cast 2009, Bethlehem, PA

Vagina Monologue Cast 2009, Bethlehem, PA

This year is the most ambitious campaign to date: One Billion Rising.




On Vday’s 15th Anniversary, 14 February 2013, we are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. Vday wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, and our solidarity across borders. In this movement, Eve even includes those who are mobility compromised! See video to learn dance “Break the Chain”:

In 1986 I found myself in an abusive relationship. I had become one, of the one billion. This is why I participate in Eve’s Vday Movement. If my presence, my voice, my face, can help just ONE girl, then I’m in.

Performing a Vday Monologue 2010, Artsquest, Bethlehem, PA

Performing a Vday Monologue 2010, Artsquest, Bethlehem, PA

The numbers among people with disabilities is even higher. Often times, the person they target is in some way disabled, giving the abuser a false sense of empowerment simply because they are picking on someone who can’t protect themselves or fight back. If you ask me…THAT is a sign of weakness.

People who abuse are looking for power!

I can tell you firsthand:

1. It could never be your fault. The mind of an abuser is broken, and no matter how hard you try…you can’t fix it.
2. There will always be a, next time.
3. You can count on family, a friend, a friend of a friend or a coworker to help you be safe and ultimately, leave. I did.
4. Being able to get out may take some planning but, once you realize that the first three things I’ve said are true…get busy.

This may take more than one attempt. DO NOT give up on yourself!

Having said that, I realize EVERY situation is different and usually, complicated. Each person must make the BEST decision for themselves at the time. Disability complicates things to the tenth degree. Abuse can include depriving women of medication and routine care. It can include total isolation from friends and family members. It can include sexual abuse, ranging from rape to forced sterilization. These patterns of abuse almost always involve imposed control and the use of coercion and threats; physical violence does not have to be present for a relationship to be abusive.

Outreach is critical; those of us who are able to, listen, check on, care for or shelter a victim, must look closely at our disabled loved ones and friends. Ask questions when concerned. Everybody might not be able to help all of the time, but, the one time you can, will surely make a difference in a victims life; maybe even save it. Let’s not forget about our male victims. This abuse is hardly one sex fits all.

Remember, abuse is about power.
You can take yours back!

Performing a Monologue for Vday 2010, Bethlehem, PA

Performing a Monologue for Vday 2010, Bethlehem, PA

I am including some links under “Domestic Violence and Disabilities”that I think contain VERY pertinent information. I hope they are helpful.



Filed under Domestic Violence and Disabilities, MS and Domestic Violence