(TW: mention of murder)
Today, March 1st, is Disability Day of Mourning (DDoM). DDoM is a day to recognize people with various disabilities around the world who have died by filicide – when a parent/caregiver murders their child/client, especially when the murder is due to the child/client having a disability.
According to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), in the past five years, over 650 people with disabilities, from infants to elderly relatives, have been killed by family members or caregivers. After a study from 2011 to 2015, the Ruderman Family Foundation reported that one person with disabilities was killed by a parent or caregiver each week.
These victims are often not given justice, as the parents/caregivers are pitied for how “difficult” it is having a child with disabilities and how it’s better for the child to “no longer be suffering.” And for the longest time, filicide wasn’t considered a hate crime.
Disabled people weren’t protected under the Federal Hate Crimes Act until 2009—40 years after the original act was signed into law. In 2009, President Obama expanded on the 1969 hate crime law by signing the Matthew Shepard and James Beard Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, which added disability to the list of reasons for why an assault may be classified as a hate crime. However, the hate crime law’s expansion has not been implemented to actually help victims get justice. The way the crime of filicide is discussed, reported, and (by default) excused centers around how burdensome we disabled people are—which is the nicest way the world can say that our lives don’t matter.
Because this topic can be quite heavy, I’m simply going to post my favorite source article, which sums up some more stats, has some click-through links to other important/related disability discussions, and also includes a click-through link to a website that lists all of the confirmed cases of filicide. The original article does mention one case of filicide but doesn’t go in depth. The click-through website that has the list of confirmed cases includes details for some cases, so TW for violence on that.
Today, being March 1st, is also the beginning of Cerebral Palsy Awareness month, so expect more on that later.