Caregivers Rape Disabled Patients: Is Anything Sicker?

Marj Hatzell

handicapped symbolI don't have to tell you that a special needs parent's worst nightmare is the death of their child. Perhaps the second thing that parents fear is their child being abused, assaulted, or molested in some way. It's EVERY parent's worst nightmare, next to losing their child.

Sometimes, however, the news stories hit too close to home and they rattle a parent to the core. The horror is tenfold. A disabled child is often completely defenseless, either due to lack of communication skills, lack of mobility, or developmental delay, which puts them at a much greater risk.

Then I read an article or news bit about something atrocious, like the disgusting sickos in California who assaulted and raped at LEAST 10 women. Ten women that live in long-term care homes, that are severely physically and/or mentally disabled. Yup, that's right. These horrible human beings preyed on disabled women, women who they were supposed to be taking care of. How did they get caught? Someone anonymously turned over hours upon hours of video footage of the assaults. Thank goodness.

Authorities have located two victims so far. I have a sick feeling in my stomach that many, many more women will be located and they will have similar stories to tell.

Questions on the Internet chat rooms are already swirling. Why didn't the women come forward? Why did it take so long for the men to be reported? If it wasn't for the anonymous tipster, some feel the allegations would never have come to light. I can understand why these women didn't come forward, especially if these men were still caring for them after the assaults continued. They were frightened, they were victimized, and they were probably threatened. And when you are completely dependent on others for your care, what could you do? If a victim was nonverbal or completely physically disabled or had significant neurological impairment, how could they possibly report it? Let's not forget that these women are victims.

I have a child who is nonverbal, who cannot speak. He cannot tell me when he is hurt, sad, or hungry. He can't indicate a stomachache or headache. He can't even tell me if someone at school annoyed him or if another student bumped into him. If someone victimized him in anyway, in all likelihood I would not know. It scares my husband and me more than I can possibly explain. While we don't live in constant fear or dread of this occurring, we do take precautions that other parents don't have to take. We have to be hyper-vigilant and we can only allow a select few to be with our child. We have to trust them implicitly. And some day our son will either not live with us or we won't be around to protect him. That scares me. And reading stories like this just confirms that I'm doing the right thing by being selective in who cares for my child.

These men deliberately preyed on women who were completely unable to fend off their attackers. They are disgusting, horrible, and cowardly for victimizing women, let alone the fact that they selected these women based on their disability. They deserve what's coming to them.


Image via Marj Hatzell

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