Factsheet on Persons with Disabilities

  • Around 10 per cent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability. They are the world’s largest minority.
  • This figure is increasing through population growth, medical advances and the ageing process, says the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • In countries with life expectancies over 70 years, individuals spend on average about 8 years, or 11.5 per cent of their life span, living with disabilities.
  • Eighty per cent of persons with disabilities live in developing countries, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Disability rates are significantly higher among groups with lower educational attainment in the countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says the OECD Secretariat. On average, 19 per cent of less educated people have disabilities, compared to 11 per cent among the better educated.
  • In most OECD countries, women report higher incidents of disability than men.
  • The World Bank estimates that 20 per cent of the world’s poorest people have some kind of disability, and tend to be regarded in their own communities as the most disadvantaged.
  • Women with disabilities are recognized to be multiply disadvantaged, experiencing exclusion on account of their gender and their disability.
  • Women and girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse. A small 2004 survey in Orissa, India, found that virtually all of the women and girls with disabilities were beaten at home, 25 per cent of women with intellectual disabilities had been raped and 6 per cent of women with disabilities had been forcibly sterilized.
  • According to UNICEF, 30 per cent of street youths have some kind of disability.
  • Mortality for children with disabilities may be as high as 80 per cent in countries where under-five mortality as a whole has decreased below 20 per cent, says the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, adding that in some cases it seems as if children are being “weeded out”.
  • Comparative studies on disability legislation shows that only 45 countries have anti-discrimination and other disability-specific laws.
  • In the United Kingdom, 75 per cent of the companies of the FTSE 100 Index on the London Stock Exchange do not meet basic levels of web accessibility, thus missing out on more than $147 million in revenue.

Education

  • Ninety per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school, says UNESCO.
  • The global literacy rate for adults with disabilities is as low as 3 per cent, and 1 per cent for women with disabilities, according to a 1998 UNDP study.
  • In the OECD countries, students with disabilities in higher education remain under-represented, although their numbers are on the increase, says the OECD.

Employment

  • An estimated 386 million of the world’s working-age people have some kind of disability, says the International Labour Organization (ILO). Unemployment among the persons with disabilities is as high as 80 per cent in some countries. Often employers assume that persons with disabilities are unable to work.
  • Even though persons with disabilities constitute a significant 5 to 6 per cent of India’s population, their employment needs remain unmet, says a study by India’s National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People, in spite of the “People with Disabilities” Act, which reserves for them 3 per cent of government jobs. Of the some 70 million persons with disabilities in India, only about 100,000 have succeeded in obtaining employment in industry.
  • A 2004 United States survey found that only 35 per cent of working-age persons with disabilities are in fact working, compared to 78 per cent of those without disabilities. Two-thirds of the unemployed respondents with disabilities said they would like to work but could not find jobs.
  • A 2003 study by Rutgers University found that people with physical and mental disabilities continue to be vastly underrepresented in the U.S. workplace. One-third of the employers surveyed said that persons with disabilities cannot effectively perform the required job tasks. The second most common reason given for not hiring persons with disabilities was the fear of costly special facilities.
  • The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment states that the employers in the 2010 study reported that a high percentage (56%) of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $600..
  • Companies report that employees with disabilities have better retention rates, reducing the high cost of turnover, says a 2002 U.S. study. Other American surveys reveal that after one year of employment, the retention rate of persons with disabilities is 85 per cent.
  • Thousands of persons with disabilities have been successful as small business owners, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The 1990 national census revealed that persons with disabilities have a higher rate of self-employment and small business experience (12.2 per cent) than persons without disabilities (7.8 per cent).

Violence

  • For every child killed in warfare, three are injured and acquire a permanent form of disability.
  • In some countries, up to a quarter of disabilities result from injuries and violence, says WHO.
  • Persons with disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence or rape, according to a 2004 British study, and less likely to obtain police intervention, legal protection or preventive care.
  • Research indicates that violence against children with disabilities occurs at annual rates at least 1.7 times greater than for their peers without disabilities

‘Sexting’ high school teacher may be given job back after winning appeal

by: Tony Keim  From: The Courier-Mail  July 17, 2012 2:56PM

 

 
A HIGH school teacher banned for working for three years for “sexting” and kissing a teenage student has won an appeal that could see him return to teaching early next year.
The teacher was banned after sending up to 1000 sexualised and overly familiar text messages in a month to one of his Year 11 students after being instructed by colleagues to give her “special guidance.”

The Courier-Mail in November revealed the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal ordered the teacher’s registration be cancelled after he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with the female student – then said to have been aged between 14 and 15 – between late 2010 year and early 2011.

However, the teacher appealed the decision and was last month granted the right to re-apply for his registration of permission to teach from February 19 next year.

 

QCAT president Justice Alan Wilson and member Dr John Forbes, in a just-published 11-page decision, granted the teacher – identifiable only as “Teacher J” – leave to appeal, set aside the original three year ban and replaced it with a prohibition from registration until next year.

Justice Wilson also made a non-publication order – banning the media from identifying the teacher who was previously named in an earlier order.

“In 2010 (Teacher J) was a teacher at a school for girls in a Queensland provincial town,” Dr Forbes said in his written decision.

“In February 2011 his registration was suspended by the (Queensland College of Teachers) on the ground he posed an imminent risk of harm to children.

“On 3 November 2011, this Tribunal found that (Teacher J) was not a person suitable to teach, in view of his improper association with a pupil, to whom I shall apply the pseudonym ‘Jane’.”

Teacher J did not contest the issue of his guilt, the tribunal was told.

Dr Forbes said the teacher became involved with “Jane” at the insistence of colleagues because her “home environment was such that she should receive special guidance.”

He said Teacher J and “Jane” became very close, so much so one teacher warned against “unduly close” student-teacher relationships during a study tour to the US.

The tribunal was told the relationship escalated to the point where “Jane” kissed Teacher J in a manner that was “passionate … but nothing you know, really, really serious.”

“Around Christmas (2010) “Jane” and (Teacher J) began texting each other,” Dr Forbes said.

“Between that time and 30 January 2011 they texted intensively … (with) as many as 1000 communications by that means.”

He said some of the messages were unexceptional, involving subjects such as school work, babysitting and Test cricket, but there were some that were of a sexual nature.

The relationship was eventually revealed when an intoxicated “Jane” told two school mates she was in love with Teacher J and that they were having a relationship.

Dr Forbes, in granting the appeal, said it was an undisputed fact “Jane” was 16 years old two months before the “misconduct in question” began.

“While sexual misconduct by a teacher with an under-age child certainly warrants a significant disciplinary sanction, a somewhat less severe sanction may be warranted when the same conduct occurs with a pupil over the age of consent, who is readily, even eagerly consenting,” he said.

Mother of girl found in closet appears in court

Reposted from a story By LAURA BAUER The Kansas City Star Updated: 2012-07-12T20:48:34Z

 Shackled and wearing an orange jumpsuit, the mother of the 10-year-old child found locked in a closet appeared briefly in court today.
Jacole Prince, 29, did not speak during the hearing. Her attorney, Curtis Lee Winegarner, reiterated not-guilty pleas for Prince, who is charged with felony counts of assault, child abuse and child endangerment.
Jackson County Judge Margaret Sauer scheduled a pretrial hearing for Aug. 9.
Today’s appearance was over before a woman described as Prince’s best friend arrived at the courtroom.
The woman’s daughter, Lovetta Parker, said she’d brought her mother, who lives in an apartment downstairs from Prince in a housing complex in the 1300 block of Highland Avenue.
Parker said that Prince would come down for coffee, and her mother would cook for Prince and two daughters. She said her mother didn’t know Prince had a third daughter upstairs.
Parker said the discovery of the malnourished girl in the closet stunned her and her mother.
“It was shocking to us. It was ridiculous. It was crazy. I cried for three days straight.”
Parker said her mother did not want to be identified and did not want to talk to reporters.
Prince has been in jail since June 22 when authorities responded to a hotline call and found her oldest daughter, known as LP in court records, locked in an apartment closet.
The little girl — 10 years old and weighing just 32 pounds — told police she was often put in the closet for long periods of time. She told them she slept in there, and was often not allowed out to go to the bathroom. When police found her, the closet was soaked in urine and feces, with no light or toys, according to court records.
Records also show that Prince admitted in early 2006 that she intentionally withheld food from LP so she wouldn’t go to the bathroom too often. The state took custody of LP and a younger sister in February 2006. About 13 months later, after Prince reportedly worked through a checklist of requirements set by the state, she got her two daughters back.
A month later, LP stopped going to school and disappeared from sight. Neighbors of Prince said they didn’t even know that LP lived in the apartment, although they had often seen Prince with her two other daughters, ages 2 and 8.
On Wednesday, prosecutors charged Prince’s boyfriend, Marcus Benson, 34, with two counts of felony child endangerment.
Benson, who neighbors say regularly stayed with Prince in her apartment, initially told police he didn’t know that the girl had been forced to live inside the closet. Benson is not LP’s biological dad but is the father of Prince’s two other children. When Prince lost custody of her two children in 2006 — the third hadn’t been born yet — the state put the girls with Benson. According to court records, Benson allegedly mistreated LP

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/07/12/3702565/mother-of-girl-found-in-closet.html#storylink=cpy#storylink=cpy

ChicgoTeens charged in fatal beating Of a Disabled Man posted on Facebook

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

CHICAGO — Three Chicago teenagers accused of fatally beating a disabled man and posting video of the attack on Facebook were playing a game that involved finding an innocent victim and trying to knock him out with a punch, investigators alleged in court documents released Monday.

Delfino Mora, a 62-year-old father of 12, was attacked in an alley last week while searching for cans that he collected to make extra money for his family. Authorities said one of the teens punched Mora, who hit his head on the concrete, as the others filmed the attack with a cellphone. They then robbed him of $60.

All three are charged as adults with first-degree murder and are being held without bond.

 The trio – 16-year-old Malik Jones, 17-year-old Nicholas Ayala and 18-year-old Anthony Malcolm – decided “to play the pick ‘em out and knock em’ out game” when they saw Mora in the alley during the early morning hours of July 10, Cook County prosecutors allege in court documents.

 

Jones allegedly started the recorder on his cellphone, handed it to one of his co-defendants and told them he was going to knock Mora out. Prosecutors said the video shows that the teens surrounded Mora and asked if he had any money in his pockets. After Jones asked him a second time, he punched Mora in the jaw.

Mora, who did not have complete use of his right arm because of a construction accident several years ago, fell to the ground. Prosecutors said the video shows Mora striking his head on the ground and the “loud crack of his head hitting the cement.”

The three teens then ran off, but Jones returning a short time later – and, with a bleeding Mora lying on the ground, pulled Mora’s wallet out of his pocket and took $60.

“All three leave the area laughing about victimizing the old man,” prosecutors contend in the court filings.

Mora wasn’t discovered until hours later by a person passing by. He died Wednesday at a hospital, and the Cook County medical examiner’s office determined that the cause of death was blunt head trauma.

Police arrested the three after learning about the video that was posted on Jones’ Facebook page, where it was spotted by a man who recognized Jones as the person who attacked him last month, authorities said.

Jones was still carrying the cellphone when he was arrested, prosecutors said.

“I never knew there could be people this cold,” said Mora’s 20-year-old son, Emmanuel, who said he has had difficulty sleeping and has had nightmares since he watched the video.

Prosecutors said Jones admitted that he punched Mora, Malcolm acknowledged videotaping the incident and Ayala admitted to his involvement in the incident.

A phone message left by The Associated Press for Jones’ mother was not immediately returned Monday, but his father told the Chicago Sun-Times that his son didn’t realize the punch was fatal.

“He was only trying to knock him out,” said Terry Jones, adding that his son’s troubles dated to his joining the gang and time he spent in juvenile detention.

A family friend of Malcolm’s, Melvin Corhn, said the family was saddened by Mora’s death but noted that Malcolm did not touch Mora, saying: “He did not hit him, he was just videotaping what was going on and laughing about it.”

A phone message was left at a phone listing for Ayala.

“It feels to us like they’re making fun of my dad because he couldn’t defend himself,” Mora’s 17-year-old daughter, Angelique, told the Chicago Tribune. “They think posting a violent video makes them look tough. It’s like they want to get famous.”

5 charged with disabled abuse for allegedly beating, starving handicapped adults

Published July 17, 2012

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO –  Neat and tidy from the outside, a two-story stucco home in an upscale San Jose neighborhood was a house of horrors on the inside, authorities say — a place where disabled adults were beaten, starved and not even allowed to use toilet paper.

 

The victims, mostly Vietnamese immigrants who speak little English and are unable to tend to themselves, lived among rotting food and more than two-dozen dogs whose pools of urine and feces littered the home, authorities said.

 

“The conditions were pretty deplorable,” Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Charles Huang said Monday. “The general impression was that the dogs appeared to be better off than the victims.”

 

Earlier this month, five family members were charged with dependent adult abuse and animal neglect, both felonies, for their roles in the abuse. On Monday, suspects George Dac Nguyen, Jennifer Ngo, Charles Nguyen and Margaret Ngo were taken into custody after a Santa Clara County judge increased their bail amount to $500,000. They are due back in court on Aug. 21.

 

An arrest warrant has been issued for a fifth suspect, Kathy Le, who is not currently in custody, authorities said.

 

The relatives could spend up to 18 years in prison, if convicted. Police said they learned about the house owned by George Nguyen’s son from a victim’s relative in May. Officers found that the residence reeked of dog feces, the refrigerator had locks on them and there was no running faucet water, Huang said.

 

Investigators say the alleged victims — many suffering from schizophrenia and other disorders –told them that they were not always given their medication. They were kept in small rooms virtually all day and their Social Security checks were being taken by the suspects.

 

Outside, the home featured tall mesh fencing and a handful of surveillance cameras on site.

 

“It doesn’t appear the victims were free to go about in the house,” Huang said. “There was excrement and urine virtually all around the house That was a very troubling issue.”

In May, police removed the victims and placed them under protective custody at a licensed care center. However, someone checked a handful of the victims out of the hospital and returned them to the house, along with 21 dogs for about a month.

Again, police arrived at the home and removed three victims and the dogs on July 2, Huang said.

 

“I don’t know what their motivations were upon returning,” said Huang, adding that the investigation into the case is still in its early stages.

 

“These victims did not deserve to be treated the way they had been,” Huang said. “We’re proceeding on that theory.”

Starline Tours settles a federal lawsuit brought over lack of wheelchair accessibility. U.S. attorney hopes the case will send a message to other tour operators.

Hollywood tour operator settles disability discrimination suit

By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times

July 17, 2012

 Amy Champlin simply wanted the classic Los Angeles experience: to gawk at movie stars’ homes, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Sunset Strip from the comfort of a tour bus.

 What she got instead was an eight-month ordeal to get a reservation, a six-hour wait for a tour that never took off and a part in a federal lawsuit. The glitch: Starline Tours couldn’t provide a working wheelchair-accessible bus for Champlin and her group, who were in town for a National Ataxia Foundation meeting. On Monday, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles announced a consent decree with Starline, which bills itself as the largest and oldest of the Hollywood-centric tours. To settle an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit brought by the U.S. attorney, the company agreed to ensure that enough of its buses are wheelchair-accessible and to train its employees.

 Assistant U.S. Atty. Robyn-Marie Lyon Monteleone, who filed the suit, said the problem went beyond Starline and that people with disabilities often have trouble finding any tour that’s accessible to them, even after contacting several companies. The office has received complaints about at least three other tour operators, she said.

 

Monteleone said she hoped the decree would send a message to the other companies.

“This was the big L.A. trip of their lifetime; many of them thought they may never be well enough to come out again,” she said of Champlin and her companions, who suffer from ataxia, a degenerative disease. “To them, it was a really big deal.”

According to the decree, only 25 of the 90 vehicles Starline currently operates are wheelchair-accessible. The company did not admit liability or violation of the disabilities act. It agreed to pay a fine of $5,000, and $15,000 in compensation for Champlin and her group.

 Champlin suffers from Friedreich’s ataxia, a hereditary disease that causes impaired muscle coordination that worsens over time, for which she uses an electric wheelchair. According to the lawsuit, her quest for a tour began when she called the company eight months in advance of her March 2011 visit.

 She was initially told that Starline could only accommodate tourists who could walk onto the bus on their own and collapse their wheelchairs. After some wrangling, during which Champlin referred the company to disabilities act requirements, she and others attending the ataxia conference were able to book the 7 1/2-hour “Deluxe Grand City Tour of Los Angeles and Stars’ Homes.”At 7:30 the morning of the tour, Starline sent a bus that wasn’t wheelchair-accessible. Four hours later, it sent another vehicle — but after the group boarded and secured the wheelchairs, the bus wouldn’t start. The driver explained that the vehicle was rarely used. Champlin and the others waited for an additional two hours for a replacement before giving up on the tour altogether.

Monteleone said the group was refunded the $82-per-person fare and that the company cooperated with the investigation.Kami Farhadi, owner of Starline Tours, which serves about a million tourists a year, called Champlin’s case an “anomaly.” He said the demand for wheelchair access to its tour buses is fairly low, averaging about one or two customers a day.

 “We are happy to have more people take advantage of the fact that we have wheelchair accessible vehicles out on the streets,” he said.

For Disabled Fliers, TSA Adds Insult To Injury

Posted: 07/16/2012 7:15 am
Reposted from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-elliott/for-disabled-fliers-tsa-adds-insult_b_1674523.html

If you thought the TSA’s reputation as America’s worst federal agency couldn’t get any worse — and after its recent PR disasters, I wouldn’t blame you — you might want to think again.

Last week brought fresh evidence that our airport screeners are working even harder to be reviled by the public they’re assigned to protect.

 Both incidents involve young passengers with disabilities. The first one happened to a young deaf passenger traveling to a conference in Louisville. He alleges agents belittled him (I can’t repeat the exact words they allegedly used), stole his candy and devoured it in front of him.

The second incident involves a cancer patient on his way to Disneyland, having his prosthetic leg screened by a TSA agent. A photo of the search provoked widespread outrage. My colleague Lisa Simeone covered the fallout on the watchdog site TSA News.

The TSA issued a statement on its blog, denying the deaf passenger was mistreated. It said it had the pictures to disprove it.

“After a review of the video, TSA found no footage that matches the information in the blog post, such as Officers removing food during any bag search and eating it, or anything to indicate that they were pointing at and ridiculing a passenger,” it said.

A blog post written by the deaf passenger has since been removed, and the author has asked other media outlets to unpublish the article.

 TSA hasn’t commented on the photo of the child being screened. It doesn’t really have to. No one seems to care what the agency has to say anymore.

Was that a doctored photo? Was the deaf passenger harassed by agents? What does it matter? They just wouldn’t put anything past the TSA.

Just in case you’re one of the three readers who are still concerned with the facts, here are a few to chew on. The TSA has a long history of targeting the disabled, as I documented in a post last year.

Since then, it’s kept the most defenseless air travelers in its crosshairs.

In May, radio host Laura Ingraham reported a legless Afghanistan war veteran being given a very thorough once-over by TSA agents at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Our vets, she added, “deserve better.” (She’s right.)

A few weeks before, it aggressively screened a seven-year-old female passenger with cerebral palsy, causing her family to miss their flight. The girl, Dina Frank, was waiting to board a flight departing from JFK Airport in New York to Florida, when agents insisted on conducting a thorough search of her and her crutches — this was at the gate, after the girl had already gone through security at the checkpoint.

Elderly passengers with mobility challenges are also a favorite target. Just a few days before they went after the disabled girl, a passenger flying out of Palm Beach International Airport claims agents refused to let her walk through a magnetometer and gave her an invasive pat-down.

Her crime? Using a cane.

“I was groped inappropriately in all strategic areas, hands placed down my pants in a manner I never imagined possible for a middle-aged woman with a cane,” she wrote on a consumer complaint site. “The point was very clear; to punish and retaliate against me because I opted out of the non-metal scanner.”

When it comes to the way TSA treats disabled travelers, is any horror story true until proven otherwise? I can’t fault the flying public for thinking so.

To the agency’s credit, it has changed the way it screens some passengers as a result of recent complaints. A few months ago, the TSA declared that passengers 75 and over could keep their shoes and light jackets on at the screening area. But to many critics, the agency just created yet another class of “special” passenger, which some disability advocates find offensive. Their goal is to be treated like everyone else — no better, no worse.

Pope John Paul II once said that society can be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members. Last week, the TSA added insult to injury for its most vulnerable passengers. And it seems passengers have already judged them for it

 Mia’s thoughts-At the time of posting this I am half way through a conspircy theory fictional novel, based on my own real life horror experience at the hand of the TSA. The book is titled 14 DAYS

HERE IS AN EXCERPT-https://disabledaccessdenied.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/an-unedited-excerpt-from-chapter-one-of-14-days-a-new-novel-by-mia-g-vayner/

an unedited excerpt from Chapter one of “14 Days” a new novel by Mia G Vayner

  Here is a sneek preview of my latest novel that deals with survivng child abuse and dealing with TSA abuse and what I discovered when I sought out profesional help. Chapter One

The last 6 months had been the best of times and the worst of times, the good was 6 months on The sunshine coast of Queensland Australia.In Australia There’s a sense of humour the Aussies have, Shorty is really 6 feet tall, tiny weighs 400lbs and as we found out all too late sunshine was in hiding for most of summer 2011 on the sunshine coast!.

The distance between rural Australia and main street USA was never more apparent as we rolled off the Qantas flight from hell qf 108,actually  it came from Sydney. But when you’re on a flight for 14 hours and they forget to board any vegan food, and they give away your upgrade to 3 seats to yourself then They put you a wheelchair using disabled person not in your own aisle, but in  a group of 5 squeezed between a Hasidic couple with screaming toddlers and smelly businessman who Thought showering is a fad that will pass you quickly forget the harbour bridge and opera house. You start to think you flew over a ferryman on the river Styx with the faint lyrics to Chris de burghs “don’t pay the ferryman playing  in your ears.

We were met by a very apologetic agent from Qantas special services dept, who swore  the food was arranged and the seats were guaranteed .The short Mexican woman was cute and no more than a 100lbs  and had an annoying habit of texting and never making eye contact  but she managed to efficiently  get us through customs and get our luggage on the way to a routine (or so I thought) TSA  check point. I had survived 9/11 and my wife and sister in-law were right there, so I know what the worst bad security or no security can let happen is  but the TSA is a gangly half trained group that is as far as security goes as useful as sending a seventh grade quarter back out to face William the fridge Perry for all the good they do. Despite my misgivings  my audience before them was demanded, so I rolled into the cattle yard of a line up  and proceeded to put  my shoes laptop, and jewellery in the plastic boxes and waited to be pushed through into a special area where wheelchairs and their occupants were routinely checked.

  As I approached I noticed small aisles similar to a Pathmark checkout line, and immediately realised none were wide enough.”Excuse me officer. yes over here um the aisles which one?” SHUT UP AND WAIT TILL WE SPEAK TO YOU the Tom Sellicks wanna be barked. “But sir the aisles” I SAID SHUT UP AND WAIT The wannabe commando yelled, finally I blurted “the aisles are not wide enough for my chair”. He shouted over his shoulder “can we get this loudmouth through and out of my hair”? A short Hispanic man in blue pushed me around the office style dividers and back in the front end of the conveyor belts. all through this my special services agent was busy texting someone who made her smile. As I was imagining her conversation, a tall African American, or possible Jamaican women in her twenties said in a barely literate sentence “can y’all stand up”? To which I replied no I’m in a wheelchair. “Yeah but can ya stand?” ,again I said “as I said I’m in a wheelchair”.  She then knocked the wind out of my sails as she blurted loudly “I need ya’ll to git over in the corner and stand there for about 5 minutes while we all search ya chair” . I laughed and said “are you serious” she just mechanically repeated herself to which I replied I cannot .She then spoke onto her shoulder microphone and said “we have a suspicious passenger, I’m requesting a private room for a full search” as I heard her words my stomach jumped into my mouth, and I asked why? She informed me I had refused a reasonable request to stand up and walk over to the corner,  I said loudly “you cannot be serious do you not understand disability?” To which she replied “what I understand is none of your business I gave an order and ya’ll refused so you’re getting private and getting searched”. Just then the same short Hispanic gentleman walked over and enquired why a room was needed, and a short discussion ensued and I was pushed to the door of a occupied room and told to wait, when I asked what the room was for I was told this is where full body and cavity searches were carried out.

A sweat broke out I started to have shakes, I fought back the tears of fear remembering my brother a soldier used to say “if you cry you give the bastards the satisfaction “.

 I started to beg, Memories of child hood molestation filled my head and I pleaded loudly for a full 15 minutes and I thanked the universe that whoever was in the room was either guilty as hell and being held or taking their time dressing because it allowed me time to plead my case.  The man in blue came over, I bit my lip to keep my composure and explained the stupidity of her request and that the only way I could comply was after neurological surgery because walking was impossible. He seemed to ignore me, and I heard the ignorant guard responsible for my plight tell him “she didn’t know what disability meant and thought wheelchairs were what rich white folk rode in when they got rich and didn’t want to walk any more”! I was almost into full seizure at the impending search, and then out of the mist a woman who looked like sweet mrs C from Happy days came over. Evidently she had overheard the ludicrous statements regarding why people used wheelchairs.  She apologised  and proceeded to conduct a quick wanding and I was on my way to the plane.

As we flew back to NYC  the hours ticked over the mist and fog got heavier, outside it was blue skies but the inclement weather was in my head in my life  and no sign of it clearing anytime soon. By the time we landed at jfk, they may as well have  invaded  every orifice and felt my most personal places because the combination of the flash backs to childhood molestation combined with my wild flying thoughts of what they could have done had me almost catatonic. As soon as we arrived back on the upper east side in our apartment, using the guise of jet lag I retreated further and further into the darkness of my mind and stayed that way until dirt and odour would pry me from my sheets.

 I would arise  only long enough for a shower a bed change and the smallest required meal I could find.  At an age where I would never see fifty again I thought the horror of my childhood was long gone, but in those early weeks my poor Ella barely slept.  I woke up screaming so often curled in the foetal position, that the few hours she didn’t  spend at her magazine were spent wearily assuring me the monsters lived only in my head and my past.