Oppressionis an intentional or unintentional behavior that reduces otherpeople’s potential to feel fully human and unwanted(Dodenhoff, 2016).Oppression in many instances leads to segregation and may be thecause of the rise of minority groups. Most people with disabilitieshave been oppressed. Oppression has made them dependent, ridiculed,abused and violated. Mostof the non-disabled do not feel that people with disabilities areoppressed, but there is evidence of their inward suffering when theytell their stories.
Overthe past years, I have heard of the disabled trying to fight fortheir rights, in many countries. I have noticed that most of us, theable-bodied, do not realize that we are alienating the disabled andcausing their oppression. The disabled have special facilities thathelp them, but the term ‘special’ makes them different fromothers. During my summer holidays, I work as a voluntary staff inplaces where they take care of people with disabilities and sometimesin hospitals.
Oneday, as I sat with them, one client asked me if I had a familybecause I was there with them most of the time. I told them that Iwas a student and had come there because I love them and I liketaking care of them. As I talked about love, one of them shook hishead, and I knew that something was wrong. He told me that hisparents had rejected him at a tender age and had never felt that hewas loved by anybody. These people feel oppressed because mostfamilies feel that they have been burdened and end up ‘dumping’them in these facilities. As a result, they always feel despised andunwanted. I have heard of stories that in some developing countries,those with disabilities are sometimes locked up in the house becausetheir parents consider them as a curse. Therefore, some parents withdisabled children feel ashamed and don’t want their children to beseen.
AsI worked in one of the residential homes, I realized that there is abig gap that needs to be filled for the disabled to feel comfortable.Occasionally, I was given opportunities to walk them around the city,but in many instances, I found out that there are story buildingsthat have no ramps or elevators and the doorways were narrow, and wecould not access the buildings with wheelchairs. Thus, it is acalling for every organization to ensure that their environment issuitable for everybody, even those with disabilities.
Oneof the clients who came for a check-up in one of the hospitals that Ivisited during my volunteer work complained to me about how she hadstruggled to find a house that suited her special needs. As sheshared her story, I realized that many homes had not been built inany special way to fit the needs of people with disabilities. Anotherclient in tears told me of how she had tried to get a job with one ofthe organizations in the U.S. Her qualifications were perfect for thejob, but when she showed up for the interview in her wheelchair, shenoticed that the environment was not suitable for her, because therewere no ramps. Nevertheless, she managed to show up for theinterview, but when the employer saw her, he made many excuses not tocarry on with the interview, and she ended up not getting the job.Despite the rejections, she never gave up looking for a job andrecently she got one, though with low pay.
Duringmy voluntary work, I found out that most people with disabilitieswere comfortable sharing their stories with me and I always foundtime to listen to them. A young man once told me “you are lucky.” I was concerned why he told me that, and as I worked, I keptthinking of his words. Later, I found some time to sit and talk withhim. He told me that he had suffered from discrimination and hisparents could not educate him as they thought he could never beindependent. He added that the kind of education he had was a basiceducation that does not qualify him for any job.
Theenvironment and people’s attitude creates disability and not theirdeformed bodies. We have many facilities that are created to helpthe disabled. Most lives of their lives have been ‘owned’ bydoctors, psychologists, counselors, and social workers and they alldepend on their lives to fuel their careers. The society views thedisabled in a different perspective as they are seen as a vulnerablegroup. Some people exploit their disability to get what they wantincluding money from donations and other people who genuinely want tohelp (Dodenhoff,2016).
Inthe past, there have been debates on abortion of the deformed fetus.Some of the suggestions have favored able-bodied fetuses, unlike theones that are with deformation. Some parents cannot bear the burdenof raising children with disabilities, and they opt to abort thefetus once they find out that it is deformed(Ertelt, 2016).Every time we advocate for the abortion of the deformed fetuses, weare indirectly telling all the disabsled that their lives are somiserable and it was better if they were dead.
Despitethe many facilities that have been set up and the government supportto help the disabled, we still have a gap to fill so as to eradicateoppression and segregation of the people with disability. We willachieve greater goals if we understand their needs and know that theyare oppressed. Therefore, we all need to work tirelessly to ensurethat the disabled are comfortable because it is our God givenresponsibility to take care of them.
Dodenhoff, P.(2016, June 10). Five Faces of Oppression – Disability Hate Crime inthe UK – Disabled World. (ed). Retrieved fromhttp://www.disabled-world.com/disability/discrimination/faces.php
Ertelt, S.(2014, December 12). Woman Has Abortion at 28 Weeks Because BabyWould Have "Deformed" Left Hand | LifeNews.com. Retrievedfromhttp://www.lifenews.com/2014/12/12/woman-has-abortion-at-28-weeks-because-baby-would-have-deformed-left-hand/