When They Don’t Speak

bullying

One of my greatest fears of having a son who struggles with communication, is that he could be harmed by someone and may be unable to tell me. He may not even know that what was done to him was wrong. For example, bullying.

Bullying in my son’s eyes, is normally seen as playful behavior between friends. If someone picks at him, then that person is his friend. He doesn’t understand that what they’re doing is mean and is actually an attempt to hurt him.

He wants friends, especially girl friends and girls know it. So they flirt with him and lead him on, making him believe that they like him. Then their true intentions are seen, as they laugh with their friends and make jokes about it. Fortunately from what I’ve seen, only a couple of girls have acted that way toward him.

Most of his girl friends are genuinely sweet and kind to him. They still relish in the attention that he gives them, but they don’t abuse it. Obviously though, I can’t see everything that goes on and that’s the part that frightens me.

Recently, there was a story that made the news which infuriated me. The caption read “Teenage girls use knife to force autistic boy to perform sex acts.” Even typing that made me angry.

Here’s a little snippet of the story:

Two Maryland teenage girls were charged this week with assaulting an autistic boy and recording him on their cell phones performing sex acts, including some with animals, the St. Mary County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.

Authorities said the two girls, ages 17 and 15, admitted to police that they assaulted the boy, 16, with a knife on “multiple occasions.”

A news release from the department said the girls also kicked the boy in the groin and dragged him by his hair. They also got him to walk onto a partially frozen pond. When the boy fell through several times, they made him get out each time by himself, police said.

Having an autistic son, I can easily see how this could happen to someone with autism. You may think, “Oh come on. The boy is 16 years old. He would know better or at the very least, he could get away.”

No, he may not know better. No, he may not be able to get away. Children with autism don’t reason in their minds, the way that you and I do. Therefore, to expect them to react as we would, is an unreasonable expectation.

My 14 year old son, loves girls and would likely follow them like a puppy if they requested him to. He would have no idea that their intentions were evil. That thought would never even cross his mind. So he easily and unknowingly, could put himself in danger in a heartbeat.

I do believe that if that happened, he would eventually realize their plan and try to leave. But, they had a knife. That fear would paralyze him, as it would most children with autism. Forget autism – it would paralyze most children.

Of course I teach my son not to follow others. Also, to never allow anyone to touch him inappropriately or to cause him pain. But the scary truth is, he may not remember what I’ve told him, if he had to face that situation in real life. What happened to that 16 year old boy could happen to anyone. It could happen to my son and that’s scary.

What goes on in the mind of people, to cause them to commit such atrocities against others? When I was growing up, I was taught to treat everyone with love, kindness and respect. Treating someone with a disability (of any type) in a cruel manner, never once crossed my mind. The idea of doing so is preposterous.

What happened to compassion, to love? What happened to common courtesy and respect? What happened to morals?

Bullying is terrible (assault in this case), and sadly it is becoming more prevalent each and every day. It’s sad that we even have to teach our children to beware of people like this. We shouldn’t have to. It makes me wonder, what are their parents teaching them? And what are they not teaching?

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24 Responses to When They Don’t Speak

  1. I’m just sick to my stomach over this! As a parent, I will reinforce the need for my son and niece and nephew to stand up for others, the world needs those that can speak up on behalf of those that can’t!

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    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you, Kate. All it takes is teaching one child at a time. Then those good lessons can be passed on to others, and hopefully to future generations. Why people don’t teach this is beyond my understanding. So again, thank you.

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  2. Jenni says:

    There are times when you just have to wonder how we have managed to survive as species when we seem to find compassion and kindness a chore.

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  3. You are right. This is really sick, that anyone treat others like this. Good that your son has you.
    Irene

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  4. TK says:

    I fear for any children I have because my bullying was harsh in school. I was pushed, poked, chased, spat on… I would be beside myself if that happened to my kid. Hell, I was terrified as a kid that something like that would happen to my younger brother just because he shared my last name.

    I wonder if there is something about human nature that calls us to pick on the one that is different? When people don’t understand someone, they lash out. I mean, it happens to adults too. People who don’t understand this culture or that lifestyle will judge and condemn as if all who are different are evil incarnate. I think the real first step in working to end bullying is getting adults to stop condemning and judging people they think are different. That bullying behavior in children is learned somewhere.

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    • mewhoami says:

      TK,

      That is terrible. I cannot imagine going through that as a child. There is no reason for such behavior.

      It does make you wonder doesn’t it? I think it’s all a matter of ignorance. Like you said, people don’t understand. It seems as though in life, people are always fighting against those things that they don’t understand. Like “scared of the unknown.”. But, I also think it’s their way of trying to make themselves feel better. Bullies generally have low self esteem, so they put others down in an effort to lift themselves up. It’s ridiculous really and makes no logical sense.

      I completely agree with you. It’s primarily the parents who train their children with the wrong mindset in regard to others. They are sponges. They soak in the good just as much as they do the bad. Parents need to change. Then the children will change.

      Of course, there are exceptions which can be seen in families with multiple children. They’re all raised the same way and some turn out well and others do not. But in most cases, I agree – they’re only doing what they’ve learned from their parents.

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      • TK says:

        I imagine a child’s personality comes into play. That’s why parenting is so hard. The tactics that work on one don’t always work on another. I imagine there is probably no one sure way to prevent children from acting like bullies.

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  5. tric says:

    We can only teach our own and hope they have listened to us. However I think peer pressure dictates so much. My children go to our local comprehensive non fee paying school. There are all kinds of everything in this school, but my children all say that they believe there is very little bullying and that no one would be allowed to bully any of the more challenged kids.
    They have children with autism, aspergers and many more differences in the school. They also have a boy who barks all day and speaks backwards but according to my daughter they understand him and no one would ever be mean to him. I am not sure he would be as well looked after in a different school even if the children were from “privileged” backgrounds.

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    • mewhoami says:

      It’s great to hear that the kids in the school are so accepting of the others who are ‘different’. That’s the way that it should be. I agree with you on peer pressure. Even though it is the parent’s job to teach their children morals, there are always those few who get caught up following after their peers and stray from what they know is right.

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  6. That incident is beyond bullying. It is a criminal assault by cruel individuals.
    Wishing you and your son all the best, Diane

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  7. stormy1812 says:

    I think the other question to ask is what are they NOT teaching them? What are their other influences also because quite frankly, these kids are picking things up from other places and parents/guardians aren’t stepping in to teach them NOT to imitate that behavior. I agree the bullying aspect is so disgusting toward anyone but to do so to those with disabilities is beyond words. The article you speak of, I agree with a previous commenter, that’s beyond bullying – that’s assault. I don’t know where people’s minds are these days. I’d say young people but they’re not alone – so many adults now are also not behaving as they should. Then on the flip side, I do hear stories of compassion and kindness too. It does happen – I just hope that it starts to happen more and more and the awful stories become less and less.

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    • mewhoami says:

      That’s an excellent question. It’s a lot about what they’re not being taught. Granted a few will stray from the lessons they learn, many will not. We must teach our kids morals and love for their fellow human being. There is no excuse for such behavior. Kids should know better and should want to behave better than this. It’s up to parents to teach them. You’re right about it not just being a childhood issue. These problems spread all through adulthood, for some up to the day they die. Those good stories should be spread more on the the news. Maybe they would cause people to seek out good attention rather than the bad.

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  8. That was so difficult to read. To think of a child (anyone) being purposefully tormented and tortured. I feared this for my children and now my grandchildren. I don’t think even reasonable people always fully understand the impact of the world on their children: music, television, interaction between adults….. Children see and absorb every thing. My heart goes out to that child.

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    • mewhoami says:

      It is difficult to read those types of things. It just pains the heart. You make a good point here with the every day things that kids are exposed to. I firmly believe that video games, shows and movies, and music have a large impact on children. Most people don’t just come up with an idea out of no where. Something prompts it.

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  9. April says:

    I can understand your fear. I think most parents have a fear their child will be bullied, and for a child to be bullied as you wrote about, is hard to wrap my head around. I think my brain processes information in an odd way—what is happening in the brains of these type of people?

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    • mewhoami says:

      You’re right. It is a big fear among parents. We never want to see our precious (even not so precious) children bullied or hurt in any way. As you said in a post, just because people battle mental issues it doesn’t mean that they’re going to go on a killing rampage. It takes a special switch to be turned off or wired wrong, for these people to do such things. It is hard to wrap our minds around, and for that I’m glad I don’t understand.

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  10. suzjones says:

    That is horrifying in the extreme and I can understand your fear. I cannot believe the minds of people and what they are capable of.

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  11. I don’t understand why morals have taken a back seat. I would think it is because of drugs, alcohol, greed, children having to raise themselves because they don’t have a mother or father or mother and father that is there to guide them. The consequences are very grim for humanity.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I agree. All those reasons that you listed are a part of why the generations are slowly (…quickly) deteriorating. Many people are so caught up in themselves and their own needs/wants these days, that their children get left in the dust to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, kids don’t teach themselves morals and values. Without guidance, they are instead taught the ‘rules’ of the street.

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