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?