“While I think we spent a lot of time thinking about how we educate people outside the little person community to treat us with a modicum of respect, I also think we need to have a real critical conversation about and within our community as it relates to our own #MeToo moments.”
Recent events in U.S. politics have forced us to reflect on the painful realities of sexual assault. Disabled people face a heightened risk of all kinds of abuse-physical, sexual, emotional and financial. Much of that abuse comes at the hands of nondisabled people, including family members and caregivers. But we must also work within our own disability communities to create a culture of respect and safety for all. Organizations like Little People of America (LPA) can offer valuable safe havens from the ableism that we encounter in the wider world. But the frustration that people may carry into these communities, if we aren’t careful, can lead to abuse. In this article, Rebecca Cokley reflects on her own experiences in LPA, and what she is teaching her children about respect and consent. Rebecca Cokley is the director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress.