Thursday, October 6, 2016

Disabled in the 1950's

If you do any research at all about disabled people in the 1950's to the 1960's, you can see a disturbing and down right inhumane history that devastated hundreds, if not, thousands. Still to this day, I can bet confidently it will make you sick to your stomach. What happened to people with disabilities was horrific and tragic.

To give a source, so you won't have to just take my word for it, check out the article, "When the disabled were segregated" by Victoria Brignell on the site Newstatesmen. It gives all the information I will claim plus more detail. It gives background, eye witness accounts, and other sources of its own. The writer, Ms. Brignell, wrote more than one article about Disabled ( for Disability month) and I strongly encourage to check it out.

On to my rant, I wanna start with a quote from the article mentioned above. "Large number of British and American disabled people were put away in institutions on the grounds that it was for their own good and good of the society. For example, in 1913, the passing of the Mental Incapacity Act in Britain led to around 40,000 men and women being locked away, having been deemed 'feeble- minded' or 'morally defective'." This was what led to the horrors in the fifties and sixties.  Disabled being seen as lesser than has been there the whole time- yes. But, they were never put in homes. I think we can compare to homes today. Homes for mentally disabled and the elderly. Truthfully, having a mom who worked at one, they weren't often treated very well unless by a person that truly loved the people and what they do as a career. Even now a days, horrible things happen to them. Imagine that environment full of people who don't care at all. That's exactly what happened to people back then. As a result, many suffered and died.

On to what actually happened in the homes, we can list a few basic things that went down. Torture, mockery and murder. Children weren't allowed toys, often beat. Adults treated like children, also beat. There were homes for people with learning disabilities- yes, learning disabilities- that shaved the girls heads when they arrived. When children wet the beds, they had their sheets tied around their heads. They were not feed very well and often had to result in eating their own vomit. I knew a woman who had to do that so much when SHE was in one of those homes, she still does it as a way to relax. There is no question they were hurt and abused.

People were hurt in this way for a very long time until a woman went in and saw for herself, the torture that took place. There is more information in the article. To me, this is crazy. That I could have been in one of these situations. It's a scary thought. Luckily, it will never happen again in a America. Not since the ADA that was passed in 1990. I thank my lucky stars to be born in a time such as this.

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