According to dictionary.com, filicide is
- a person who kills his or her son or daughter
- the act of killing one’s son or daughter
ASAN, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, is offering an anti-filicide toolkit. It’s both horrifying and necessary. In fact, according to ASAN, since 2010, more than 70 people have been murdered by their parents.
“A parent kills their disabled child. The media portrays these murders as justifiable and inevitable due to the “burden” of having a disabled person in the family. If the parent stands trial, they are given sympathy and comparatively lighter sentences, if they are sentenced at all. The victims are disregarded, blamed for their own murder at the hands of the person they should have been able to trust the most, and ultimately forgotten.”
The advice in the toolkit is extremely helpful, but it’s also extremely sad. The fact that people have to be told that they should condemn the murder and mourn the victim…that it’s bad to imply that it’s better to be dead than disabled…that filicide should not be called ‘mercy-killing.’
Why do we need to tell people these things? Why isn’t this common knowledge?
Go and check out the ASAN page. Read their toolkit. Share it. Make it common knowledge.
ASAN – for those that don’t know – is an awesome and amazing organization. It’s the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and if you aren’t following it on Facebook or Twitter and not donating to it, you should be. The reason they are awesome and amazing is that they aren’t just people talking about Autism; they are people with Autism, telling everyone else what they want. It’s not like Autism Speaks (who has no Autistic members in their higher-ups).
So today they posted up a link to an older piece; one called “Understandable.” It’s a hotly debated topic, and one that I’ve read many other articles about, but I think that their fictional piece captures it so much better than all the other things I’ve read.
The basic purpose of the piece is this: it is not “understandable” that parents would murder their children because their children have disabilities. You should not sympathize with parents who murder their children because the children have disabilities. It is not okay when parents murder their children because their children have disabilities.
To break it down to its most basic point: don’t kill people. Don’t kill children. Don’t kill adults. Just don’t fucking kill people.
Now, to get into more of the details of it.
One of the arguments that gets made is that the parents are under stress; they are dealing with issues, and they feel overwhelmed. They worry. They don’t get enough services. They don’t get enough help.
Well join the club. I understand what it feels like to be overwhelmed, what it feels like to wish for more services, what it feels like to wish for more help. Having a child at all is difficult; having a child with a severe disability is difficult, too. But murder is not an option. It shouldn’t even be on the table. No one should think, “Hmmm, this is hard, so I’ll just kill someone to make my life easier.”
Another issue that often comes up in the argument (should there even *be* an argument here??) is that parents worry about the future and what will happen to their disabled child. Again, I understand the worry. I don’t know what Simon will be like at 13…at 14…at 18…at 21. Will we be struggling to pay for him to be in an assisted living community? Will he be living with us? Will he need day care for adults? Will he have a job? A girlfriend? A boyfriend? Who will be there to take care of him when we’re not? All valid concerns, right?
A lot of those concerns are also true of the elderly. They need help, they need care, they can cause a lot of worry to their relatives who want them to have the best possible lives. But how many times do we read about a child killing their parents because of “worry” or “stress” and think, “Hey, I understand. We all might snap if we have to take care of our parents.” Sounds pretty unbelievable, right? If you saw it in the news, you’d be outraged, not “understanding.”
So, again, I’ll repeat the basic point: don’t kill people.