75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz: Invisible Hate Crime of the Deaf

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Nancy Rourke’s Deaf Survivors of the Holocaust

Around the world commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the greatest pain of the camp where six million Jewish prisoners of the German Nazis were murdered, humiliated, suffered. and targeted, today on January 27th, 2020 is the Holocaust Memorial Day, we must continue to challenge hatred. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on an educational tour around the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex in Poland, on December 6, 2019, must-have impacted her life by now. I quote, by Angel Merkel’s powerful words: “I feel a sense of shame for the barbaric crimes that were here committed by Germans—crimes that are unfathomable.”

I am struggling to get through this post because there is a problem where people interchangeably use language bigotry with what should be called hate. Hate cannot be compared to any other words. Hate is its own beast with the terrible history that should be recognized by all and the suffering of Deaf people cannot be compared to any other oppression. This is a severe case of non-compliance, and pure oppression.

Often, people use ignorance and compare it to their own oppression. This is problematic for a number of reasons. If you want to write a piece on hate, it has to be about hate. If you want to call this language bigotry, then you can call it language bigotry, you cannot call it to hate. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Jack Levin, professor emeritus at Northeastern University and co-director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict states: “When people think of hate crimes, they think of neo-Nazis, they think of racism, they think of homophobia, they just don’t seem to think of people with disabilities as being a protected category. I call it the invisible hate crime.”

However, ‘Deaf Jews’ were murdered, Deaf schoolchildren were sterilized, and those who survived, even rendered unable to ever have children, considered themselves lucky, seen as the most notorious minority group, ‘Deaf’ were the first people to be targeted, in the name of the most barbaric thinking; Is it not unfathomable? Imagine all the execution walls. 

Deaf people in the Holocaust is being treated invisible, but to focus on hearing-dominated choices, instead of exploiting Deaf people and trying to present a life that allows them to feel tolerant; However, those very Deaf people who survived the Holocaust, presents the struggles and triumphs of their lives in a human way.

Two books: ‘Crying Hands: Eugenics and Deaf People in Nazi Europe’ by Horst Biesold, and ‘Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe’ by Donna F. Ryan, where I wrote an essay project for Hate Crime and Bias class 13 years ago. That opened my eyes. This assault in our democracy, leading a fight against hate.

“Yet this most stigmatized group is not often viewed through the lens of compassion and understanding, only modern forms of old ignorance. The Deaf community has gone through considerable evolution, but hate crime remains invisible in the face of society.” (Tozier, 2007)

What happened in Holocaust is forever scarred by facing a moment of the growing pain, Deaf people had been profiled by Germans and needs to be held accountable about Deaf people in Holocaust for its culturally labeled in hate and bias, because it is not enough talked about the fabrication of human civilization and their identity.

The best description of the deep feeling of admiration for the language and the culture of the Deaf, and when it comes to the Deaf, we should just respect their language and culture, full stop. When social media choose not to talk enough about Deaf victims and survivors in the Holocaust, losing respect is a tragic loss in the world. 

Much like Deaf Jews being murdered, ending up on the wrong side of the hatred and bullying by expressing views seemingly on the right side of a power-hunger in cultural hegemony. The witch-hunting of the Deaf is not the answer, extensively on the social construction of “Deafness”.

There are many and many historic written articles around social media (NPR, The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, BBC, et al) about German Chancellor Angela Merkel visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, none of them had mentioned Deaf Jewish prisoners as the first people to be murdered.

Merkel said in the New York Times article written by Melissa Eddy: “We are witnessing and experiencing an attack on the fundamental values of liberal democracy and a very dangerous historical revisionism that serves a hostility that is directed at specific groups”

A powerful piece by BBC where it can be found on YouTube, BBC: ‘The Deaf Holocaust’, Deaf People and Nazi Germanyof Aktion T4 survivors sharing their experiences. The trend of discrimination has been documented from the Holocaust forward. When I visited the United States Holocaust Museum for the first time, I was blown away that it was not enough documented about Deaf people. That is a good example of the invisible hate crime.

Last March 2019, a performance by Deaf actresses and actors held at George Washington University: ‘Crying Hands: Deaf People in Hitler’s Germany’ sends a powerful message: “based on interviews of Deaf Holocaust and civilian survivors, explores the fates of the Deaf and disabled in Nazi Germany, a neglected story of the Holocaust.” 

When the Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933, Hitler was obsessed with racial purity, the notion that nature had created a superior Aryan race. Persons who were of “mixed-race” and those with disabilities, chronic diseases (e.g. epilepsy), mental handicaps, and illnesses, etc, were to be weeded out of society or prevented from reproducing. Between 1933 and 1945, some 17,000 Deaf people were sterilized. The youngest was nine years old.

Hitler masterminded the barbaric attacks. The consequences were grave, nothing powerful than this. “Deaf people in Hitler’s Europe were among those who were killed by the Nazis during the Third Reich because they were Jews, others because as congenitally deaf people, they were considered “defective” and “biologically inferior” (Gilbert, 1998) 

The Nazi campaign against the handicapped begun in 1933 with the passage by the Reichstag of the Law for the Prevention of offspring with hereditary diseases. The conditions were mental illness, retardation, hereditary blindness, and hereditary deafness. 17,000 out of 375,000 people were Deaf people. 28 percent of 17,000 Deaf people were under the age of 18. Nine (9) percent were women who were already pregnant.

Hitler created a secret campaign called Aktion T-4 to mass-murder disabled people because they were “life unworthy of life.” Infants with disabilities were the first victims. (Gilbert, 1998)

Reminder: Not only Deaf Jewish were targeted, but also Deaf Germans and Deaf Polish Jewish, too.

Any kind of participation would go a long way to raising awareness in the community about some of the unique issues that arise in matters involving Deaf survivors in Holocaust and to providing them examples of positive examples of how with community and support, plus the right resources, contributing to the community is possible. 

We cannot ignore hate crimes that must be challenged by us all. No matter what. There were older blog posts to share with the readers. As the only Deaf lecturer focusing on hate crimes in the Deaf community, available for lectures below. 

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/tag/deaf-people-in-hitlers-europe/

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2019/03/10/crying-hands-deaf-people-in-hitlers-germany-reflection/

https://www.nancyrourke.com/deafsurvivorsholocaust.htm

https://jasontozier.net

-JT 

Copyright © 2020 Jason Tozier 

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message. 

References: 

Gilbert, Jean (1998). Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe. Gallaudet Today, September 1998.

Tozier, Jason (2007). Negative Perceptions of Deaf Individuals in Relation to Knowledge of American Language. March 2007.

Eddy, Melissa. (2019). Visiting Auschwitz, Merkel Warns Against Danger to Liberal Democracy. New York Times. December 2019. 

The Long Silence of Forgotten Audism

Since Tom Humphries coined “Audism” in late ‘70s for his Ph.D., his vision of seeing a lot of Deaf people being oppressed so frightening that as Tom did not give any professional lectures about it. Almost four decades later, Humphries does not believe in it to pretend that Audism exist. Is Audism controversial? I remember reading a book, The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community that was published in 1992 while I was a sophomore in high school, I did not read the book until 1999.

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Harlan Lane, Carl Schroeder and I had a private meeting in 2010. He signed the very same book I read in 1999. 

There are millions of poor Deaf people, any kind of color in America that are suffering from pain and exploitation they all had in common, as a lover of freedom and liberty for all Deaf people to enjoy, I believe that efforts to build a law that recognizes Audism through stories, hard facts, and professional opinion, basic elements that are commonly missing when discussing “Audism” in the society.

If I coined a term whatever it is, I would make sure I educate the country, no matter what how long it is because it is my social responsibility and civil duty to continue educates Deaf people.

Let’s face up to it, Mr. Tom Humphries, there are millions of Deaf people who might look up on you, in a sphere of heavily steeped emotionalism, political struggle, power struggle, and human struggle that are completely ignored and continue to ignore Audism that exists today and tomorrow. I was one of them who look up to you. I own a painting of your face done by Nancy Rourke along with 12 faces in my personal space that was supposed to make all difference.

Is Tom Humphries still a scholar today? As in a book chapter called Audism: Exploring the Metaphysics of Oppression by hearing chair of ASL and Deaf Studies department at Gallaudet University, H-Dirksen L. Bauman writes:

However, it is was not until 1975 when a Deaf scholar, Tom Humphries, decided it was time to name the discrimination against Deaf persons and to coin a term that would be part of the currency of discussions on human rights, deaf education, and employment.”

Audism did not discuss until 1992. Why long silence? Funny thing that I was struggling in schools, home life, and personal life because of long-silenced treatment that Audism exists. Talking about Audism has often occurred in the context of angry words, hostility, accusations, and divisiveness.

This coming Friday and Saturday, April 14th and April 15th, there will be rally sponsored by Audism Free America (AFA) celebrating 200 years of American Sign Language (ASL), Deaf Education and their stories through the power, freedom, and justice to fight against Audism to let the society know that it is a permanent movement.

Where is your empowerment, Humphries? That was 42 years ago—and Deaf people would be empowered by now instead of being in silence about it. Since 1880 Milan Resolution, Deaf people have been survivors of the longest hate crime in American history. We refuse to live in hearing superiority. They need to respect Deaf people—the more respect, less Audism. In Humphries’s words:

The notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears. It is the bias and prejudice of hearing people against deaf people, it is the bias and prejudice of some deaf people against other deaf people.”

Although, the society that I envision is one that maximizes freedom and liberties for ALL Deaf people coming from walk of life—the concept of ignorance is what completes the loop of full justice even at Gallaudet University.

Yet, Bauman writes, “The term now appears at all levels of the Deaf Studies curriculum at Gallaudet University, from Introduction to Deaf Studies to Deaf Cultural Studies.”

I was asked to give a lecture at Gallaudet University a month ago and found that Deaf students who comes from mainstreaming schools, some of them are juniors and sophomores at Gallaudet has no idea what Audism stands for or do not know who George Veditz is, or Alexander Graham Bell, even the story about Milan. It’s very serious problem. I call it “Social Problem 101”.

Gallaudet University needs to bring stronger ethics and require ALL Deaf students to take at least 12 credits in Deaf Studies and Deafhood courses even though if they are not ASL/Deaf Studies majors.

Perhaps we should re-frame the question: How can Audism protect Deaf people from future social problems? In this case, the answer probably lies in higher learning and lectures. How would you answer this, Tom Humphries? Deaf people who are survivors of Audism do not need to be forgotten even in long silence.

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-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

References:

Humphries, T. (1975). Audism: The Making of a Word. Unpublished essay. 

Lane, H. (1992). The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community.

Bauman, H-Dirksen L. (2004). Audism: Exploring the Metaphysics of Oppression.

AGBell’s America: Who Would You Be?

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Remember that shithead? Art done by Zeppe Art. Bravo!

Bread-and-buttered for the first 23 years in Scotland, Alexander Graham Bell (A.G. Bell) relocated to Canada. In 2002, he was mistakenly credited as the “father” of telephone; it was later discovered that A.G. Bell was not the inventor; he had only been the first to claim the patient. There also exists plenty of research pointing to the fact that A.G. Bell stole the telephone idea from Italian inventor Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci.

In 1890, Bell founded the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (AAPTSD), later the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AGBADHH) in Washington, D.C; Bell was a renowned manipulator of others, especially those close to him — his Deaf mother, Eliza Grace Symonds and his Deaf wife, Mabel Gardiner Hubbard were two examples.

Bell was a champion of eugenics (selective breeding), and served as the chair of the board of scientific advisors for the Eugenics Record Office. He also served as honorary president for the Second International Eugenics Conference a year before his death.

One hundred and thirty-two years later, AGBADHH is still attacking the Deaf community, claiming that oralism is the only way to educate Deaf children. In this same 132-year span, America has had 24 presidents.

Audism, and hatred of Deaf culture and ASL, has been a hard fact since the Second International Congress on Education of the Deaf held in Milan, Italy, when the majority of hearing attendees voted to ban sign language from Deaf education — largely due to A.G. Bell’s efforts. On that day, he became the happiest man in the world.

For the first 20 years after the conference, 90% of Deaf teachers were removed from their positions, replaced by hearing teachers who utilized the oralist method. A.G. Bell was responsible for the greatest fraud, and the biggest case of language bigotry, in Deaf Education that continues today.

AGBADHH followers have committed countless acts that could easily be labeled as hate crimes. But standing on the souls of A.G. Bell survivors — there are thousands, if not millions, of them — while trying to find souls they once knew to remember the pursuit of happiness, is repulsive to normal people.

Why would anyone doubt the veracity of AGBADHH’s claims? After all, who would want to “remain” Deaf, if following the organization’s misguided perspectives? A.G. Bell supporters have constantly stooped to the lowest common denominator to continue AGBell’s legacy of hatred toward Deaf people. His supporters constantly mock sign language, demean people who sign, and undertake efforts to make oralism the only method in schools again. The list goes on.

We — the Deaf community — need to depend on each other to heal. In healthy discourse, we must not lose our sight of the value of ASL — a human right that is not only beneficial, but also absolutely vital for Deaf people’s well being.  AGBADHH supporters have been taught to be attached to Bell’s original anger and make sure they continue to dwell on or recycle this anger.

Today, Deaf people — those who sign, and many who also speak — are united in full force to protect the community. The mere existence of AGBADHH has caused a cognitive dissonance among the Deaf community. The organization has promoted un-American values, especially among those who sign.

Just take a look at what outgoing AGBADHH president Meredith Sugar said in April 2016:

“It is our hope to dispel the myths about deafness and spread the word that deaf children can hear & talk. What it means to be ‘deaf’ has changed.”

That is what Alexander Graham Bell’s America looked like to him. Bell and his followers have done unimaginable damage, and left in its trail an astounding number of survivors still struggling to recover. If you are part of AGBADHH and trying to get out, it’s not your fault. Simply turn to those who have been there — and discover the truth.

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Laughing at AGBell aka shithead above–I am freed from AGBell! Sitting behind me is the painting of Nancy Rourke’s Mask of Benevolence

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

 

 

 

Is It Right Time To Be An American in Deaf Community?

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A proud owner of this art!

Good morning! So, today is America’s 239th birthday. I shed a tear right now in my eyes. Deaf people today are still unemployed and underemployed, the worst minority group of all around 80%. In the same land of America created a learning environment that would grow into discrimination each day. Deaf people were taught to depend on their hearing relatives, friends, or neighbors because they heard information firsthand and that Deaf people always get it secondhand. It would be nice if America develop Audism in the list of discrimination, you know when people learn how to recognize common types of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment—and what to do if they become survivors. Well, Deaf people are the biggest survivors of all—it is a proven fact.

There are many stories that Deaf people suffer bullying, retaliation, threats, and other factors in the workplace today. How come the employment did not follow the policy? It is important to understand that the organizing principle of power wherein culture can be studied through technologies of power—not progress, not education, not conflict, not struggle, and not resistance.

For someone who have the great pride of being an American, power is a strategy attributable to functions, neither economy nor politics. Power creates truth, and this truth produces a function of power. Does America teach the need to heal from the traumas of living in less than a just, sacred and sustainable country and to resist the further destruction of Deaf community? Legal protection for the Deaf people is not without precedent. The unemployed and underemployed on Deaf people will have only the most marginal of impacts on hiring them—in reality, any company worth its salt will never make any job offer until all references and decisions are thoroughly completed and verified.

By that point, the likelihood is very high that the being Deaf will have come to light anyway—at that stage, and depending on what the employment involves then it is judgmental call. It is time to address the question no one asks as means to poke holes in critical attitudes towards Deaf people. Despite the obvious existence of negative portrayals of Deaf people in high regard, it is better to think that way that Deaf people are definitely changing for the better. Varying ideas of Deaf-owned businesses are coming into consideration, more than anything.

Although, I experience the most severe bullying in the name of the book, there are times that I struggle as an American. Yet, I celebrate America’s birthday for three reasons today: Bill of Rights, the intersection of social justice, and diplomacy of Deafhood framework. The fireworks are in the order. Happy birthday, America and American Sign Language, too!

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

THE FLAG DAY: DEAFHOOD DIALOGUE

walkdeafunionNancy Rourke’s Everywhere We Stand

Today is the day we celebrate Flag Day. There are so many things I wanted to write about this particular day why it is important to recognize this meaning of the flag. I was born in America. For many years I had been bullied for being different. Why different? People in the society do not view Deaf as a normal human being. I am deeply concerned about the future of our country. The flag represents freedom for everybody with dignity and security. I look upon Mars in my 11th house, the house of wish fulfillment, to help me write. Here on the cusp of drama and criticism, my Mars attacks people and friends, and get super angry about power struggles. It is the crucial time of your life than ever because it will lead you into the world of intellectual freedom and empowerment.

Oppression presents sociology that helps people to transcend ordinary reality by creating a shift in perception that opens the study to the value of oppression in everyday Deaf life. This is real. It is beyond the truth! Deaf people must protect their quest to personify their health and wisdom into healthy discourses. A source of inspiration and when I first read Mask of Benevolence by Harlan Lane 16 years ago, my mind hit something important enough that I kept reading until I hit a passion.

Deaf people who have been survivors of many things had been on journey, most of part, rough journey after an incident. Part of this has been my intention to write a book, but I am not mature enough for the process, or maybe I am too mature! I look back on what I had written and it is pretty painful. I get hurt. I do not like what I had written. It is the stream of consciousness, but I do know the censorship of this stream that Karl White complains about Deaf babies that are not implanted enough.

I had gotten flashes of insight that comes up and I am thinking now that I do not want to talk about that. I had have gotten three pens working now and I simply change hands whenever my hands get tired. I can write whatever I want; I can write whatever strikes my fancy. Toothbrush. Wild beats. I can create a new sociological concept I think of what Deaf people had suffered in the hands of American oppressors. My mind fills in the gaps. It will start thinking. It is going to come up with something you still want to read and I have got to struck it out and keep writing. When my hands hurt, I have to switch to typing. I am interested in success.

What is success here, George W. Bush? I am not sure! Remember No Child Left Behind (NCLB) movement created by Bush’s administration. The function of Deaf education, under the banner of NCLB mandatory, is to reveal to Deaf children their great defeat because American Sign Language suffers the hegemony of English. At the same time, in today’s higher education Deaf people receive today, appears uncomfortable with the achievements of their own past. The higher education, so often the means to our profession and advancement, now finds itself operating under a cloud of oppression that it falls under a wrong agenda.

Deaf people who experiences severe oppression will get them there. I want 200 pages manuscript I can write down. Full pages. And I have to get to strip it down. I choose to celebrate Deaf flag. The idea was coined by Arnaud Balard, a Deaf fellow in France.

Nietzsche says I should want to cause as much as suffering as possible. If I want greatness, but maybe if that is the case, I do not want greatness. I do not know. I wrote a lot to myself. The evolution of oppression is interesting, and I have a whole bunch of stories to put in there. Passion! Passion! Passion! Once Deaf people are survivors of American oppression, they are not paid archivists. They are your enemies and keep that in your mind that they want you to lose some of them. Sure, because so many of them are dreadfully embarrassing. They are introspective, but only first draft introspective, like a high schooler that reads John Steinbeck. If it were impossible, you cannot do it.

Anyway, like, would you stick it out with a Deaf person who experiences an American oppression? How about not as successful as you are? How about if they have some pipe dream about a manuscript and their creativity because of their reasoning that Jupiter was in their 5th house when they were born? And what if one of them were just writing to you and you were not supposed at all but just reading something they wrote?

There is where I live! I am better at believing in myself and use my strength when I experience oppression in my life. In Deaf community, nothing seems alive to me. It does not scream at me to be known to be done. I have to find it. I have to jump in. The feeling of jumping into a cold pool. I wish I had a ton of money to donate to Deafhood Foundation. I will find good luck somewhere in this world.

This is my Deaf Flag Day….and……..this is my Deafhood dialogue.

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message

Heroes of Human Rights

solidarityNancy Rourke’s Solidarity

Human right is an important example that has deceived not only me, but also the graduating students of 2015, also it is the failure of higher education in the most cynical, outrageous ways that allowed the keynote speaker, Vinton Cerf to preach hate speech in the eyes of breaking the democracy of a human life. He has breached trust with Deaf community in the most egregious ways. Gallaudet University has utterly failed in the performance of keynote speakers.

December 10th is the date we all must remember for two important reasons. Reverend Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet’s birthday and the International Human Rights Day, and graduating Deaf students are to celebrate the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights every day in Gallaudet halls. That is what Rev. Thomas Gallaudet wanted.

The contradiction of this blog post on how hate expressed in the community is the attempt to express a human language that is not matter-of-fact, when I, and my knowledge, and being a survivor of hate speech for years, my own conditioning are matter-of-fact. The high demand to educate about human rights in Deaf America, it is the nature and magnitude of the problem. When you are reading this, share the awareness with your friends, family, lost souls, and whoever they are!

Becoming an activist is very often a passion unlike the selection of advocates. People are often driven to become activists. For some, it is the beauty of the language or the aesthetic grace of an interpretation. For others, it is the love of ASL and pursing meaning from communication and still for others, it is about service to the Deaf community and humankind.

Whatever the reason behind the selection of an activist as a major course of study or career, there are steps to take to ensure that the transition to students how to stand up against hate bias, crimes, literature, speech and eventually “certified” activists are taken with the fewest obstacles possible.

Vinton Cerf presented a damaged prism through which to view the history of Deaf people, his rapid journey through the technology marvels, voyages of exploration and exploitation, all seen from the vantage point of Alexander Graham Bell Association’s effect on the development of genocide makes “entertaining” presentation. Does it wring your neck when you read this? I understand. Protect your Deaf mind!

HUMAN + RIGHTS= ?

In the next five topics, human rights had been developed to solicit discourses, discussions, and dialogues. These concepts that govern my thoughts are not just matters of my intelligence. They also govern the Deaf people in their everyday functioning, down to the most mandate details. Our concepts structure what we see, how we perceive the world, and how we relate to each other as Deaf people. Our conceptual system plays a central role in defining our realities. There is only one way to find out. I hope to share the same inspiration with my readers.

  • Human rights are Deaf people’s principles meaning of understanding reality and communicating that understanding to others.

     

  • The essence of human rights is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another

     

  • As we make a journey in ignoring human rights, more surfaces are created.

     

  • Human rights encode our past

     

  • If the human rights in Deaf community are not strongly present in the media, the young generation of the Deaf will be economically and culturally marginalized.

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message

Task Force for the Creation of Deaf Culturally Competent Training for Service Providers of Deaf Children Survivors of Sexual Assault

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I submit the accompanying request for proposal, “Task Force for the Creation of Deaf Culturally Competent Training for Service Providers of Deaf Children Survivors of Sexual Assault”, to implore the creation of a specific Task Force dedicated to improving first responder services to Deaf children survivors of sexual assault.

Deaf children have a unique set of barriers to accessing services when a violent has been committed against them. Many agencies may not have a uniform policy for dealing with Deaf children and their staff may lack a core cultural competence necessary for understanding the unique barriers faced by those survivors. Due to their unique barriers, Deaf children survivors under-report crimes perpetrated against them. The creation of a Task Force to implement a comprehensive training for medical providers, law enforcement, social service advocates, will improve Deaf children survivors’ access to service.

I would like to present an executive summary along with the research that shows that 50% of Deaf children will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Deaf children are more likely than hearing children to be survivors of violent crimes. It is certainly demonstrates the enormous psychological and physical impact on Deaf children survivors of sexual assault.

Despite this data, research specific to the prevalence to Deaf children survivors has not adequately been addressed.  Studies do suggest that violent sexual crimes against Deaf children are under-reported.  Deaf cultural competence, specialized services, and improved means of communication with Deaf children survivors will result in more effective service interventions.

Deaf children survivors of sexual assault face special barriers to accessing services. Deaf children survivors suffer from inefficient agency communication systems, and a general provider lack of awareness of the cultural lens of Deafhood and Deaf communities. Deafhood discourses shows that in Paddy Ladd’s book, Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood, political and administrative discourses, academic discourses, specialist discourses, medical discourses, scientific discourses, and media discourses. There is more to this—colonialism and 20th century Deaf Divisions: Linguistic colonialism, colonialism as loss of history and traditions, colonialism and mental health must not be forgotten.

Hooks writes, “For most minority cultures, then, retaining and maintaining a strong historical self is crucial to their pride and to their ability to resist majority-culture constructs of what they should be.”

Ladd writes in page 321, “In Deaf minority cultures, because 90% of parent-child relations are ‘cross-cultural’, the role of Deaf history as transmitted through the education system is of particularly crucial import. Its removal or denial can arguably have especial significance for the mental health of the individual….” The key point is CRUCIAL IMPORT. That is why it is in BOLD statement.

The image below shows that Deaf children are the missing pieces to the real world—they do not simply exist in the real world as shown in Nancy Rourke’s painting, “The Missing Piece”.

themissingpieceMEDAs a result, Deaf children survivors endure increased isolation and under-report crimes committed against them. Deaf children survivors can be more effectively served through development of a special Task Force spearheaded by the county in your area, to specially train front line staff whose assist Deaf children survivors in crisis.

Wherever the county you are in, can partner with local governmental, and social service agencies to encourage, through specialized training, highly skilled staff advocates knowledgeable on the special issues affecting Deaf children that may prevent them from seeking help.

The advocacy skills learned through the trainings will positively enable agents from law enforcement, hospitals, the justice department and child protective services to more effectively communicate with Deaf children in crisis in the greater area, and provide a culturally competent delivery of service that is accessible and comprehensive.

The report introduction shows that there are not enough integrated resources to assist Deaf children of violent sexual crimes. Lack of understanding of the unique experiences of these survivors, their history of frustration to accessing adequate services after a crime as occurred, results in barriers to services to these children. The creation of a Task Force to implement a comprehensive training for medical providers, law enforcement, social service advocates, will improve Deaf children survivors’ access to service.

With the analysis of data, since there is Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization has added, I certainly hope that 50% of Deaf children who experiences sexual assault be recognized in there similar to Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1990. In addition, Deaf children are more likely than hearing children to be survivors of childhood sexual assault and continue to feel the effects of rape or assault well after the crime has been committed. I was one of them when I was ten years old and I am still feeling the effects of it at age of 40. I had been suffering from depression, and abuse alcohol to cover my pain is evident enough to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Despite the alarming rates of sexual assault against Deaf children, very little research examines the rates at which Deaf children are sexually assaulted. Less formal research examines whether Deaf children survivors seek help after the crime, who assists them, and how service providers and law enforcement can best respond. More research is needed to fully understand the scope of sexual assault and its prevalence in Deaf communities.

Moreover, additional research of community response to Deaf children survivors is necessary to create an understanding of sexual assault in the Deaf community and develop an appropriate systemic service response. Deaf children who are survivors of sexual assault differ from the experience of hearing survivors.

In addition to the stigma and stereotypes placed on them as survivors, Deaf children also deal with the additional stereotypes attributed to them via their Deaf status. Their feelings of shame and embarrassment multiply due to belonging to a close-knit Deaf cultural community. Deaf children are hesitant to report crimes, especially if the perpetrator belongs to the Deaf community. Reporting could publicize their survivor’s status within this community, which Deaf children often perceive will be unsupportive. As a result, the sexual assault can produce a profound feeling of isolation.

Another barrier stems from the failure of our hearing-based culture to recognize Deaf children. Services often view Deafness as a medical impairment. Many Deaf children do not see themselves as disabled, but members of a distinct cultural, linguistic group. This cultural lens affects their interactions with service providers who do not recognize Deaf culture. Communication difficulties often result.

Communication systems are often lacking when Deaf children seek help. Many agencies do not readily have an interpreter available. The agents may rely on family members to get survivors’ story, resulting in further embarrassment and reluctance of the survivor to report the crime.

Even if interpreters are present, a Deaf child must now report her or his story to two strangers instead of one. Access to Ubi Duo owned by sCOMM or trained staff who can operate this technology, is often unreliable, despite ADA law mandating this technology to patients (ADA Training Brief 2). Frustrating experiences with hearing “dispatchers” and law enforcement further dissuade Deaf children survivors from getting help.

A greater understanding of Deaf perception to service provision, and communication issues, is necessary to improve services to Deaf children survivors of Sexual assault in order to better address their cultural and individual needs. Along with the conclusion from analysis, the data suggests that interveners often lack the communication skills and systems to address the needs of Deaf children survivors of sexual assault.

American Sign Language interpreters are not always readily available to assist Deaf survivors, and interveners often resort to interpreters only when more traditional communication has failed.

Many agencies may not have a uniform policy for dealing with Deaf children survivors and their staff may lack a core cultural competence necessary for understand the unique barriers faced by these victims. Due to their unique barriers, Deaf children survivors under-report crimes perpetrated against them. As no reliable tracking exists of how and when Deaf children seek out services, statistics fail to accurately portray the level of survivorship faced by Deaf children, and the frequency in which they access help from law enforcement, hospitals, or social service agencies. Inadequate tracking results in inadequate preparedness in front line response. Lack of readiness creates an inadequate service response.

Response time increases when an interpreter is located. This could cause front line staff to use family members for interpretation, or attempt to glean details of the assault through less effective, incomplete methods of communication.

Staff is not efficiently trained in communication systems like Ubi Duo; If Ubi Duo is unavailable, the introduction of more efficient, advanced communication such as certified ASL interpreters are unlikely to be introduced. Also, personnel trained in conversational ASL are not qualified interpreters. Instead, Deaf children must rely on interpreters who are available but may not have the level of expressive and receptive sign competence needed in sensitive emergency situations.

There is much needed tremendous opportunity to shape and transform existing service for Deaf children survivors into services that offer comprehensive support, safety, and healing to survivors through medical, legal, and social advocacy.

For example, Deaf Counseling Center, Deaf Hope, et al provides as front line to become staunch hospital advocates, accompanying and supporting sexual assaults in need of forensic exams. Law enforcement and county prosecutors will become important advocates as Deaf children survivors navigate the criminal and legal systems to obtain protective orders and Deaf-specific legal supports. Mental health, sexual assault services can serve as community educators of topics directly related to psychological, medical, and social issues faced by Deaf children. Services specific to the needs of Deaf children survivors of sexual assault can promote healing.

Opposition to the development this task force concerns the development of an adequate training model. Where can best practices and culturally competent protocols be attained? Deaf Counseling Center is one of few organizations that offers technical training to service providers. The organization offers important pertinent training modules, including: sexual assault advocate certification, sexual assault in the Deaf community, Deaf culture, becoming accessible to Deaf children survivors.

Similar trainings can be found through ADWAS, a Seattle-based organization that has successfully duplicated its programs in cities across the country. Trainings useful to the Task Force include: education to understand issues of Deaf culture and language, professional development, providers working with Deaf children on issues of sexual assault, interpreter training on appropriate signs in criminal justice proceedings and medical settings.When I experienced sexual assault when I was ten years old, I never had of that stuff like today. Back in 1984, there was no training that would lay groundwork for a comprehensive integrated approach to service provision for Deaf children survivors nor culturally competent services did not result in increased access by members of the Deaf community and result in less taxpayer dollars in the long run. Ubi Duo owned by sCOMM is not healthy AT ALL. It hurts Deaf children even more.

I lived in the hearing community that destroyed my life than people can imagine. I was a forgotten survivor of sexual assault. The hearing world is very cruel.

Visit Deaf Counseling Center website for more information:

http://www.deafcounseling.com/

Visit Deaf Hope for more information:

http://www.deaf-hope.org/

Visit ADWAS for more information:

http://www.adwas.org/

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

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