People with disabilities are often labelled as being angry or having a victim mentality. It’s not that we are angry we are just frustrated. Frustrated at the fact that we live in societies that discriminate against us, we live in societies that do not want to include nor accommodate us, we live in societies where we are educated separately from other children. We are frustrated at the fact that we are the largest minority group in the world yet those who are not like us are not interested in us. In fact they have made and continue to make life difficult for us.
For a long time i constantly heard the words “ Colleen don’t have a victim mentality.” I believed those words. After all being a “victim” has negative connotations and as a Christian how dare i call myself such a vile thing. So for many years i convinced myself that i was not a “victim,” i told myself that i was not a victim, i refused to accept or call myself a victim because that’s what society told me, no that’s what society dictated to me.In a bid to fit into this “not victim” identity i had created and was attempting to live, i became a person i am not.
I began to identify myself as not having a disability. The words “the only disability in life is a bad attitude” became my daily mantra. I convinced rather lied to myself that i could do anything i wanted to do. I tried to fit into what society had dictated to me. I tried to do things like them. The more i tried to live out this “not victim identity” the more i lost myself. The more i tried to live out this “not victim identity” the more i hated myself. The more i tried to live out this “not victim identity” the more i lost my voice and confidence. I began to drown deeper and deeper into this sea of lies i had believed. Instead of this new identity liberating me, it imprisoned me! It imprisoned me in a mind that was not my own. It imprisoned me to live a lie. It imprisoned me to live a life that was not my own. I was frustrated. I was hurt. I was confused. I did what society had asked me to do which is not have a victim mentality but they still treated me badly. They still would not listen to my struggles and challenges.
So what went wrong i asked? What went wrong was me believing a lie. What went wrong was me allowing other people specifically people without disabilities to dictate to me how i should feel or view myself. I allowed people who were not interested in my daily struggles to dictate how i should feel or view myself. It was all a lie, nothing but a LIE! As much as the non-disabled sector refuses to accept and acknowledge that people with disabilities are victims, we are in fact victims. Victims of a society that discriminates against us. Victims of a society that is not interested in what we go through. Victims of a society that refuses to acknowledge our existence. Victims of a society that does not listen to us. Victims of a society that does not include us. Victims of a society that thinks they know what is best for us without actually consulting us. Victims of a society that wants to deny the existence of our disabilities.
A child is not disabled because they cannot walk or see. They are disabled by a society that excludes them.-UNICEF(2014).