We’re Not a Threat to your Community

Every time a group home asks to be allowed to operate in a neighborhood, there is immediate opposition.  People see group home residents as mentally ill.  They see mentally ill people as violent criminals.  The reality is that only a small percentage of mentally ill people are criminals (just as a small amount of CEOs are unethical….well, I won’t go there, even though nobody is trying to keep CEOs out of their neighborhood).

In San Francisco, an autistic teenage girl was kidnapped and raped over the course of two days after leaving her group home.

This incredibly horrible crime demonstrates – again – that disabled people are typically victims, not perpetrators  of crime.

It also, again, demonstrates that group homes don’t provide 24×7 surveillance of residents as many think they do.  I don’t believe most people need 24×7 surveillance, but a lot of people use the assumed need for 24×7 surveillance by group home residents with the presumed presence of 24×7 surveillance as justification for not funding in-home support (“Having someone there 24×7 in one person’s home would cost too much.”).  nevermind that’s not what happens in the types of institutions (group homes, for instance) that people think should be funded.

I do hope and pray for the recovery of the victim, physically and mentally.  I also hope and pray for justice, and that the victim will not be re-victimized in the criminal justice process.  Note also I disagree with the linked article’s characterization of any 16-year-old as “[having] the mental capacity of a 9-year-old.”  A 16-year-old may perform on one or more diagnostic instruments in a similar way to a typical 9-year-old, but the brain is a bit more complex than a one-dimensional statement would imply.

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