I am not like the others.
I don't want to be.
I refuse the name.
Some background for those not following the story of Issy Stapleton and her abusive mother Kelli, who attempted to kill her just over one year ago. Recently, Kelli was on The Dr. Phil Show continuing to play the victim and exploit Issy, shortly thereafter she pleaded to a lesser charge of child abuse, and this past week Kelli was sentenced to 11-22 years in prison. It is a judgment I am mostly satisfied with. Issy will be grown before her would-be-murderer gets out. At the same time, I know that this sentence is likely less than a parent would receive should they have attempted to kill their own non-Disabled child.
I have been following the story. I have been speaking out. I have a vested interest. My kids do. The way Kelli has blamed Issy and Autism for her own horrific attempts to take a life, the way our society, Dr. Phil, and especially other parents of Autistic children are relating to her instead of the true victim Issy, and the way this shameless, selfish mother has made her name, all of these things hurt Autistic people. My kids.
To portray Issy as the abuser is not just. She is a disabled child that has been relentlessly taken advantage of. She was provoked. Her mother hated Autism, wanted a normal child, spoke about her as if she were a mistake.
Kelli had the power in the parent child relationship, which is clearly demonstrated in the fact that Issy was sent to a residential treatment facility for the majority of the year leading up to the almost-murder. Kelli also had the power to lure Issy in, to medicate her, to lull her into death. Kelli was the abuser.
Issy lashed out, she reacted, for her own good. To bring her "behavior" into the conversation is victim blaming. It is an attempt to justify the killing of Autistic people. It is giving weight to the immoral idea that Issy, in part, deserved to die. Issy was never better off dead.
The sympathy, and worse yet empathy, that has been given to Kelli makes me sick. Heartsick. It pains me to know that the world identifies with a murderer before my children's kind. It bothers me to no end that they understand and accept the most heinous of criminals before they consider the humanity of Autistic people. It isn't right that Issy's life has been devalued in the minds of most and it isn't compassion or broadmindedness behind this disconnect with the victim. It is plain old dehumanization. The truth is that an Autistic child was victimized but hearts go out to the malevolent, so mine is sick.
Kelli started soliciting for this sympathy years before she finally had the nerve to act on her hatred. Her online record is foreshadowing, frightening. She profited off postings of Issy's every intimate and vulnerable detail, profited monetarily and as a means of bolstering her ego.
Within the Autism community there are certain sects that exist on the accolades given to them merely because they are parents raising Disabled children. Some of them exploit their children to get more. Some of them are driven on nothing but their hate for Autism. Kelli was all of the above.
After she was caught in the act of murder she continued her ways. She could have pleaded sooner. She could have NOT contacted The Dr. Phil Show, she could have told her friends to stop defending her, admitted full guilt, taken full responsibility, she could have done anything but kill.
It has got to be the ultimate betrayal; for a mother to murder their own. I sink so low imagining what Issy has to live with, knowing that the one who carried her in also tried to take her out. What Kelli did was a demonstration of hate, not an act of love, not a mercy killing. Hate for Autism. Hate for Autistics.
I should not have to defend my children's right to exist, nor my own integrity as a loving and nurturing parent of Autistic children, just because this disgusting example of an "Autism mom" has been given the platform and erroneously claims to represent me and my kind. My kids shouldn't have to defend their right to exist.
I've been called all kinds of things because I refuse.
Don't you dare call me Autism mom.
I am NOT Kelli Stapleton!
|Image Description: Background, a rainbow of colors and textures, shows dark text reading: I love MY Autistic children to be silent when another parent abuses or murders theirs. -Heather Clark #JusticeForIssy|