Chronic Illness, Disability and Abuse: Staying Safe

MyRACentral and several other HealthCentral communities are marking Domestic Violence Awareness Month with posts about the issue and how it relates to chronic illness and disability. This is my contribution: Other posts and resources are on our   Domestic Violence Awareness Month page.

"Ease up a little, please."
"Not so hard."

Almost every time this attendant was scheduled, she'd used too much force when assisting me in the shower, dressing or other personal tasks. Almost every time, I'd have to ask her to be more gentle. I told management about it, but not in a formal complaint - I was afraid of reprisals from her or her coworkers. Then one day, as she was washing my hair, she pressed harder and harder and harder on the back of my neck, causing a severe injury. Finally, management made it safe for me to complain. They asked me if I'd told her to stop that day in my shower and I hadn''t. I had been incapable of speech, in shock that someone would deliberately hurt me, just breathing through the assault, waiting for it to stop. And it finally did. I never saw that particular attendant again. But every day, chronic whiplash-like symptoms serve as a reminder of what she did to me."

The rest of the post is here.