Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Real Reason for Melbourne

It's just a few days now before I take off with my ASL interpreter friend for Seoul, but I wanted to update on the question of Melbourne vs. Canberra. It looked like a major pain to rearrange things to get to Canberra at this point in time, and I was pondering why I chose Melbourne in the first place. To be honest, it's an art-school choice. One of those gut decisions...

I first heard about Werribee last year on a Google alert or some such thing. A couple of years ago, a group of boys who called themselves the Teenage Kings of Werribee took it upon themselves to wreak teenage style havoc in this suburb of Melbourne. Among other things, they raped a teenage girl with a developmental disability, videotaped their crimes and sold the DVD around town. The story broke on a news show.

When the DVD was discovered, there was much discussion and outrage across Australia and the boys have since been prosecuted. It frightened me because the very thing could have happened to any of the girls with disabilities I know.

In fact, rape of women and girls with disabilities is definitely a social problem that just keeps getting worse. They could be girls in your class, in special ed, a family member, or someone stuck in a nursing home. The entire issue fills me with rage. See

As a direct action activist, my instinct is to go to where the trouble's burning, even if it's been a couple of years. I can't get this out of my mind. That's why I was very supportive of FRIDA going to Alton, Illinois this past May to memorialize Dorothy Dixon, who was tortured to death by her housemates and caregiver. Going there makes the issue more real. Going to Werribee would link Australia to the trip FRIDA made in America. Going to Werribee might help us all be less silent.

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