The news. bbc. co. uk through the Disability Rights Commission of Scotland in 2004 declared that “Many disabled people are silently enduring harassment and attacks motivated by prejudice” ( 1st par. ). A survey was conducted in 2004 involving 160 disabled person by Scotland Executive government related to the hate crimes brought about by prejudices towards the disabled. It has come to the attention of the government that attacks fuelled by prejudice towards disable persons are on the rise. Laws that outlaw racial and sectarian attacks are already in place but there is no formal law yet related to protection of
6 the disabled from hate crimes in Scotland. The paper reported that nearly half of the 168 interviewed experienced intimidation , physical attacks and verbal abuse due to their being disabled. The physical attacks they reported occurred in monthly basis. Due to lack of formal laws on hate crimes committed on disabled, only about 40% of the incidents were reported to the authorities. In addition, the interview revealed that there is a general belief in Scotland that police could not help in cases of prejudice- inspired hate crimes. About one
third of those interviewed have to avoid specific places and change their usual chores or path to avoid the attacks and one for every four decided to isolate themselves at home. There were even times that the disabled are afraid to isolate themselves at home because their homes were thrown with bad eggs and real stones. Oftentimes, they were cursed and told that disabled like them should have been killed at birth and there is no place in society for them and wish they are dead. In all of these humiliating comments motivated by prejudices against disabled, the
subjects have to live a life in constant danger of being spat at, humiliated and verbally abused of their right for peaceful co-existence. In the first place, they did not wish to be a hare lip at birth or be disabled due to accident. All of these were God given and they did not wish for the disability to strike them. Opening one’s eye at the start of the day and thinking that one will get lot of verbal abuse, physically kicked at and shouted at to go to hell for being disabled will surely result to psychological pain and trauma. Added to this is
the perception that nobody want to help, even the police authorities have turned their views from you and one has to change their usual path to work just to avoid harassments and insults will definitely bring one’s sensibilities towards the end of life. The impact of hate crimes on the disabled based from the source is one of great concern. Nobody wants to live a live constantly bothered by thought that somebody always want you out of this world. The psychological stress and trauma is permanently there as one cannot hide ones disability permanently. 7 Summary and Conclusion
Hate crimes were proven as those directed towards people, property or groups as in a race, religion and sexual orientation commonly motivated by prejudice. Hate crimes usually start with verbal abuse, obscene phone calls, insulting remarks and gestures and graduate to higher strata in the likes of murder, lynching, genocide and burning of homes, churches and establishments. Due to the fact that it is the nature of hate crimes to inflict impact such as psychological pain, stress and trauma, the effect on the victim is lingering and may last for years and even a life time as proven from the sources consulted.
Authors and sources claimed that the impact is quite different from the effect of non-hate crimes like robbery, kidnapping and others. The perpetrators of hate crime in US on close analysis is indirectly protected by the fundamental law embodied in its constitution and the First Amendment or Freedom of Expression, Speech and Press. It is a known fact that under the First Amendment, “The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press”. This fundamental law encourages the
perpetrators of hate crimes to issue verbal insults and personal views and comments inimical of other people’s condition, beliefs, race and sexual orientation. It was from the remarks that hate crimes normally start as it produces a spark to ignite other peoples mind and develop hatred towards a person or group which will eventually cascade and burst to create destruction which is a powerful outlet for hatred. There were laws enacted to prevent citizens from issuing remarks which may ignite others to take action but the freedom of speech and expression always serve as scapegoat to circumvent the laws.
You charge me in court for what I said and I will countercharge with curtailing freedom of speech. In the end, it is always the victim regardless of the fact that he belong to a minority race, to a religious group, a group of different sexual orientation or to a disabled group. It was proven that the impact to one victim is felt by others in the group, long lasting pain, psychological trauma and social isolation and divisiveness. 8 Works Cited Empowermentzone. com (1997). Cause for Concern: Hate Crimes in America [on line] Available from: < http://www. empowermentzone. com/hate_rpt.
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