Your Neurodiverse Friend #2: Being Taken Advantage Of
by Joe Biel Editor, Temple Grandin, Ph.D Contributor, Eliot Daughtry Contributor, Kriss De Jong Contributor, Partly Robot Contributor, Laura Stanfill Contributor and Emily Velasquez Contributor
The first time that I met my favorite autistic mentee, she walked right up to me, declaring “You don’t look like prey!” We discussed at length how we are both consistently perceived as vulnerable from our appearances, body language, and mannerisms. I had never thought about this as a trait of autism until I began to research the relationships of crime statistics and autism to find that we are frequently victims.
When I looked up the meaning of “getting taken advantage of,” I had a startling discovery. The phrase has two components, someone using you unfairly for their own benefit and you being complicit and accepting in this dynamic. According to this definition, being robbed on the street is not being “taken advantage of.” While everyone experiences these types of encounters, it seems that so many neurodiverse people are taken advantage of because they are easily fooled into being complicit in these exchanges.
This zine is a forum of advice and stories to explain the neurodiverse experience so that we can be seen as real, whole people. One theme that kept coming up in conversations with neurodiverse people as "being taken advantage of." Every neurodiverse person seems to be a survivor of abuse, whether that be emotional, financial, sexual, physical, or mental. These stories humanize those experiences and provide context, humor, and real solutions for how to overcome them. Ultimately, living in our society it becomes difficult not to internalize ableism and see ourselves as lesser, rather than just different.
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