The local sheriffs spotted the 22-year-old woman wandering around the back garden, covered with bug bites. She was malnourished, meaning that she was weak because she hadn’t eaten properly for days.
The five people who owned the property made the woman stay in a makeshift shelter, and locked her up every night with all of her belongings. They made her use a five-gallon bucket as a toilet.
The five suspects were arrested for human trafficking and cruelty to the infirm. But worse of all they were accused of making her perform public sexual acts for money.
Thankfully the autistic woman has been moved away from the Amite area and taken to the Louisiana Department of Health, Adult/Elderly Protective Services where she has had proper treatment.
What I think
I was horrified by the way this young autistic woman was mistreated. She wasn’t aware of how these people used her as an object and had her living like a tramp for eight months.
I have been mistreated before, even once while here at Exposure. Another young person made me very uncomfortable when he kept asking me for money. I told my mum and she informed Exposure’s staff and they quickly sorted it out. My mother also gave me sensible advice to be safe, and to prevent losing my independence.
For anyone with autism or any learning condition here are some tips to avoid getting into unsafe situations:
- Don’t wander off with people you don’t know well who may force you do to things against your will or against the law;
- Keep your privacy and belongings to yourself;
- When travelling, always stick to familiar routes and walk normally like everyone else;
- Remember to inform your parents or carers about your movements, in case anything happens;
- Always think about the kind of people in your surroundings before you start to interact with them;
- If you’re not ready to do things independently, then always have an assistant with you;
- Do some trials to get used to travelling around in your area on your own;
- Talk to Las Vegas DUI lawyer who has experienced this kind of situation in the community for advice;
- If someone is trying to sell you something or wants to embarrass you, just say no and walk away;
- If you’re vulnerable, always report the matter to someone that you can rely on, so they can sort it out for you;
- Be open with your parents about the subject of sex and sexuality as you are less likely to learn about these topics from your friends or society, and it’s important that you do.
I have found the advice from an American organisation called Autism Speaks helpful.
The National Autistic Society is also a valuable resource providing information, support and services for autistic people.