An emerging cyber tool to prevent abuse?

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A digital way of responding to abuse?

With new technology and burgeoning access to social media, people now have opportunities to connect with those who have experienced similar situations.  23 year old Hillary Adams released a video (contains graphic content) on October 27 of her father beating her as punishment for illegally downloading music and games.  According to the YouTube description, Hillary has ataxic cerebral palsy.

In an article on Huffington Post, Hillary Adams claims that she “secretly taped the assault in 2004” when she was just 16.  On why she released the video on the internet, Hillary claims that, “my father’s harassment was getting really bad, so I decided to finally publish the video that I had been sitting on for seven years”.  William Adams is a judge in Rockport, Texas and, since the release of  the video, protesters have demanded he step down  from his position.

The case of Hillary Adams is just one example of how technology has allowed people to unveil the truth about abusive situations–especially those where a person has a disability.  At Miami Trace Middle School in Ohio, a young special needs student continuously complained that she was being bullied at school.  Her parents decided to take matters into their own hands and placed a tape recorder in their daughter’s clothing.  The recording showed that a teacher and her aide made inappropriate comments concerning the student’s weight, laziness, and mental capacity.  Since then the teacher’s aide has resigned and the school district has paid $300,000 in damages.

The release of Hillary’s video to the internet has gone viral with an approximate 6 million views in as little as 4 weeks.  “It’s interesting to think about what the future can hold for uncovering abuse” say’s David Carlson, a lawyer at Disability Rights Washington, “this is an example of computer based social networking providing  heightened protection by making public forums available for sharing experiences of abuse and support for those looking to get out of abusive situations.”  The video has also sparked debate on NPR, Anderson Cooper, and Forbes.

 

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