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Sticks and Stones: Disabled People’s Stories of Abuse, Defiance and Resilience

Marsha Saxton, Ph.D
Senior Researcher

World Institute on Disability

(May 2009),

Cost: USD $20 plus $4 shipping & handling

Cost (California residents): USD $21.75 plus $4 shipping & handling


Sticks and Stones: Disabled People’s Stories of Abuse, Defiance and Resilience

Edited by Marsha Saxton, foreword by Grace Mattern, New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault, published by the World Institute on Disability. $20. S&H $4. Sales tax where applicable. Order using the WID publications order form.

Empowering people with disabilities to learn to recognize and defy discriminatory attitudes and to hold high standards for respect and quality assistance is the most effective defense against abuse. Marsha Saxton, Editor of Sticks and Stones

Sticks and Stones is a collection of over fifty stories about facing abuse and violence. The compelling stories are told by a diverse group of people with disabilities, as well as family members, services providers, and other allies, and cover a wide range of mistreatment and recovery experiences.

Studies show that abuse and violence are high-priority concerns for disabled people; rates of abuse are shockingly high. Women and children with disabilities are sexually assaulted at a rate that is three times higher than the one for those without disabilities. Disabled men also experience high rates of abuse.

The goals of this book include giving voice to people with disabilities who have confronted abusive situations, breaking their isolation, and revealing the complex issues of abuse and violence, particularly the ones faced by those who depend on help from family or paid assistance.

By sharing their stories, these writers hope to empower similar survivors to resist and to disclose abuse and violence, to recover if abuse occurs, and to move ahead to live strong, fulfilling lives. Contributing writers from eight other countries join those from the United States in sharing their stories.

Saxton’s introductory comments frame complex abuse issues as part of the larger picture of societal mistreatment of people with disabilities, going far back in history.

While domestic violence organizations are making their services more accessible to women with disabilities, this volume should help these organizations better understand the issues underlying the high rates of abuse of disabled women and the desperate need to provide better, more welcoming, and accessible services for them.

The stories featured in Sticks and Stones are wrenching; the authors’ voices are strong. Yet the reader is left with a sense of hope and encouragement that mistreatment can be challenged and empowered disabled people can end abuse in their lives. The companion teaching guide included in the book will help educators and trainers build creative and meaningful activities around the stories, encouraging disabled participants to recognize mistreatment, tell their stories in supportive environments, and learn to use their empowered voices to resist abuse and recover if they experience it.

Sticks and Stones is part of the Curriculum on Abuse Prevention and Empowerment, CAPE (funded by the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research), a soon to be released multimedia training program on www.wid.org/cape.