Monday, September 23, 2013

Issy Stapleton: Not Gone, Thankfully, But Forgotten By Too Many

Many of you have expressed interest in sending cards to Issy or the family. Thank you so much for the effort. Your interest in meeting the needs of my children is overwhelming and inspiring.
PO Box 145 Elberta, MI 49628
                                        From Matt Stapleton, Team Issy's Facebook Page 

It will be three weeks tomorrow since Issy was in the van with her mother, her would-be murderer. I know that's harsh, but that's what Kelli was that day. It seems that the news coverage and far too many people are forgetting that fact.

The latest news story is about Kelli's friends flooding her with letters of support and money for her defense fund.

It's not about Issy. Issy appears almost irrelevant:

Issy Stapleton, who spent four days in a coma-like state, made an incredible recovery, her father, Matt Stapleton, said earlier this month.
She is believed to have suffered brain damage.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle earlier featured the family dealing with the girl's acute autism and violent episodes.
 The story's focus, though, is squarely on Kelli. As is the focus of the latest post on Kelli's blog: the concern from Kelli's supporters isn't about Issy; it's about Kelli.

I am still, three weeks later, reeling. You know that feeling of sick despair that takes hold in your chest and gut and twists? I'm there. And I'm so far on the periphery of this family's horrible situation. I can't even imagine how it's tearing up Issy's family. How scared, devastated, confused Issy must be feeling, the emotions her siblings are grappling with, her dad is dealing with.

This is a nightmare I am sure they all, including Kelli, wish they could wake up from. It's not, though, and how we talk about autistic people is vitally important here. We have a responsibility to Issy, to our children, to our friends on the spectrum, and to ourselves to get this right: to remember who the victim here was. It was not Kelli. She was the perpetrator.
--Kim Wombles

   I can not imagine what it must be like to stand in Issy's shoes right now.  To be at the center of this horrific crime-and yet, not be the focus.  I can't imagine how her siblings are feeling, or her dad.  I can only think that they ALL must be torn in so many different directions.  Yet, all we hear about is Kelli.

  It has only been three short weeks and already Issy has been mostly forgotten. If she was even ever really considered in the first place. Lost in the shuffle of loud voices-debating, arguing..taking sides..forgetting  I fear, that a human being, a young girl-almost lost her life..The arguments (it seems) became more important than Issy herself.

  The rest of the world (not in the autism community) is watching, listening to what is being said. I know that I have found myself gobsmacked at so much of the commentary. Appalled at how much is misunderstood. We have it seems, a long way to go if we want acceptance and inclusion.  That is why it is so very important that we as a community take a stand.  To stop arguing and to put the focus right where it belongs.  On Issy.  She is the victim of this crime.  We can not ever forget that.
                                                                                                                 ~Kathleen Leopold


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