Photograph by Denise Beckwith
“I am 33 years old. My birth mother actually died during birth and I acquired disability as a result of paediatric/midwife violence.
I really like horses to help me do physical therapy. My physiotherapist, was away and the replacement didn’t let me ride the horses because it was raining. He told me we will go in a little room to draw instead, because this was also important too.
He told me that he needed to see my back. He told me that he needed me to do a breathing exercise so he got me to stand up. He told me that after breathing in this way that I’ll be able to walk by myself. I was 17, and I wanted to be more autonomous, because when they tell me to breathe I do it because I know that it’s good for my health, so I felt safe. And so, he gets me to stand, and he’s behind and tells me to hold on tight to the table. He then pulls down my pants and underpants and I feel, I can’t see anything, but I could hear him say ‘breathe hard’ because it’ll do you good, and then he takes me into his lap and he takes me from behind. And he was giving me little kisses, here on my cheek. When it was all finished, he said we will do this the next time.
His name was Alessandro Pappallardo. And now he’s in jail, I reported him. We found out later when we reported him that he had sexual assault charges in other regions too. He was good looking too. He was originally sentenced to life, but it was 14 years. I couldn’t understand why there are such awful people, I wouldn’t want to see him again if so I’d want to kick his butt, but he left jail and he’s not going to stop, I don’t understand why people like this are let out of jail if they’re going to do it again. What if there’s someone who has the same disability as me that can’t speak, how will they be able to defend themselves. I say he’s the disabled one, because he’s got nor mind nor heart. I wish these people would get locked up in jail and throw away the key.”
- Emanuella, Italy 2017