Bif Notes No. 7 Touchy

Bodily autonomy is yet another privilege not afforded to disabled people. Whether it’s because we are forced to relinquish some of our bodily autonomy because we need assistance completing certain tasks, or because strangers make a habit of invading our personal space thoughtlessly, bodily autonomy it seems is sometimes a luxury not available to disabled people. There is absolutely no reason for this.

Whether the person in question is an adult or a child, bodily autonomy is something that needs to be explained and enforced. Regardless of the situation, it is a person’s right to always feel safe and to have their personal space respected. Unfortunately this is something that is very rarely talked about and often misunderstood by non disabled people in relation to disabled people.

But make no mistake, no matter whether it’s a situation where a disabled person is getting help with a task, or someone is invading their personal space for no apparent reason, bodily autonomy should take precedence. Nothing should be done to invade personal space, including making physical contact, without express consent of the disabled person. This also extends to that person’s mobility aid/service animal. Mobility aids are just as much a part of that person as a physical body part and service animals are performing in the capacity they were trained for and should not be disturbed.

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