I’ve got to give it to the anti-vaccine zealots. They know how to tie anything happening anywhere in the world to their cause. A few years ago, when First Lady Michelle Obama posted a picture of herself holding a sign that stated “#BringBackOurGirls” in protest for the abduction of female students in Nigeria, the anti-vaccine activists were quick to act.
This is the original picture:
And here’s what those weirdos did:
We’ve written before that autism is nothing like actually losing a child. But too many anti-vaccine types are horrified at the prospect of having to raise an autistic child that, instead of walking away, they try to blame on anyone and anything that fits a pseudo-scientific framework and justifies their anger over a perceived harm. There is no social justice movement that they have not tried to highjack.
They even tried to convince Black communities that they were at higher risk of autism from vaccines.
The latest social movement being attacked by these strange people is the #MeToo movement. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the #MeToo movement is a social justice movement led by women who are bringing to light the fact an unacceptable number of women are harassed and/or sexually assaulted, and that they are not heard by social and/or legal authorities… Or they decide not to say anything because they know they will not be heard.
This movement has taken up the #BelieveHer or #BelieveWomen hashtags on social media after the revelations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. Dr. Ford didn’t tell anyone then about her attack becase, like too many women, the fear and the lack of social acceptance to her being in a house with boys where alcohol was consumed prevented her from going to anyone for help. It wouldn’t be until she was an adult that she started to deal with her assault. When she saw that Judge Kavanaugh was nominated to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, she spoke up.
Since then, the #BelieveWomen movement has been active in raising awareness that women’s testimonies about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault deserve — at the very least — to be listened to and that the benefit of the doubt needs to be given to them so that all women can feel comfortable in coming forward and seeking justice. Otherwise, as is often the case with impunity, these kinds of assaults will keep on happening.
Well, the anti-vaccine jerks don’t see it quite that way.
Ginger “The Ging” Taylor, a well-known but not exactly well-respected anti-vaccine advocate published a tremendously stupid essay over at Age of Autism (go find it yourself since I won’t be linking to them and giving them the clicks they desperately need). In it, she compares herself to the female victims of sexual abuse… Or, rather, she compares the lack of belief by reasonable people in her stories about vaccines causing autism to the lack of belief by biased people in testimony about sexual crimes.
The big problem with her argument (like all of her anti-vaccine arguments) is that people who have claimed that vaccines cause autism have actually been heard. They’ve been heard to the point where we’ve spent millions of dollars trying to confirm the elaborate scam put forth by Wakefield and friends. Instead of using resources to accommodate the needs of autistic children and adults, we wasted those resources chasing a monster made of smoke. (Or a “smoke monster,” if you will.)
I mean, we did case-control studies, observational studies, cohort studies, and we tested the crap out of the vaccines in the vaccine schedule. Nothing every came out of it. Vaccines simply do not cause autism, and everything is pointing to a genetic cause for autism… A variation of what “normal” is. Everything points to us, as a society, not doing enough for autistic people and even marginalizing them. And one of the biggest sources of marginalization is to think that something is “wrong” with them and blaming vaccines (without any kind of evidence) instead of accepting where the evidence is really leading us and doing something to accommodate their needs.
Anti-vaccine people who highjack legitimate social justice movements are the biggest kinds of jerks.