YET again we have a religious sister (I presume) expounding ihe virtues of single life (The Positive Aspects of Being Single by Sr Elizabeth Rees, (February 1). I found nothing positive in this article. Sr Rees makes generalisations of the most strange kind.
As a single person with a disability I have yet to meet another who to quote "choose single life because they are disabled and put all their energy into their struggle to live". What does she mean struggle? Many people with disabilities find life hard, yes, but continue a most active lifestyle. Why the negative stance?
She adds insult to injury by saying "these people have decided they have not enough quality time and energy to put into a relationship". What rubbish!! Sr Rees is now
inferring that not only are people with disabilities so caught up with their "struggle" to live but also that they do not have quality time and energy. She implies they feel they do not have enough for relationships.
She does state "they may never verbalise this". She is quite right here. They do not!!
I find her logic offensive. What Sr Rees fails to appreciate is that far from choosing single life, many people with disabilities would choose marriage or religious life if this was an option. It is a fact that in our society, people with disabilities are considered not to be suitable candidates for either marriage or religious life! They are not chosen. It is not they who do not choose. (Religious communities do now accept people with disabilities more readily but only, on the whole, the more active person.) There are many adequate, justifiable and acceptable reasons why some people become shy, isolated or fearful of their sexuality. In my view such people are totally justified and usually wonderful people.
I was sexually abused as a child and it is true I find relationships difficult, but I object very strongly to Sr Rees negative interpretation as to how I might finally end up as the "unfulfilled, sad, maiden aunt unable to give and receive much love" because I have slid into a single life (as I have done!!) rather than choose single life or because 1 am shy, anxious or fearful.
Sr Rees is out of touch and offers an unrealistic, simplistic 'and negative assessment of single life divided into neat categories of "chosen" or
"sliding into . ." She also assesses the life of the single person who is disabled as someone struggling with not enough energy or quality time for relationships.,
I have met many people with disabilities who have slid into single life but who have very fulfilled lives (not all struggling but clearly full of bounce, optimism and energy) and I have also met many single, shy and fearful survivors of sexual abuse who have slid into single life (I run a Christian Survivors Group) who though fearful, have courageous and extremely fulfilled lives, myself included.
Sr Rees has done a disservice to all people with disabilities and all people who are fearful, shy or isolated.
Margaret Kennedy East London Christian Women Survivors Group