The blind lady of Pompeii - Suzanne K.
Nydia is a slave and blind young female who lived in an ancient city called Pompeii.
She fell in love with Glaucus in nineteenth century. The sculpture represents her physical presence. Her closed eyes refer to her blindness, the covered ear to her hearing, and uncover breast for her passions.
I chose this artifact “Nydia, the blind girl of Pompeii” because I felt is related to my subject of studying disability and sexuality. I felt the artifact is more powerful and has a strong connection between the past and the present in terms of disability and sexuality in daily struggles.
The artifact embodies the past and the present by retelling the facts history of what people with disabilities life struggles looks like from the silent image of body language of the sculpture. The artifact represents Nydia’s physical struggles in detail, as her historic dress and uncovered breast refer that she has a sexual desire and passion needs. At the same time, she appears worried, anxious, scared, and unwanted for love. Her gently closed eyes refer to her blindness and visual impairment, in the right hand, she carries a white cane to navigate and scan her surroundings while her left hand covers her right ear to hear, to collect more sound and processes important information. The broken Corinthian columns beside Nydia’s foot refers to the destruction of the ancient city of Pompeii. My chosen for this extraordinary artifact strongly represents and embodies our reality in term disabilities and sexuality. I loved every single detail of my artifact.
“Tom Shakespeare emphasized that the problem of disability and sexuality have nothing to do with the bodies shapes differences, but the matter is with the society which we live in” (2020, p.161) Barriers and stigma to sexual expression of disabled people still exist to this day.
I am interested in disability and sex to have more knowledge and understanding about the complex needs of people with disability, to learn new skills and to increase my sex education as I have a daughter aged 18 years old who has Autism, intellectual disability, and language deficiency. She has limited functional and verbal communication skills, severe receptive and expressive disorder. I want to understand her sexual needs.
This course has provided me with very helpful information and resources which helps me to understand the sexual needs of people with disability and teach me that they also have sexual desire like us.
In the week 9 lecture, “Disabled and looking for love” I was amazed while watching the video and listening to the four amazing disabled stories. Oldooz is a female, aged 22 years old, she has Motor Sensory, and she needs 24/7 care due to her difficult condition. Oldooz is looking for a partner and companion, from the dating agency called The Outsiders, who provide help for all kind of people with disability.
Oldooz mentioned that love is the most secret and the best things that you can get in the life. She expressed the secret power of love and her sexual needs even she experienced hard and difficult situation.
Nick and his girlfriend Lisa both have Cerebral palsy, they share their own intimacy and sexual story. I learned from them the value of love. Disability and sex increased my curiosity to learn more.
This project has impacted me in several ways and touched my heart in terms of the challenges and sacrifices that people with disability face in their daily life. When I searched deeper about disability and sexuality, I felt the struggles, grief, sadness, loneliness, and the isolation because I am a mother for a child with special needs.
My project about the artifact “The Blind, slave Lady of Pompeii” sadly shows how Nydia was treated cruelly by her owner and Glaucus was the kind man who saved her from slavery and treated her with dignity, his kindness affected Nydia and she fell in love with him but unfortunately, he didn’t love her back. He loved another woman named Lone.
Nydia tragically took her own life, she drowned herself at the beach because of love.
Nydia and her painful story have impacted me, she is disabled and looking for love, but sadly she was hopeless, she ended her life and left her immortal story to this day, leaving a message behind that the disabled suffer despite their disabilities. Furthermore, there is no hope from society that believe that love is a disgrace to the disabled. People with disabilities are sexual humans just like us. Making changes is our responsibilities.
“Goodley (2016: viii), says ‘the contemporary times demand contemporaneous theories’, as scholars interested in disability and disabled people, it is our political, ethical, and moral responsibility to remain faithful to the realities of disabled people’s everyday lives”.
I hope my artifact inspires viewers to take the following action which stand for disability rights which treat them with respect and dignity. I wish to give them the opportunity to advocate for themselves and have equal access to information. Provide a safe and secure life free from discrimination and abuse. Help them to participate and engage in the community. Do not judge them, we need to listen to their complex needs and breaking the stigma in the society that disabled people are not sexual or interested in sex, intimacy, and relationships because they are sexual humans like us. We must empower and provide the rights services for them.
We need to spread awareness regarding the risk of depression and trauma because this will lead to suicide if the person does not get the proper treatment. Professionals can play a key role to educate and help people with disability. Healthcare workers help to build sexual health system. The community have a role as well, to be open and spread the awareness in terms of sexual abuse and speaking up with sexual challenges.
I wish for individuals to take necessary actions when they see a disabled person is being exploited and report the incident to the Authorities. Do not despair, stay strong, fight for disability rights, and keep believing in love. As the Declaration of Sexual Rights of the World Association for Sexual Health (2014) states, 'sexual rights are grounded in universal human rights’ (p.1).
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