Assault is assault.
I was going north up Yonge Street, I saw a man with an intellectual disability coming south. He was with a staff or some other kind of care provider. As he passed me he reached out and slapped me twice, hard, in fact very hard, on my stomach. He made a comment that wasn't understandable and when he swung back to hit my stomach again I told him firmly 'don't do that again.' I spoke firmly and it was clear I meant what I said.
The staff, finally wakes up, and says to me, 'He doesn't mean anything by it.'
I looked at the staff and said, 'He struck me. Twice. It means something to me.'
I sat there for a second trying to decide what to do next. I wanted to call the police but I was also supposed to be meeting Joe in a couple of minutes. I said to the man who'd struck me. 'I'm not going to call the police this time, but what you did is against the law. You can't hit people like that.'
The staff began, in front of me, to tell him, 'Everything is all right.'
I said to the staff, 'Everything is not alright. This behaviour is criminal. If he doesn't learn that he can't hit random strangers, he's going to get in very big trouble. Why aren't you providing him the support her needs.'
The staff said, 'Most people don't mind.'
Shit, thought I, he's done this before, and often. 'Most people DO mind, they are just letting him get away with it, like I'm about to do. You need to make sure that support and training are done properly.'
To the man who hit me: Stop hitting people! People don't like it! I DON'T LIKE IT!!!'
Then he said a word, slowly, that I understood, 'Sorry.'
People with intellectual disabilities have a right to learn how to behave in the community. Their disability doesn't give them a 'pass' for aggressive or assaultive behaviours. Trouble is, most staff think the behaviour is simply 'inappropriate' rather than what it is ... 'criminal.'
It's the next morning and I still have red marks from where I was struck by this guy. Shit.