The Caristas Malta Epilepsy Association expressed profound concern regarding recent incidents involving graffiti that associate epilepsy with monetary symbols.
Such actions significantly contribute to the existing stigmatization that individuals living with epilepsy confront daily. The graffiti emerged after a news story revealed that hundreds of individuals were illicitly receiving social security benefits claiming to have disability. Some 141 have so far been ordered by the courts to return the funds that they were not entitled to, for a total of €2.1 million.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects 1% of the Maltese population, the Caritas Association said.
While the majority of people with epilepsy are capable of leading normal lives, it is crucial to acknowledge the challenges, including psychological ones, that accompany this condition. Individuals living with epilepsy face genuine and often debilitating obstacles that warrant support and understanding from society. The emergence of graffiti connecting epilepsy to monetary symbols is deeply troubling.
This graffiti not only distorts the reality of epilepsy but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes, wrongly insinuating that individuals with epilepsy seek financial gain at the expense of others. Such portrayals are not only false but also deeply hurtful to those who grapple with this condition. Epilepsy, like any other chronic medical condition, deserves to be met with compassion, empathy, and support from our community.
Stigmatization only serves to isolate those who require assistance the most and discourages them from seeking the medical and emotional support they need. We implore community leaders, local authorities, and citizens to unite in addressing this issue. It is imperative to cultivate an inclusive and understanding environment for individuals living with epilepsy, enabling them to access the resources they genuinely require without fear of judgment or discrimination.
We firmly believe that such discriminatory and harmful actions must be treated seriously by the authorities. Preserving the cherished right to freedom of speech should always be accompanied by a commitment to sensitivity and respect, especially when it comes to avoiding the mocking of individuals with disabilities. Together, we can forge a more inclusive and empathetic society that benefits everyone