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Drive, passion, creativity and energy are the qualities I possess that will positively impact the world around me. My mind is constantly making connections on how to best serve those around me who need to be uplifted. As the eldest of four children with a younger sister who has severe intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), I have a viewpoint of the world that is much different than the typical sibling population. At a young age, I saw my sister succumb to epileptic episodes. I witnessed the undying love of a mother caring for her medically fragile child, in addition to three typical children. I learned responsibility at an age much younger than my peers.
” I am a Sib, an adult sibling of a sister with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In April 2012, I learned that my non-verbal sister with the cognitive level of a 10-month-old was being sexually assaulted at her outside caregiving facility. “
My world changed. My sweet, beautiful sister was being repeatedly violated in what we thought was a safe place and could not tell us. Sibs are the current and future caregivers, and one day, I will be caring for my sister, in addition to caring for my aging mother, father and my own children. Welcome to the Club Wrap Generation. In my search for support, in light of my sister’s tragedy, I co-founded the California Chapter of the Sibling Leadership Network, “CaliforniaSibs.”
I earned an International MBA from the University of San Diego, and a B.S. in Business, International Concentration from Saint Mary’s College of California. I was appointed by Governor Brown in 2018 to the State Council on Developmental Disabilities in California and am urging them to take action. As Mahatma Gandhi best said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
Sexual assault is a terrible crime no matter who it affects, but perhaps one of the most disgusting acts a person can do is sexually abuse a person with disabilities. Why is this not talked about enough? The sexual abuse against people with disabilities needs to be brought to light so more perpetrators are caught and punished and so more people speak up about their traumatic experiences. Julie is doing her part to bring attention to the matter of sexual assault toward people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.