Hey everyone. No recipe here, and not a light subject either, but please read, and amplify this. We need help.
“Where’s Carly?” is a question that I’ve been asking for over a year now, along with many others. At this point, many of us are fearing the worst for her, and something needs to be done.
Carly Fleischmann is the 25 year old non-verbal autistic woman behind “Carly’s Voice”. You might know her from the media coverage she’s gotten over interviewing people like Channing Tatum, or for the “Carly’s Voice” book that she wrote with her dad.
She is beloved by the autistic community.
Now – full disclaimer – I didn’t see a few of the posts that I’m going to be referring to as they happened, so I’m piecing together what I’ve heard from those who had, to get the story out there.
In early 2019, Carly posted on Facebook to say that she had been molested by her father’s boyfriend, and that her father wasn’t being supportive of her in the aftermath of that. (Here’s an article about that, including a screen shot of the post. I’ve included another screen shot of the same post at the bottom of this blog entry.)
A lot of people were VERY concerned – many have said that the tone and content of the post led them to believe she was in immediate danger.
The post(s) disappeared – along with her personal FB profile – and was quickly followed up with a post to her public page on February 2, 2019:
“I took down my old post bc people were threatening my families life. They put my address online that made me unsafe. I have started working on making my life a safer place. My parents have heard my voice. They will listen to words to keep me safe. Thank you for believing my words. I am safe.”
Two days later, a new post was made on her Facebook page. It has since been deleted, but a truncated version remains on her Twitter account:
“THIS IS AN ADMINISTRATOR OF CARLY’S ACCOUNT (NOT CARLY). THIS ACCOUNT WAS HACKED. THE LAST VERIFIABLE POST BY CARLY WAS ON MAY 30, 2018. WE HAVE LOCKED DOWN THE ACCOUNT. CARLY IS SAFE AND WELL – BUT WAS TAKING A…”
… and that’s the last the world heard from Carly (If the followup posts were indeed Carly – MANY of us have our doubts) , on any of her publicly facing social media accounts, and in the media.
To add to all of that, both the father (Arthur) and the brother (Matthew) have been presenting conflicting information:
The screen capture on the left shows the father’s reply to her post about being sexually assaulted by her father’s boyfriend. The image on the right shows the brother claiming that her account really was hacked.
If the post about being sexually assaulted was a hack, why would her father respond in such a way? That is not the way someone who has *just* learned of such an allegation would respond, that is the response of someone that’s already been gaslighting a victim over the allegation would respond. If there was no assault and the account truly was hacked, ANY father would have responded in a very different way.
… so why is the brother claiming a hack? What exactly is the family trying to cover up? WHERE’S CARLY?
It’s been well over a year since this vulnerable abuse survivor spoke out and was silenced. Asking around the community, not even people who knew her personally have heard from her, or been able to make contact.
For the past year, community members have been asking about her whereabouts, for confirmation that she’s OK, etc – to absolute radio silence. (Check out the replies to the “HACKED!” tweet for some examples)
There have been posts made by people, saying that people claiming to be Carly’s family have asked them – autistics online – to remove any posts asking if Carly is OK. This has been going on for more than a year now.
Also, the current pinned post on Carly’s page, from 2018 (You can view it here) starts out like this:
Presumably that’s not a “hacked post”, as it’s been up this whole time.
SO I ask again – Where’s Carly?!
Frankly, I’m tired of asking – and seeing the community ask – to learn nothing. I’m tired of worrying that we’re going to see her name pop up on Disability Day Of Mourning – both 2019 and 2020, I scanned the list of new murder victims, dreading seeing her name.
(Note: Statistically, the greatest threat to the life of the average autistic person tends to be their caregivers. This is why we not only have a disability day of mourning – that we have enough of our own murdered by their caregivers to necessitate such an observation day! – but also why the average lifespan of an autistic person is 35 years old. Think about that!)
More needs to be done. I’m putting this out there now: Spread the word. If you know anyone involved with the Toronto Police – or any other organization that can check in on her… please get them involved.
Also: Due to the nature of Carly’s communication – and the suspicious circumstances surrounding her disappearance from social media… please trust only visual communication, either in person or by video. There have been multiple instances now of posts claiming to be Carly, that didn’t “sound” like her. Given that it appears her father wanted her silenced… be sure that “Carly” is actually Carly, and not someone speaking on her behalf. Please and thank you!
Here’s what we know:
Location: Toronto (?) or Greater Toronto Area
Father’s Name: Arthur Fleischmann
Older brother’s Name: Matthew
Mother’s Name: Tammy Starr (According to Twitter)
Note: For some reason, the mother has tagged Carly’s Twitter account as recently as April 2020, though nothing has posted to that account since February 2019.
I’m not an investigator. I have no idea how to look into any of this, or how to get results. I’m just hoping to use my platform for good, to amplify any chance that we’ll find her.
I hope she’s OK. I hope she’s out of danger, no longer being molested, and allowed to communicate in some way, even if not with the community that cares about her and is very concerned for her well being.
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
Links to My Previous Posts on Autism
Note: This site is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for the site to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites. While I’ll only ever link to items that I, personally, wholeheartedly recommend, I do need to put that disclosure out there!
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: This whole pandemic situation has really separated the introverts from the extroverts, across my social media feeds. It’s actually been sort of interesting to see people that I assumed to be introverts come out as extroverts, and vice versa.
As an introvert myself, I – as well as many of my fellow autistics – am actually pretty happy to engage in social isolation. We’re experts at “You don’t have to be in the same room as someone to be social with them!”, after all.
For our part, we have everything we need, now, so I’m holed up with my husband, happily puttering around on projects. We have no social obligations, have complete control over our environment at all times, and it’s pretty chill.
Of course, it’s easy for me to say “We all need to do our part and STAY HOME”, but I do realize that such a proposition is kind of scary to people who don’t have a lifetime of experience, here. So, I put together this list of suggestions and tips on how to not survive this, but THRIVE. This is the mother of all staycations, after all!
In no particular order:
– “Kung Fury” exists, and you can watch it on Youtube, here. This movie is not only a must-see on its own, but it has a sequel coming out later this year! Best get ready now, right?
– The Metropolitan Opera is doing a nightly – and FREE – live stream of different operas! They have the first week’s worth scheduled, and plan to continue until they’re able to reopen. Each new presentation goes live at 7:30 pm (Eastern, I think?), and stays online til 3:30pm the next day. We’ve been streaming it through their app on our Amazon Firestick, but they offer a few more options, as well. See here for their announcement.
Last night, we watched “Carmen” – it was my husband’s first exposure to the opera, outside of knowing “Every single figure skater EVER ends up skating to Carmen at some point”. Fabulous!
– Explore a Museum! Google has teamed up with 500 museums to post collections online, and/or offer virtual tours. Click here for the listing of collections to view, or here for an article listing 12 with virtual tours.
– Clean your house. Sure, it’s not necessarily fun… but there’s always a lot to do, right? Think about all those lists of what you should do every 6 months, or year, or whatever. When’s the last time you flipped your mattress, cleaned light fixtures and base boards, or laundered your curtains?
– Organize your house! Think about all those organization projects that you haven’t had time for. Did you move in 5 years ago and never tackled unpacking the last of your boxes? Are your books shelved all willy-nilly? Is your spice collection NOT in alphabetical order? This is exciting stuff to do – and imagine how awesome it’ll be to live in a house with everything organized!
– On that note, tackle the projects you’ve been neglecting. I have a closet with a folding door that doesn’t close all the way, one of my cats is OBSESSED with it, and it drives my nuts. Yesterday, my husband finally got around to installing a little hook to keep it shut. Life is good! We all have lists of things we’ve been meaning to get around to FOREVER.
I’m not saying the whole time needs to be productive, but … time is a gift. Picking away at repair lists is not only a great way to kill some time, it will leave you feeling accomplished, which is a great morale booster – something we could all use right now.
– On THAT note… learn a new skill! Does your to do list have some kind of relatively minor task that you don’t know how to do? Head to youtube and expand your skillset!
I remember feeling so frustrated and helpless after our tornado… until the day I decided to demolish the bathroom, by myself. I watched some videos, googled a bit, and went to it. It was great fun, and I felt SOO good afterwards, it really carried me through. HERE is a post I wrote about that day.
My husband would like to add that learning to change your oil is a great way to get started, and ends up saving you a lot of money. That’s where he started learning handyman stuff, and he’s gone on to keep our cars under repair at all times (I haven’t gone to a mechanic in 14 years!), build us a kitchen, and more.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to knit, or sew, or crochet, or fix a clogged drain. Do the thing!
– Video conferencing is a thing, and can be used for more that just chatting. Play games with a friend, anywhere in the world. Battleship, Chess, whatever. Get creative! If you have multiple people in households, try long distance video charades!
Again: You don’t need to be in the same room as someone, to be social!
– Start a Pandemic Diary. Whether digital or handwritten, it’s good to get your thoughts down, to look back on someday… or pass along to future generations. It’s something I wish I’d done earlier, during the tornado. I’ve started one for the pandemic. Just a few thoughts every day on what we’ve done, any major events in the news, etc. It doesn’t have to be heavy, and I’m not personally keeping track of any of the numbers… just my own personal thoughts.
And hey, if you’re one of those people who do the whole “Bullet Journal” thing, think of how extra you can leave YOUR record of this, for people in the future. None of the accounts of previous pandemics involved glitter markers and stickers, after all!
– Plant something! For those of us in the northern hemisphere, this is actually a great time to get seedlings started, clear away overgrowth, etc. And hey, depending on what happens with regards to food supply / shipping, etc – it could be a *really* good idea later! Personally,yesterday I planted a bunch of herbs… and will start some veggies, when I work up the desire to get into the ACTUAL dirt. (I love these little instant peat pods, you can do the gardening without getting super grimy!)
– Do food challenges, either with yourself, against the people in your house, or with friends online. Pick a couple ingredients and/or a piece of equipment that everyone involved has, and see what you can come up with, with just what you have in your house. I bet people could come up with wild ways to use canned beans, if looking at it more like a cooking show challenge, than quarantine drudgery! Also: Would be a fun entry in your quarantine diary!
– Find new ways of working out, if you’re able to and so inclined. A lot of us found ourselves without gyms this week… so make your own gym at home, get creative with it. No weights? Canned food, bottled water, etc can work. No more cardio class? Browse Youtube for all kinds of online fitness classes. No jump rope? Maybe you have some heavy enough twine or rope that would work – cut off an appropriate length, use some duct tape to create a smoother handle for a few inches on each end. Maybe this is the time you take up hiking, or explore the walking trails in your area. Just stay a few metres away from others, and you’ll be good.
– For my fellow figure skaters our there: Get to work on your flexibility! You could return to the ice with a killer spiral, maybe even the spread eagle you’ve always wanted. Now is the time to work on cranky muscles without worry about how it’ll screw with your session tomorrow. Pro tip: Ankle weights (Which you can get on Amazon, below!) are KEY to a great spiral – it’s not just about flexibility, it’s about strength… especially as skates are heavier than the running shoes you do off ice in!
Do some work on plyometrics, and your jumps will improve when you finally get back on the ice. Seriously, you can add a couple inches in height, with a bit of work. Let’s use this time to really BRING IT, next season!
– While a lot of my tips have been about catching up, you could use the time to get ahead, also. Organize your Christmas card / gift list – or design your holiday cards – for example. Take a look at your calendar and see what you’ve got coming up in the next 8-12 months or so – is there anything to tackle now? Remember, when life returns to normal, most of us will be catching up on things we couldn’t do during this time…. so a little pre-planning now will free up your time for after this period.
– Long distance viewing parties. Pick a movie that friends have access to, start up a thread on Facebook or whatever, and all start watching – and chatting – at the same time. The cheezier the movie, the better.
– Hold a photo shoot for your cats, kids, or self. Go serious – maybe get that perfect profile pic you’ve been wanting – or ridiculous… just have fun. Also, if you do take photos of your pets, be sure to share… especially if costumes are involved!
– If you do end up having to get out for some groceries, remember: Indian and Asian grocery stores have the BEST snacks. Trust me.
– On a totally self serving note, if you’ve made some recipes from this site before, consider leaving a review on that page! I’ve been working hard to convert past recipes over to a new format to help with SEO, and – with the huge disruption to income right now – a few reviews go a long way to helping me out, long term!
All converted recipes have a stars review option just over the comments section. If the recipe you want to review doesn’t have the option, let me know which recipe it is, and I’ll bump it up on the conversion line.
Please and thank you 🙂
This is getting a bit long, so I’ll cut it off here. Did I miss anything? What are YOU occupying your time with, these days?
Links to My Previous Posts on Autism
With Autism Awareness/ Acceptance month more than half over (WHEW!), I’d like to take the opportunity to spread a little more awareness.
Autistic people face an infuriating Catch-22 situation, and I’m not entirely sure that neurotypicals are even aware of it – even the well-meaning allies. So, consider this a PSA of sorts.
People who meet the neurotypical definition of “autistic enough” – maybe they’re nonverbal, don’t withhold their stimming, and/or need assistance of some sort – are seen as being less than human. .. And less than capable of speaking up for themselves.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people written off as “stupid”, just because they don’t communicate verbally. (Not talking is not the same as not thinking… it’s not even the same thing as “not communicating”)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen autistic self-advocacy written off because, essentially, autistic opinions aren’t “human” enough to matter.
Autistic people are under immense pressure from society to conform, and to present as neurotypical as possible. “Until every piece fits“, after all. Even beyond the ridiculously offensive idea of “curing” us, most “therapies”, etc are about bullying us (torture, in some cases – ABA, for instance) into submission, and appearing more allistic. It’s not about helping us with things like over-stimulation, it’s more about goals of forcing autistic people to not flap their hands, etc. Parents and teachers telling autistic kids “Quiet hands!!”- when a child is stimming – is actually a thing.
(Don’t get me started on the whole issue of parents being upset about a lack of (verbal) “communication”, while actively working to silence actual, non-verbal communication by autistics. Words aren’t the only way to communicate, and for a society that is so hung up on body language… many neurotypical people sure go out of their way to ignore/squash Autistic body language!)
… but when you spend your life observing, mimicking, putting yourself through horrible discomfort, watching your every word and movement, etc… you know what your reward is for finally reaching that ability to “pass”?
It’s being told that you’re not autistic enough.
Autistic people who “pass” are frequently told that they’re not autistic enough, or just plain aren’t autistic. This usually happens when an autistic person speaks up for autistic rights, etc. I just read a tweet where the woman “came out” in a college class, was told she shouldn’t say “autistic”, she should say “person with autism”. When she said “I am autistic, and I disagree”, she was shut down with the “not autistic enough” nonsense.
This is not only completely illogical behaviour from neurotypicals, I’m pretty sure it’s related to gaslighting – if not actual gaslighting. The idea that we lack agency to talk for ourselves if “autistic enough”, and then lose agency to speak as autistic people if we DO try conforming is cruel and abusive.
I want to discuss something I don’t usually talk about. I don’t know if it’s a personal taboo or more of a community culture thing, but I don’t tend to talk about how much effort goes into “passing”. Like many other things in life, I suppose… the key to “passing” is to make it seem natural, and for people to not actually realize the effort that went into it. (I think I just made a makeup metaphor. Lord. All that work on “passing” is corrupting me!)
As a kid, I chewed shirt collars… all the time, all through elementary school. I’d chew them until my chin was red and irritated. It was just a source of comfort – stimming – during the constant stress I was put through at school and at home. I had no peace, and I had to be constantly on alert.
Through behavioural counseling at school and eventually moving in with my grandmother (and away from major stressors), that particular stim went away – but not without a lot of work. I had to be constantly conscious of it, until it was just habit to not do it anymore.
It wasn’t the only way I trained myself to pass. I spent YEARS watching faces, making note of patterns, and even studying facial expressions. I put myself in super uncomfortable social situations, to learn. I observed other kids interacting, and worked on mimicking. It was a lot of hard work, resulted in a lot of discomfort, and even more bullying.
These days, I can get along with neurotypicals, even if they’re not always the most logical creatures on the planet. I still have to watch everything I say (NT/allistic people are big on filtered speech, however inefficient that restriction may be), keep the rocking and flapping to a minimum, etc. When I’m out running errands, I have to endure incredible pain from high pitched electronic noises that you may not even hear… simply because wearing noise canceling headphones would be seen as “weird”. My eyes hurt from too-bright florescent light in stores, because wearing sunglasses inside is similarly seen as weird. I could be so much more comfortable, if I wasn’t so focused on passing.
You may see someone who passes as one of you, but what you don’t see is how much brainpower and energy is being wasted in trying to live up to an allistic standard, or the physical pain I can be in. Because you don’t see that, it can be easy to write me off as “not autistic” or “not autistic enough”… and that is incredibly frustrating.
The thing is, living as an autistic in a neurotypical world feels a lot like an abusive relationship. We bend over backwards, and our efforts are rarely – if ever – reciprocated. Rather than being met halfway, we’re expected to do all of the changing. We have to understand allistic facial expressions, but allistic people aren’t expected to figure out autistic body language. We have to go through sensory hell, rather than expect stores to just tone down the brightness and noise. Let’s be real, NO ONE needs things that bright and noisy!
Because of this lack of reciprocity – and I can’t believe I’m admitting this – I often fantasize about just NOT trying to “pass” anymore. It’s a delicious fantasy – just being as comfortable as possible, no longer concerned about trying to live up to the allistic “standard”.
I don’t really have the guts – or means (No longer passing would definitely affect my income!) – to drop my efforts entirely. The other day I felt a bit ballsy and wore my sunglasses inside – it felt completely subversive.
Maybe someday I’ll invest in noise cancelling headphones to wear while running groceries. It certainly would be nice to drown out all of the high pitched electronic nonsense that’s *everywhere*, but again… the beaten-in desire to “pass” prevents me from doing so, even though I’d be FAR more comfortable.
I guess the awareness I’d like to raise, through this post, is that you never can tell what someone else is going through, to present neurotypical. I wish people would think about this when trying to silence autistic voices.
PS Here are some of my previous posts on Autism.