Friday, October 20, 2017

Them, Too? What About Those with Disabilities?

My autistic brother in law, Bil, has never had a girlfriend.

He is definitely interested in women, especially blondes.  But I don't even know if he has ever tried to ask a woman out on a date.

On the other hand, would I ever have wondered if Bil was ever a victim of unwanted advances, on the other hand?

The recent #MeToo movement has made me wonder how many people outside of the disability community are aware of how often this vulnerable part of our population are subjected to this type of abuse. This is not to minimize what we of the non-disabled community have gone through (I am a woman in my 60's, so yes, I can come out and say MeToo, but that isn't the purpose of this blog post), but rather to bring up the following.

Here are some troubling statistics, courtesy of the national ARC: I quote, and hope the ARC is OK with that.  This word needs to go out.

"How often do adults and children experience sexual violence?
Studies consistently demonstrate that people with intellectual disability are sexually victimized more often than others who do not have a disability (Furey, 1994). Other studies suggest that 49 percent of people with intellectual disability will experience 10 or more sexually abusive incidents (Sobsey & Doe, 1991).
Any type of disability appears to contribute to higher risk of victimization but intellectual disability, communication disorders, and behavioral disorders appear to contribute to very high levels of risk, and having multiple disabilities (e.g., intellectual disability and behavior disorders) result in even higher risk levels (Sullivan & Knutson, 2000)....

Women are sexually assaulted more often when compared to men whether they have a disability or not, so men with disabilities are often overlooked. (emphasis is mine) Researchers have found that men with disabilities are twice as likely to become a victim of sexual violence compared to men without disabilities (The Roeher Institute, 1995). "

And this....
" How can sexual violence of people with intellectual disability be prevented?
The first step is recognizing the magnitude of the problem and facing the reality that people with intellectual disability are more likely to be assaulted sexually than those without disabilities. Also, societal attitudes must change to view victims with disabilities as having equal value as victims without disabilities, and giving them equal advocacy. Every sexual assault, regardless of who the victim is, must be taken seriously."

Yes, Bil is at risk, as is everyone else with an intellectual or communication disability, and Bil has both.

I wonder....does Bil have a #MeToo story to tell?


  1. Hiya ... sadly I'm sure it applies ... as these abuses are put into the public domain over here ... but I expect there are many many more which aren't reported or known about. I hope Bil doesn't exhibit too many symptoms or too often ... then you can rest more easily. Another challenge ... which I hope won't happen to Bil ... Hilary

  2. I truly hope that BIL does not have a #MeToo story.
    Reading your post made me think of Jean Vanier's book 'Man and Woman He made them' which talks about human sexuality based on his work with with people with disabilities.


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