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Rape of the Disabled: The Issue No One Wants to Discuss

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One unstated reason is the resistance to acknowledge that yes, children with disabilities grow up and become teenagers and adults with disabilities who have all the hormonal and sexual urges as any of us. If an individual, like Jennifer and my son Charlie, has intellectual disabilities, there is a tendency to presume that she or he is “always” a kid and best to at stay hush-hush about these subjects.

One sign that we are stuck in thinking about autism and developmental disabilities as children’s issues, and in prioritizing the needs of children over adults, was the absence of any discussion of issues of sexuality, sex education and, yes, rape and sexual assault at a recent Congressional hearing on autism.

Silence and squeamishness do our children and all individuals with disabilities no favors. Of course children with disabilities go through puberty, a confusing period for any child that can be even more so for a child with minimal communication skills and minimal peer interactions. I know my son is very vulnerable. We more than appreciate the staff at his school; we are glad that everyone must have background checks and their fingerprints on file.

Besides taking essential precautions including making sure Charlie is never, ever alone, medical personnel, police and other first responders must all be trained. Procedures and protocols — like a rape kit and one that takes into account the numerous communication, intellectual and other disabilities of individuals Iike Charlie — needs to be developed and all personnel trained to use it.†Developing policies to protect Charlie and so many other individuals with disabilities is absolutely crucial as we seek to make this world a better and yes, safer, place for all to live in in.

Not being able to say you were raped shouldn’t be a reason to not investigate and to just let the attacker disappear.

 

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137 comments

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8:15AM PST on Feb 24, 2013

thanks Kristine

8:12AM PST on Feb 24, 2013

Children with learning disabilities have different levals of learning. Most of our schools the classes are too large 35 students to a class. The teacher doesn't have the time to spend with the children with mental disabilities, they fall through the cracks. The east coast have more schools with the ability to teach different . When you get to the country schools in the rural areas of our country , students with disabilities are just passed on. I know one girl that can't make change who graduated. There are a lot more. A lot of students just give up and quit school, this is sad. Ill. has a good project going, where they have pods that are just like homes where they are taught to cook, clean house, wash cloths, make change, even read if able to learn how. Then are put in apartments and some one looks in on them at least once a week. They also have jobs where they work and make money.But in regular classes I really don't know, as other children can be very unthinking and say things to them and call them names. No compassion.

5:18AM PST on Jan 28, 2013

They should be equally treated and get helped

5:34PM PST on Jan 27, 2013

noted

6:48PM PST on Jan 16, 2013

Having worked with this subgroup of our culture I am well aware of these issues. Sadly it is difficult to get any action on it. Most women without issues (and the few males who come forward) have little chance of proving in a court of law. May guardians of people with disabilities don't even try to go there as the child with disabilities will be torn to shreds in court. The solution... I really don't know. Sexual assault is such a taboo topic and so often the victim gets blamed or told they are lying. Oh and if the Rep party (and probably Harper's party) is correct, women don't get pregnant when raped so those who do must be lying about what happened. Since many of the judges who are appointed are conservative and old school they take the side of the dumbasses who make the statements or assaulted the helpless individual.

11:01PM PST on Dec 29, 2012

thnx for raising awareness of this

8:00AM PST on Dec 27, 2012

WTF is wrong with people? raping disabled people?????? Who does that?? The world is just whacked out, I don't know what else to say, how insane.

7:00PM PST on Dec 26, 2012

Rape is rape.

6:54AM PST on Dec 26, 2012

Sad.

12:30AM PST on Dec 18, 2012

the people who make up society are in denial about rape in any case

the idea of rape of our most vulnerable is too much for some people to bear

What I hate is that if you acknowledge that this happens, it seems as if you are the one who is acting in bad taste

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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