Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Disability and Sexual Assault


Persons with disabilities are at 1.5 to 5 times the risk of sexual abuse and assault as members of the general population.

Of the most frequent crimes against people with disabilities, more than 90% are offenses.

90% of the girls and women referred to the Seattle Rape Relief Disabilities Project had been exploited by relatives or other people they knew.

Of sexual abuse victims who have disabilities:

• 75% were developmentally disabled;

• More than 40% were mobility impaired;

• 15% were hearing impaired;

• 37% had multiple disabilities.

• Almost 80% were female.

Among developmentally disabled adults, as many as 83% of the women and 32% of men have been victims of sexual assault.

Severe behavior problems in developmentally disabled adults were often a result traumatic sexual abuse by multiple perpetrators, which usually began in childhood.

98% of perpetrators of sexual abuse against persons with disabilities are male.

More than 1/3 of the boys, and more than 1/4 of the girls, with disabilities who sexually abused were physically abused as well. Almost one in five suffered injuries; almost 9% were seriously injured, such as having a bone broken; more 7% contracted a sexually transmitted disease; almost 2% became pregnant; and 1% died as a result of assault.

Sobsey, Dick, R.N., Ed.D., Violence and Abuse in the Lives of People with Disabilities: The End of Acceptance? p. 52, 1994.
Carmody, M. “Invisible Victims: Sexual Assault of People with an Intellectual Disability.” Australia and New Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 17, pp. 229-236, 1991.
Webb, Tracy. “Abuse of the Disabled: Violence against Women with Disabilities.” Working Against Violence in Community.
Sobsey, p. 83.
Stimson, L. And Best, M.C. Courage Above All: Sexual Assault Against Women with Disabilities. Toronto, Women’s Network Canada, 1991, cited in Sobsey, Dick. Violence and Abuse in the Lives of People with Disabilities:
The End of Silent Acceptance? 1994.
Ryan, cited in Sobsey, Dick.
Turk, V. and Brown, H. “Sexual Abuse of Adults with Learning Disabilities.” Cited in Sobsey, Dick.
Sobsey, Dick. 1994.

So the next time you see someone pushing a wheelchair, please don't assume they are some kind of hero.

No comments: