Regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or class, women
with disabilities are assaulted, raped and abused at a rate more than
two times greater than non-disabled women (Sobsey, 1994;Cusitar, 1994; DisAbled Women's Network, 1998)
The risk of being physically or sexually assaulted for adults with developmental disabilities is likely 4 to 10 times as high as it is for other adults (Sobsey, 1994)
Research has found that 68% to 83% of women with developmental disabilities will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, which represents a 50% higher rate than the rest of the population (Sobsey,1988)
A study of 100 psychiatric inpatients found that 81% had been physically
or sexually assaulted during their lifetime (Jacobson and Richardson,
50% of women with disabilities have been sexually abused as children,
and 39% to 68% of girls with developmental disabilities in particular
will be assaulted before age 18 (Roeher Institute, 1988)
Children with any kind of disability are almost twice as likely to be sexually abused (Petersilia, 1998)
A study of the victimization history of 93 adult women psychiatric emergency
room patients, found that self-reported childhood sexual and
physical abuse were common in this sample (53% and 42% respectively) and concluded that childhood sexual abuse was the most powerful predictor of later psychiatric symptoms and disorders (Briere et al, 1997)
Women with developmental disabilities are more likely to be re-victimized by the same person, and more than half never seek assistance with legal or treatment services (Pease and Frantz, 1994)
Virtually half (48.1%) of the perpetrators of sexual abuse against people with disabilities had gained access to their victims through disability services (Sobsey, 1994)
Caregivers commit at least 1/4 of all crimes against disabled women (Berkeley Planning Associates, 1997)
Disabled women are less likely to be believed when they report incidents
or abuse or assault. Despite the high rates of violence, most crimes
against disabled people go unreported (Sobsey and Doe, 1991)
Being the mom of a 15 yo daughter with multiple cognitive and mental disabilities who this summer discovered she had a 'body' in the backyard with the neighbors in theirs, well you can all guess at the show they got :-) This is definietely not an area to be ignored. Here are some books and videos that you may find helpful. If you ever get a chance to hear a presentation by Dave Hingsburger go, he is wonderful and does things with a great sense of humor.
The Ethics of Touch: Establishing and Maintaining Appropriate Boundaries In Service to People with Developmental Disabilities By Dave Hingsburger and Mary Harber This training package looks at the delicate issue of touch. Those who provide direct care to people with developmental disabilities are often asked to be in private places performing intimate services. From bathing to toiletting to dressing, we are necessarily in close proximity to those we serve. Given this situation, it is imperative that staff be aware of how to provide these services while maintaining appropriate professional boundaries. How do we appropriately express affection toward those we serve? This video suggests new and healthy ways of helping people with disabilities fulfill their deepest needs.
Finger Tips: A guide for teaching about female masturbation By Dave Hingsburger and Sandra Haar, book and video
Just Say Know! By Dave Hingsburger This book explores the victimization of people with disabilities and helps reduce the risk of sexual assault.
Under Cover Dick: A guide for Teaching About Condom Use through Video and Inderstanding By Dave Hingsburger This book and video set provides clear directions regarding condom use. The video discusses transmissins as wellas demostrates the use of a comdom, plus the book provifes photos of each step involved.
Hand Made Love: A Guide for Teaching Male Masterbation By Dave Hingsburger, book and video
No! How!!! Co-written by Dave Hingsburger For too long others have determined what people with disabilities need to know to stop victimization. This video involved people with disabilities in acting, writing, producing and directing a film aimed at others with disabilities. From discussing disability to teaching boundaries and body parts, people with developmental disabilities take the lead.
These can be found at Diverse City Press, http://www.diverse-city.com
Back to Parents' Reading list.
Updated May 1, 1999