This past week I had the pleasure of engaging in a conversation about sexual violence with some awesome young women. It really was a pleasure since I think that this is a topic that doesn’t get discussed nearly enough, and there is far too much silence on the topic. In fact, the majority of the conversation focused around the barriers that prevent young women from openly discussing sexual violence. As awesome as the conversation was, I wanted to take it to the next step and talk a little bit about how this relates to the dis/Ability community.
Although there are many reasons why women with disabilities are far more likely to have experienced sexual violence, I wanted to address some of the specific issues that they face around speaking about their experiences and finding support.
One of the big barriers within the dis/Ability community is the way that sex in general is approached. Even today there is still the attitude that most people with disabilities do not have sexual feelings or be can’t perform sexual acts. This attitude is used for an excuse for why persons with disabilities often don’t receive any kind of sex education or information on healthy relationships. If we don’t make the same kind of really basic sex education (however lacking and misguided it may be) available to persons with disabilities, it is no wonder that the space is rarely if ever made to openly talk about sexual violence.