Lifestyle

A Reflection on Rape and Disability

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It started with a brunch then a casual and impromptu photo shoot in the lower east side. Suddenly the rain came pouring but instead of running for shelter my friend  P. and I  danced under the rain. As we got in a cab P.  and I started talking about our college days. She casually stated “I remember that time I almost got raped”, no tears, not an ounce of emotion. This wasn’t the first time a female friend recounted tales of harassment and/or assaults. You always hear how victims often do not speak up but these conversations happen quite often amongst friends, whether during a walk, in a bathroom or the back of a cab.

Womyn, the countless times we have been catcalled, felt unsafe at night, groped on public transportation, assaulted by a family member. These are obviously not ok and several factors are to blame;

-Being raised in a society that teaches girls to cover themselves to avoid rape but no conversation with boys about consent.

-A society that caters to men whereas their words are more valuable than a womyn’s

-A society that blames the victim rather than hearing what she has to say

-A judicial system so flawed that a judge who was in the same fraternity as the rapist’s father decides to be more lenient in his sentencing.

I could go on and on but what is even more troubling is how casually these conversations insert themselves in everyday conversations. As if we know no one has our back, no one will ever have our back so we suffer in silence, we get angry in silence and we become each other’s therapists.

4 year ago, for my senior thesis, I wrote about the exclusion of people with disabilities in International Development. During my research, I became particularly interested in Disability and Health and some statistics scared the hell out of me:

-80% of women with intellectual disabilities have been raped (Sorenson, 2000)

-83% of women with disabilities will be assaulted in their lifetime (Calenti-Hein and Schwartz, 1995)

-50% of girls who are deaf have been sexually abused compared to 25% of hearing girls (Sullivan, Vernon & Scanlan 1987)

The fact is, people with disability experience sexual violence at a higher rate than those without disabilities.

Womyn with disabilities are seen as more vulnerable.  In some cultures because of the misconception that PWDs do not have sex, they are believed to be STD free thus making them a favorable target. If this is not scary enough, in some parts of our world some believe that having sex with a disabled person can cure HIV/AIDS.

WE are guilty and our school system is guilty for not raising feminist boys, for not teaching them about consent,  Our media is guilty and college campuses are guilty for protecting rapists by somehow making it more about their accomplishments rather than their violent and heinous crimes. I hope that whoever has gone through sexual harassment or assault can one day see themselves as a survivor rather than a victim.

-Mama Cax

(I am well aware that both men and women are capable of being both offenders and victims. In the wake of an unfair sentencing of the Stanford rapist, I decided to write this post which is solely my  personal opinion about the rape of women by men in the U.S.)

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2 thoughts on “A Reflection on Rape and Disability

  1. Wow some really good points. I decided to barely go on most social medias and seldom watch the news. I didn’t know about this since this morning. Being blunt. Being female is scary s:(:( sometimes. We live in a world, where women have to be in fear of things like this. We are forced to conceal yourself so, that men won’t have “excuses”. It’s sickening. Rape is honestly one of the things that freak me out and being an older sister and daughter I worry about the women in my life and the other billions around the world . They are prey to senseless predators. We are catcalled, stared at, followed, all because men think it’s amusing. No I we do not like it. We wear what we want for us not you.I really think it is based on the lack of education and the hard lock society puts on openly talking about sex, rape and violence. So many go through it, so why not talk bout it. Those PWDs stats were scary, a person should not be preyed on because they are an easy target. I sometimes dream of a world in the future, where a man or woman who commits this heinous act gets a harsher sentences. Not just with these acts, but the justice system as a whole.My biggest issue with our country is we love to stick to the past. Times charge , so why not revise laws that were created for a young country ;it’s been 200+ years. Let us grow and improve. This is what I want to tattoo on the foreheads of the ignorant fools that sit on their high chairs on capital hill.

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  2. Great article!!!! I was just having this conversation with some close friends and family member it’s crazy how a lot of people I know living normal life ( with a past of sexual assault) and feeling that they might chastisize if they spoke about it and it’s very sad.

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