Autistic Women Face Three Occasions the Threat of Sexual Assault


A latest of 4,500 Swedish twins discovered that autistic women from ages 9-18 have been thrice as prone to expertise sexual assault when in comparison with their neurotypical counterparts. This statistic is especially alarming as women and girls with traits of ASD (Autism Spectrum Dysfunction) already face difficulties receiving the analysis, with the common age of analysis being 16 years of age. , an autistic advocate and blogger, explains why these women are at an elevated danger for sexual assault:

“Autistic folks have a type of handbook transmission mind, as we have now to be taught social expertise, as an alternative of it coming naturally. This combines with patriarchy, consent tradition, and points with sexuality. We don’t cognitively multitask very properly and studying social conditions doesn’t occur intuitively. In our society, loads of how sexuality and courtship works is oblique, not overt, and requires this dance of nonverbal communication. Autistic persons are not inherently outfitted until they be taught it painstakingly, after which it usually nonetheless takes much more effort to keep up. It’s a drawback.”

Not solely do social deficits put them at larger danger for sexual assault, however it is usually steady social rejection that’s usually part of rising up autistic. This could result in elevated receptivity to optimistic social consideration, making it troublesome to tell apart true, heat friendship from predatory behaviour:

“Having that directed optimistic consideration will be so hypnotizing for somebody with that background. There’s this degree of social trauma in autism that can often make folks actually grateful to somebody who’s directing loads of optimistic consideration. Sexual want from predators can look lots like optimistic consideration, being pleasant, actually liking you, considering you’re humorous. All all these issues that don’t come from oblique courtship. They’re going to speak to you particularly greater than different folks, smile at you, have a look at you extra, possibly stand near you, contact you a little bit – all these issues that you could be be starved for.”

In terms of what we will do to counteract this danger of sexual assault for autistic women and girls, Lindsmith suggests a number of methods that could be useful, equivalent to asking direct questions when emotions of discomfort come up:

“I prefer to ask questions, as I discover that saying no outright is commonly harmful, and asking questions can have the identical impact with a lot much less hazard. ‘What are we going to do there?’ Being authentically your self while you’re confused or offended could be very protecting.”

Different choices embrace implementing a buddy system and discovering methods to have open conversations with trusted family and friends on boundaries in courting. With the ability to focus on one’s ideas and emotions shouldn’t be solely a useful supply of assist, but in addition permits for others to present folks on the spectrum concrete recommendation on the best way to navigate troublesome and uncomfortable conditions. Nevertheless, this selection is usually extra accessible for ladies and will place autistic boys at a drawback. Lindsmith explains:

“The buddy system is likely one of the assets that autistic women and girls usually have that isn’t as straightforward to entry for autistic boys and males. Tony Atwood calls this the ‘Mom Hen buddy’ phenomenon, the place lady gender tradition encourages nurturing, guiding behaviour. Women are far more keen to take somebody below their wing, educate the nerdy buddy the best way to gown. Say you go to a celebration, you don’t go alone, you go along with your Mom Hen buddy, who you belief, and don’t depart their aspect. Act like they’re your service canine.”

With all of this in thoughts, the most effective methods to cut back the danger of sexual assault for autistic folks could merely lie in consciousness. Facilitating this understanding of this danger for the person, their mates, household, and therapist can enhance entry to the correct of assist.

I feel one of the best factor is to simply remember that that is actual. It’s actual, it occurs to everybody, and it’s not one thing you’re protected against simply since you don’t give it some thought.”

– Elizabeth Liu, Contributing Author

Picture Credit:
Characteristic: at Unsplash, Artistic Commons
First: at Unsplash, Artistic Commons
Second:  at Unsplash, Artistic Commons

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