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HomeMental HealthAutistic Women Face Three Instances the Danger of Sexual Assault

Autistic Women Face Three Instances the Danger of Sexual Assault


A latest research of 4,500 Swedish twins discovered that autistic women from ages 9-18 had been 3 times as more likely 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 typical age of analysis being 16 years of age. Kirsten Lindsmith, an autistic advocate and blogger, explains why these women are at an elevated threat for sexual assault:

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

Looking in at patrons at a seated restaurant or cafe through a misty window.

Not solely do social deficits put them at better threat for sexual assault, however additionally it is steady social rejection that’s usually part of rising up autistic. This may result in elevated receptivity to optimistic social consideration, making it tough to differentiate true, heat friendship from predatory behaviour:

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

With regards to what we are able to do to counteract this threat of sexual assault for autistic women and girls, Lindsmith suggests a number of methods that could be useful, akin to asking direct questions when emotions of discomfort come up:

“I wish to ask questions, as I discover that saying no outright is usually 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 if you’re confused or offended may be very protecting.”

Two young women walking through a city centre.

Different choices embody implementing a buddy system and discovering methods to have open conversations with trusted family and friends on boundaries in courting. Having the ability to talk about one’s ideas and emotions will not be solely a useful supply of assist, but additionally permits for others to provide folks on the spectrum concrete recommendation on the way to navigate tough and uncomfortable conditions. Nonetheless, this feature is usually extra accessible for ladies and will place autistic boys at a drawback. Lindsmith explains:

“The buddy system is without doubt 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 pal’ phenomenon, the place woman gender tradition encourages nurturing, guiding behaviour. Women are far more keen to take somebody below their wing, educate the nerdy pal the way to gown. Say you go to a celebration, you don’t go alone, you go together with your Mom Hen pal, who you belief, and don’t depart their facet. Act like they’re your service canine.”

With all of this in thoughts, top-of-the-line methods to cut back the danger of sexual assault for autistic folks might merely lie in consciousness. Facilitating this understanding of this threat for the person, their pals, household, and therapist can enhance entry to the correct of assist.

I believe 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:
Function: Aleksandar Kurešević at Unsplash, Artistic Commons
First: Jack Finnigan at Unsplash, Artistic Commons
Second: kevin laminto at Unsplash, Artistic Commons

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