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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 have been thrice 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 prognosis, with the common age of prognosis 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 individuals have a sort of handbook transmission mind, as now we have to be taught social expertise, as a substitute of it coming naturally. This combines with patriarchy, consent tradition, and points with sexuality. We don’t cognitively multitask very effectively 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 individuals are not inherently geared up until they be taught it painstakingly, after which it usually nonetheless takes much more effort to take care of. 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 larger threat for sexual assault, however it’s also steady social rejection that’s usually part of rising up autistic. This will result in elevated receptivity to constructive social consideration, making it troublesome to differentiate true, heat friendship from predatory behaviour:

“Having that directed constructive consideration could be so hypnotizing for somebody with that background. There’s this degree of social trauma in autism that may regularly make individuals actually grateful to somebody who’s directing loads of constructive consideration. Sexual want from predators can look so much like constructive consideration, being pleasant, actually liking you, pondering 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 individuals, smile at you, have a look at you extra, possibly stand near you, contact you somewhat – all these issues that you could be be starved for.”

In terms of 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 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 indignant could 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. With the ability to focus on one’s ideas and emotions will not be solely a useful supply of assist, but additionally permits for others to offer individuals on the spectrum concrete recommendation on the way to navigate troublesome and uncomfortable conditions. Nevertheless, this feature is usually extra accessible for women and will place autistic boys at a drawback. Lindsmith explains:

“The buddy system is likely one of the sources that autistic women and girls usually have that isn’t as simple to entry for autistic boys and males. Tony Atwood calls this the ‘Mom Hen good friend’ phenomenon, the place lady gender tradition encourages nurturing, guiding behaviour. Women are far more keen to take somebody below their wing, educate the nerdy good friend the way to costume. Say you go to a celebration, you don’t go alone, you go along with your Mom Hen good friend, 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 scale back the chance of sexual assault for autistic individuals might merely lie in consciousness. Facilitating this understanding of this threat for the person, their associates, household, and therapist can enhance entry to the correct of assist.

I feel the perfect factor is to only 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: Aleksandar Kurešević at Unsplash, Inventive Commons
First: Jack Finnigan at Unsplash, Inventive Commons
Second: kevin laminto at Unsplash, Inventive Commons

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