Autistic Ladies Face Three Occasions the Danger of Sexual Assault

A current examine of 4,500 Swedish twins discovered that autistic ladies 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 prognosis, with the typical age of prognosis being 16 years of age. Kirsten Lindsmith, an autistic advocate and blogger, explains why these ladies are at an elevated danger for sexual assault:

“Autistic folks have a sort of guide transmission mind, as we’ve got to be taught 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, quite a lot of how sexuality and courtship works is oblique, not overt, and requires this dance of nonverbal communication. Autistic individuals are not inherently outfitted except they be taught it painstakingly, after which it usually nonetheless takes much more effort to take care of. It’s an obstacle.”

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

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 differentiate true, heat friendship from predatory behaviour:

“Having that directed optimistic consideration will be so hypnotizing for somebody with that background. There’s this stage of social trauma in autism that may ceaselessly make folks actually grateful to somebody who’s directing quite a lot of optimistic consideration. Sexual want from predators can look lots like optimistic consideration, being pleasant, actually liking you, pondering 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, take a look at you extra, perhaps stand near you, contact you a bit – all these issues that you could be be starved for.”

With regards to what we will do to counteract this danger of sexual assault for autistic women and girls, Lindsmith suggests a number of methods which may 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 whenever 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 isn’t solely a useful supply of assist, but in addition permits for others to present folks on the spectrum concrete recommendation on the right way to navigate troublesome and uncomfortable conditions. Nevertheless, this feature is usually extra accessible for ladies and should place autistic boys at an obstacle. Lindsmith explains:

“The buddy system is among 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 buddy’ phenomenon, the place lady gender tradition encourages nurturing, guiding behaviour. Ladies are way more prepared to take somebody underneath their wing, train the nerdy buddy the right way to gown. Say you go to a celebration, you don’t go alone, you go together with your Mom Hen buddy, who you belief, and don’t go away their facet. Act like they’re your service canine.”

With all of this in thoughts, the most effective methods to cut back the chance of sexual assault for autistic folks might 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 bear in mind that that is actual. It’s actual, it occurs to everybody, and it’s not one thing you’re shielded from simply since you don’t give it some thought.”

– Elizabeth Liu, Contributing Author

Picture Credit:
Characteristic: Aleksandar Kurešević at Unsplash, Artistic Commons
First: Jack Finnigan at Unsplash, Artistic Commons
Second: kevin laminto at Unsplash, Artistic Commons


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