Men With Disabilities, Four Times More Likely To Be Sexually Abused

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In prior studies and surveys, it has been said that women with disabilities are more likely to be the subject of sexual abuse compared to women without any impairments. In the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the first study which tackled a population based investigation of sexual violence victimization against men was published. Researchers of the study have reported that as compared to those men without any disabilities, men who are disabled are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted.

“Men with disabilities are at a heightened risk for lifetime and current sexual violence victimization,” said the lead investigator Monika Mitra, who is a research scientist of the Center for Health Policy and Research, and Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School. “The most notable finding is that the prevalence of lifetime sexual violence, completed rape, and attempted rape against men with disabilities was comparable to that against women without disabilities, and past-year rates for men with disabilities exceeded those for women without disabilities.”

Dr. Mitra further explains that “this study also broadened research of such victimization against men with disabilities beyond the intimate partner context to acquaintances and strangers, as well as family members, intimate partners, and dates. This is particularly relevant for people with disabilities whom earlier studies have suggested are especially likely to experience abuse from caregivers and personal care and other attendants, in addition to intimate partners.”

The researchers who came from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made use of data coming from the 2005 Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (MA-BRFSS). There were about 22,000 respondents in this annual health survey of non-institutionalized adults, and this survey was also done in collaboration with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study found out that:

-          Approximately 13.9% of men with disabilities reported lifetime sexual violence, compared to 3.7% of men without disabilities, 26.6% of women with disabilities, and 12.4% of women without disabilities.

-          Men with disabilities (5.3%) were more likely to report past-year sexual violence than men (1.5%) and women (2.4%) without disabilities and less likely than women with disabilities (6.3%).

The participants were asked about (1) whether anyone ever had or attempted to have sex with them without their consent; and (2) whether in the past year anyone had touched them sexually without their consent/despite their objections or had exposed them to nonconsensual sexual situations that did not involve physical touching.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, men and boys are also the victims of the crimes of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape. In fact, in the U.S., over 10% of all victims are male. And as per the Male Abuse Survivor Report website, male survivors of childhood sexual abuse and male rape have until recently been the silent, unseen victims of sex crimes; often forgotten by the support services and legal system. In the last couple of years this has fortunately begun to  slowly change.

As many as 1 in 5 males will be sexually abused before the age of 18. According to FBI figures in the USA, about one in 5 adult rape victims are male.




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