Ethics. Research. Community.

[Sexual violence against people with handicaps in institutions]

Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
Two research projects "Because Everything Concerning Violence Hurts--Sexual Exploitation of Girls and Women with Disabilities (Zemp and Pircher 1996) and "Sexualized Violence in the Daily Life of People with Disabilities" (Zemp et al. 1997) will be introduced. The following study examined women and men with disabilities who live in a residential institution due to their physical, mental and/or psychological disability. Sexual exploitation starts where a person is used by another in order to satisfy certain needs without being informed or giving consent. Sexual exploitation is an expression of a power relationship. People with disabilities are underprivileged concerning resources, articulation and information, position in society and degree of organisation. We worked with questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. It was important to us not to exclude anybody from the study due to the severity of the disability. In cases where participants were incapable of verbal communication, we used "yes/no-conversation" and "anatomical dolls". 130 men and 130 women between aged between 18 and 78 participated in this study. All women received prophylactic contraception in order to avoid the product of rape. Both male and female participants showed diminished knowledge of sexual education. Approximately 64% of female and 50% of male participants indicate that they have been exploited sexually. Disabled room mates were the predominant group of perpetrators for the male and the third important for the female participants. Sexualized violence in residential institutions is directly linked to structural violence. This can only be fought effectively by a change in paradigms from controlled to self-determined life.
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