CALCASA-Campus Crime: California Coalition Against Sexual Assault Sexual Assault of Students with Disabilities Copyright 2000, 2001, Nora Baladerian, Ph.D. All rights reserved. For permissions conctact [email protected] Presented by…. Nora J. Baladerian, Ph.D., ACFE, CST from the Disability, Abuse & Personal Rights Project Los Angeles, California AND Roberta Gibbons, Associate Director & Project Director, Program Against Sexual Violence at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities What’s the Problem? Sexual abuse of students is a problem. Sexual abuse of students with disabilities is a problem that has not been focused upon to date, yet is a crime that occurs every year on campuses across the country. Sexual abuse of students with disabilities is not counted, thus only anectodal accounts and estimates are available. So, how big is the problem??? Obviously, with no data being collected, we can only estimate….how do we do that? We can extrapolate from studies of abuse of children with disabilities. Findings range from an increased rate of abuse from 2-10 times the rate of abuse of generic kids. We can extrapolate from studies of sexual assault in generic populations…. …how big is the problem cont’d •Which indicate that 1 in 4 women and 1 in ? Men will be sexual assault victims during x period of time (before age 25, during their lifetime, etc.) •Knowing that having a disability increases vulnerability we could just double that (2x the rate) which would bring us to 50% for women with disabilities and x% for men... So, if we don’t know how big the problem is, what’s the problem? We could look at “under-reporting” stats…and determine that only about 14% of cases are reported BUT So long as reports are few, no data collection is required, no special program is needed!! BUT, when specific questions are asked of Police Chiefs and students with disabilities, we find that assaults do occur AND…. …more than meets the eye... When beginning my informal survey of Disabled Student Centers at CSU campuses, none had heard of sexual assault being a problem heard of any program regarding sexual assault for students with disabilities BUT they agreed that they would be interested in receiving materials about this for their students. So, we have converging problems No data collection is required, probably because The “powers that be” have not been convinced or been made aware that this population of students is more vulnerable to abuse than the generic student body Together with External data for generic populations of children and adults with disabilities that show that they have higher rates of criminal victimization than the generic populations Anecdotal information from Chiefs of Police of College Campuses, factual information from college students with disabilities who have been crime victims Together with An awareness by CALCASA and others involved with criminal victimization that this is a problem that has received little attention, and that Gaining an understanding of the student with a disability, Acknowledging the heightened vulnerability to victimization Together with Developing skills in primary, secondary and tertiary prevention Implementing outreach programs to students with disabilities Can lead to a safer campus life for the students with disabilities on college campuses. Begin at the Beginning Who are the students with disabilities? What kinds of disabilities are there? How can you be sure an assault occurred in part because the person has a disability? Does it matter? Do students with disabilities all use the services of the Disabled Students Centers? Who are the students with disabilities? They are students with identified disabilities, in many cases. Some will not have identified a disability. They are students from special education programs for kids with developmental disabilities acquiring work experience. They are students with obvious physical disabilities without an intellectual deficit. What kinds of disabilities are there? Sensory Impairments ( I hate Intellectual Impairments Learning Disabilities Mental Health problems Motor Impairments Orthopedic Difference that word!! ) Sensory Impairments Visual Hearing Touch Taste Smell Intellectual Impairments Mental Retardation • • • • Congenital/Adventitious Borderline Mild Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury • Accident • Stroke Learning Disabilities • Dyslexia • Aphasia • Language Processing – Receptive – Expressive – Mixed • Writing Disabilities Mental Health problems All mental health problems are classified in the DSM-IV, Diagnostic Standards Manual, including Depression Anxiety Bi-Polar Disorders Schizophrenia ADD/ADHD/OCD PTSD *One can be “dual diagnosed” which means either mh + mr OR mh + substance abuse. Motor Impairments Difficulty/inability to move or control any part of the body Individual may require assistance for • getting around (may use a wheelchair or other device ) • communication (may use a computer or other high-tech or low-tech assistance • self care Orthopaedic Difference Person may have a difference in any part of the body which may affect • ability to move, transport, communicate or independently complete activities of daily living (ADLs) • how the person uses adaptations to independently complete ADLs • Appearance, communication or ADLs Source may be acquired or congenital How can you be sure… an assault occurred because the person has a disability? Does it matter? If the crime occurred because the victim has a disability and the perpetrator was taking advantage of the disability…. or Hates people who have disabilities... Important: both men & women are victimized How do students with disabilities differ from other students ??? Actual differences • • • • • Culture Language Communication Mode Life Experience Exposure to information Perceived differences MYTHS STEREOTYPES Actual Differences (1) • Culture • Special classes or special programs • More supervision than others • Thus less autonomy in small decisions for personal care/appearance • Language • For H/H, use of sign languages • For those with developmental disabilities, understanding of words not customary such as advocate, social worker. Actual Differences (2) • Communication Mode • May be standard English • Could include communication boards, higher tech options • May be better with aural or written • Life Experience • Many therapists, special early intervention programs for : • communication • medical • speech • other reasons Actual Differences (3) • Exposure to information • May never have been exposed to information about sexuality • sexual assault • child abuse • system infrastructure Perceived Differences: Myths and Stereotypes “THEY …” are asexual don’t have feelings are all alike are helpless are wild sex fiends --> NIMBY are contagious Spread Competency/devianc y Wildness Angels or God’s gift or punishment Are “less than” Dread Stupidity Important Note: People with disabilities believe these myths and stereotypes about themselves, so they may have a false sense of security that sexual assault is not “their problem” since “no one” would find them attractive enough to rape. They are basically “asexual” They should not think about sex because it is dirty and will only make them sad they cannot have it. It is unseemly (wrong) for disabled people to have sex. This is believable because Signs, programs, depictions related to sexual assault never include people with disabilities No one has ever asked them about SA No one has ever told them that they could be victimized They well recognize the taboos about sex in general & those regarding people with disabilities. (Don’t Tell the Cripples About Sex) So when Sexual Assault occurs The victim • • • • • Feels stupid, inept Feels and is unprepared for this emergency Feels lost, confused Does not feel “welcomed” to generic services May be refused services at generic clinics Acting on Perceived Differences Crazy Thinking (well intentioned but poorly thought out interventions) Examples • No, Go Tell Programs for individuals with mobility, communication & intellectual impairments Sex Education as a treatment response for sexual assault • learning to use a condom as treatment for sodomy victim Confusing Sex Education with Sexual Assault Education. Parents tell kids the y will not be raped Dr Nora’s Maxim: Sex Education is to Sexual Assault as Budgeting Training is to Armed Robbery Perpetrator’s Perspective Perpetrator’s vantage points . He thinks the victim... will not tell will not be able to tell will be too afraid will be too ashamed will not understand Will not be believed Will not be able to identify him or describe the assault He believes he can overcome any accusation (I don’t have a penis, I wasn’t there, etc..) How are students with disabilities the same as others? Young and crazy Seeking independence Trying new activities including drinking and drugs Meeting new people in new environments with little safety guards in place Highly vulnerable to peer pressure including pressure for sex Lack of solid understanding of STD’s and non stranger sexual assaults Do all students with disabilities use the services of the Disabled Students Centers? They may use the Center, but if they are able to register, attend classes and benefit from generic instructional activities without the Center, they may not. BUT, the Centers reach out to students in many informational areas, and could add this to the list of areas they address. What should be done? •You can’t unring this bell !!!!! Practical First Steps Yikes !!! What will this cost ??? • For no money….just – Add “including students with disabilities” to all informational programs, flyers, videos, brochures related to increasing campus safety. – Develop a policy statement at the University that all crimes against students with disabilities will be included in data collection & dissemination efforts. – Ask the Rape Treatment Centers & Counseling Centers to also “invite” students with disabilities For a little bit of money Develop a brochure for students with disabilities that describes sexual assault and • statistics that indicate higher risk • describes specific risk reduction activities • invites discussion groups at the Disabled Students Center on campus • using ADA standards for written materials Coordinate with the MH and Trauma services centers... Create presentations for new students with disabilities on sexual assault, risk reduction and services available; Create presentations for all students on sexual assault, hate crimes, and increasing understanding of differences among students Talk about your pro-active policies on student safety. Take a leadership role Create a database at your centers, to add to the new call for information about the extent of victimization of adults with disabilities. Create anecdotal data to inform safety programs. Gain a reputation through action as a “safety promotion” college campus. PODER Using the concepts of PODER, you can easily develop a brief but pithy and effective risk reduction & safety planning approach PODER in a snapshot Power through information & awareness Overt responses to possible abuse that make sense Determination of potential danger Effective preparedness Response to abuse is expected & effective in ameliorating the impact of the assault Sample brochure It should be inviting fact filled contain truly helpful hints provide philosophical stances be thought provoking and promote introspection and actual safety planning by the reader with friends and family. For Additional Information Call upon the CAN/DO Project: • • • • • • • • Nora J. Baladerian, Project Coordinator Child Abuse & Neglect/Disability Outreach 2100 Sawtelle Blvd. #303-1 Los Angeles, CA 90025 310 473 6768 FAX: 310 996 5585 TDD: 310 478 0588 Email: [email protected] Website: www.disablity-abuse.com THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN STUDENTS WITH DISABIITIES !!!