Sexual Abuse in the I/DD Population

natalieTalia Herman for NPR

This week, NPR is debuting a special year-long investigative series about the incidence of sexual assault against individuals with Intellectual/ Developmental Disability. One of the stories highlighted in today’s All Things Considered is from CaliforniaSibs co-founder Julie’s sister, Natalie.

The stories shared in these profiles can be heart-breaking and infuriating. They are hard to listen to and read. It is important that we all take the time to open ourselves to this information.

As uncovered in this series, the incidence of rape for an individual with I/DD is seven times higher than the incidence for someone without a disability, and those numbers are almost certainly under-reported. Many of these individuals do not have a voice. Those with a voice are often challenged and not believed. Those that are believed may not find justice. Those that achieve a guilty verdict may not receive treatment or realize any compensatory changes.

Please take the time to listen to or read these stories, and gain a better understanding of the scope of the problem. The next time you have an opportunity to advocate for someone with I/DD, or to participate in the #metoo or #timesup initiatives, lend your voice and your privilege to those who remain voiceless.

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