Bringing Sex Ed to Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, to End Abuse

We ask 'what's next' for this #metoo moment, and I'm heartened by stories like this one on NPR, addressing sex education for individuals with intellectual disabilities, which notes that people with intellectual disabilities are sexually assaulted at a rate more than seven times that for people without disabilities. The story quotes a New Hampshire sex educator, Katherine McLaughlin, who describes the way the education system has failed to address the needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities when it comes to sex education:

"We don't think of them as sexual beings. We don't think of them as having sexual needs or desires." McLaughlin says. "Often they're thought of as children, even when they're 50 years old."

Sexual abuse, harassment (or sex, full stop) can be hard to talk about. What this story makes clear is that individuals with intellectual disabilities have had a feature of their life dismissed, at the expense of their safety. When we talk openly about sexual abuse, we have conversations like these, about how individuals with intellectual disabilities are disproportionately affected by sexual abuse, and how important frank and honest sex ed teaching is (for this and all populations).

Read more:

"For Some With Intellectual Disabilities, Ending Abuse Starts With Sex Ed"