Sexual Inequality

1700 Words7 Pages
Disability and Sexual Assault Intersectionality asserts that different groups of people experience inequalities and violence in unique ways. Sexual violence against women transpires in all regions of the world but some groups are often not included in discussions. Ableism was extremely apparent throughout the twentieth century in terms of the legal system. This control takes a drastically different form in current laws and discussions. A historical and contemporary analysis of the sexual assault and violence targeted toward disabled women, intersected with location and economic status, reveals the challenges in regards to laws and regulations, accessibility, and omissions in the feminist framework. Throughout the twentieth century, people…show more content…
The existing laws and regulations are not adequate to address the assault and exploitation of disabled women in Canada. Women with mental disabilities who have experienced sexual assault may not pursue legal action toward the perpetrator. This may be due to the widespread belief “that the woman will be unable to participate in or withstand a criminal investigation” (Benedet and Grant, 2014, p. 134). The inquiries and questionings involved in criminal investigations are often lengthy, intrusive matters for those involved, in addition to doubts of the victim 's claims. Next, women with mental disabilities or illnesses may be targeted due to the fact that they are less likely to accuse the assailant. Benedet and Grant (2014) reference a study in Australia that showed that “cases involving a complainant with a psychiatric or mental health issue were least likely to result in a charge being laid and twice as likely to be determined as false” (p. 135). Law-makers and those involved in the criminal justice system must put into consideration the fact that the credibility of a victim 's statements of an assault should not be scrutinized more heavily based upon ability or disability. Moreover, there are stereotypes in social and legal affairs regarding the appearance of 'real ' sexual assaults, namely concerning the reliability of physically or mentally disabled women as they may lack the ability to resist an assault or to consent (Randall, 2010). Women with physical disabilities experience assault at high rates, and are not viewed as credible victims. They are often “safe targets” for sexual assault; that is, they are less able to fight back and less likely to be believed by others that they were victims of violence. Randall (2010) wrote that “ 'real ' victims can prove their victim status and establish the credibility of their rape claims by demonstrating that they resisted the assault and that their resistance took a socially expected form” (p. 398). However, when
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