Men With Disabilities More Likely to Be Victims of Sexual Violence, Study Says
Men with disabilities are more likely to be victims of sexual violence during their lifetimes than men without any disabilities, according to a national study by UMass Medical School, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The study gathered data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national telephone survey that took place from 2005-2007. Its primary findings—that men with disabilities were about 2.8 percent more likely to experience sexual violence than men without disabilities—will appear in the March 2016 edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The men in the study were also found to be more likely than other males to report experiences of non-consensual sex during their lifetime.
UMass’ research is one of the few studies to analyze men with disabilities and sexual violence, specifically with regards to perpetrator-survivor relationships. Similar studies in the past have tended to only include women.
A previous study by lead author Monika Mitra, an associate professor at UMass’ Disability, Health, and Employment Policy Unit, found that men with disabilities were nearly twice as likely to experience sexual violence specifically perpetrated by an intimate partner. The study also found a higher rate of mental and physical illness among these victims.
In a statement, the researchers wrote that sexual assault prevention needs to be better targeted toward the disabled community as a whole. “Given the relatively high prevalence of sexual violence among people with disabilities of both genders, sexual assault screening, prevention, and response efforts need to be inclusive and attentive to all people with disabilities,” the statement says.