This is not meant to be political, but it feels so timely, and so important, and frankly, so scary… According to NPR, unpublished data from the US Justice Department pertaining to sex crimes revealed that people with intellectual disabilities are 7 times more likely to be the victims of sexual assault. That data shows that they are more likely to be assaulted by someone they know and during daytime hours.
“Predators target people with intellectual disabilities because they know they are easily manipulated and will have difficulty testifying later. These crimes go mostly unrecognized, unprosecuted and unpunished…Police and prosecutors are often reluctant to take these cases because they are difficult to win in court.”
It is frightening to think that the very situations that we hope will be opportunities for Frankie to grow and learn the most – ones where she is not in my direct supervision all day long – might be the ones that put her at risk throughout her life. How do we strike that balance between letting her expand her horizons and keeping her safe?
I don’t know the answer to that. But my only tool right now is education – teaching her what to watch out for and what to say or do in certain situations and recruiting trusted allies who have her best interests at heart that can look out for her when I can’t. I hope with all my heart that it’s enough. In the meantime, it is my biggest wish that you are all willing to be those allies, not only for Frankie, but for all of your friends and acquaintances with disabilities, too.