Shocking Rates of Sexual Assault among the Intellectually Disabled

Playing The Sexual Abuse No One Is Talking About

The following material contains mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised.

The Doctors discuss the alarming and shocking statistic that those with special needs and intellectual disabilities are sexually assaulted at a rate 7 times higher than those without disabilities, according to a year-long NPR study.

Child advocate and attorney Areva Martin says, "This is the most vulnerable population there is... they can't speak for themselves," explaining that often this group is not active on social media and cannot share their story in the ways others have recently. She says that 85 percent of the people who assault those with intellectual disabilities are people that the assaulted individual knows.

Watch: Sex Abuse at the Doctor's Office?

In hopes of preventing this type of abuse, Areva explains that there are centers around the country that offer parent education about talking to the intellectually disabled about sex, sexual feelings, and anatomy, along with courses for the intellectually disabled individual to learn about the same subjects. She feels it is key that this population is educated about these feelings and emotions and how to protect themselves from possible abuse .

Watch: Airplane Sexual Assault

"They need to be protected. We have an obligation. If we see something, say something... these individuals deserve to be protected just like any other population," she adds. She also notes that in many cases, people from this population might not be able to identify the abuse correctly and mistake it as someone showing them affection.

More intellectual disability sexual assault prevention resources can be found here.