To everybody who reblogged my feminism post..
STOP FUCKING CALLING THEM LIVESTOCK. They are animals just like we are. Fucking speciesist scumbags, NONE of you bother me because you’re all wrong and fucking hilarious! Wake the fuck up!
livestock livestock livestock livestock livestock
I’m not too bothered that the person who compared women to heifers and hens and wrote this post thinks that critizing the comparison of women to livestock makes one a specieist scumbag (lawl).
None bother you? Wow, I’d sure hate to see how you react when you *are* bothered ….
(In case you’re unable to figure it out, we can tell you’re very fucking bothered. Livestock, livestock, livestock, tonight’s tasty dinner, scrambled eggs and a big glass of milk. Just for you, mushroomz!)
I have kept my mouth shut all these months out of fear of retribution but I no longer have this fear so I am going to go ahead and ask this. Schwyzer states:
But this notion of “making room” in the blogosphere is based on a faulty premise of scarcity.
If that is indeed the case, then I have to ask: why then did Schwyzer attempt to have me removed from certain feminist spaces when I vehemently wrote against him? If indeed there is no scarcity, then why attempt have ME (a Latina feminist blogger) removed and publicly scolded, all done through backchannels hoping these maneuvers would not get back at me? why try to execute some character assassination to silence me against his obvious racism and sketchy politics?
I cannot be the first one (or last one) over whom he attempted these dirty tactics. But I no longer believe it is fair that I have to remain silent about it because otherwise I’d been seen as a trouble maker. I am a Latina, South American feminist. I AM A TROUBLE MAKER. I believe no other kind of feminism is possible. Schwyzer tried to have me silenced. I am setting the record straight.
Sex Education for Youth w/ Disability
I like to talk about sex. I like to talk about sex education. Now I’d like to talk about those who often get left out of the equation when we discuss good sex education.
Sex Education for Youth with Disability: Strategies for Overcoming Challenges in Education and Handling Parental Concern
At present, individuals with disabilities are living within society as the equals of non-disabled people—at least, legally speaking. Unfortunately, society is less accepting when it comes to individuals with disabilities and their sexual rights. I’m going to address the issue of sex education for youth who live with physical and/or mental disabilities, beginning with invalidating the three most common myths, following with specific strategies for effective education. I’m also going to provide general guidelines for dealing with the concerns of parents of physically or intellectually disabled youth.
Myths About Sexuality and Disability
Myth One: People with Disabilities Do Not Feel the Desire to Have Sex
Historically, individuals with disabilities have been regarded as asexual (Lumley & Scotti, 2001; McCabe, 1999). This false impression is not limited to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities; people assume the same for those with physical disabilities. Contrary to popular belief, individuals with disabilities have and express desire and need for romantic relationships and sexual intimacy. Adolescents with disabilities face double prejudice. The general public has a tendency to overlook adolescents’ sexuality (Tolman, 2000). This is especially true for adolescent girls (Tolman, 2000). Adolescent girls are seen as asexual and their sexual agency nonexistent (Tolman, 2000). Adolescent boys are viewed as oversexed and sexually aggressive as a result of their ‘raging hormones’ while girls are passive and disinterested in sex—their focus being on academics and extracurricular activities (Tolman, 2000). As a result, many young people who live with disabilities do not receive sex education, either in school or at home.
Myth Two: People with Disabilities are Child-like and Dependent
What makes having a disability and enjoying healthy sexuality difficult has more to do with society than it does with the disabled individual. There is a stigma attached to individuals with disabilities because many are dependent on their caregivers, which makes it easy to view them as child-like (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). Arising from this stigma there seems to be the notion that a disabled individual would not be a reciprocal partner (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010).
Myth Three: People with Disabilities are Sexually Deviant and Unable to Control Their Sexual Urges
Depending on their mental abilities, individuals with disabilities are slower to learn than their peers and may express themselves sexually in ways deemed inappropriate, leading others to believe that they are sexually deviant (Lumely, 2001). Public masturbation is the most common inappropriate sexual behavior among individuals with disabilities (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010; Lumely, 2003). Since their sexuality is overlooked, individuals with disabilities are often not told what is appropriate sexual expression and what is not (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010; Lumely, 2003). These individuals are often always under a watchful eye leaving them without the appropriate privacy to act on their sexual urges (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010; Lumely, 2003). It is an educator’s and caregiver’s responsibility to teach their client what is appropriate sexual expression and when and where it is appropriate. It is also the caregiver’s responsibility to allow the disabled individual to develop meaningful relationships (whether romantic or platonic) and to provide them with time and privacy to engage in sexual activity either alone or with a consensual partner.
Strategies for Effective Education
Although individuals with disabilities receive little to no sex education, materials and programs do exist that are designed for youth with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. The following educational strategies will be discussed below: 1) teach the right to refuse 2) use clear definitions, repetition, and concrete examples 3) discuss social norms and include instruction with guidelines of what constitutes appropriate behavior and 4)include time to teach and practice social skills.
Strategy One: Teach the Right to Refuse
Individuals with disabilities are especially vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). Sexual abuse in individuals with disability is strikingly high; from data on reported cases, it is believed that 80% of women with disabilities will experience sexual abuse and that less than 25% of sexual abuse is limited to one episode (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). Most do not even recognize it as abuse (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). Developmental and physical disabilities as well as acquired brain injury (ABI) may impact a person’s ability to read facial expression, body language and social cues (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). Many people with disabilities lack the skills necessary to protect themselves such as assertiveness (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). Therefore a sex education program must incorporate skills to prevent sex abuse (e.g. what constitutes as abuse, the right to refuse, assertiveness training) and encouragement to report unsolicited sexual activity (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010).
Strategy Two: Use Clear Definitions, Repetition, and Concrete Examples
Since intellectual and physical disabilities are often co-morbid, the second strategy—use clear definitions, repetition and concrete examples—is recommended (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). When educating youth with impaired cognitive functioning, utilizing simple language and repetition will assist them in comprehending the material as well as retaining the information in their memory (McCabe, 1999). Use visual aids like models, dolls, pictures and video (McCabe, 1999). For youth with higher cognitive functioning and/or physical disabilities, using examples of others with similar disabilities that have loving romantic relationships may be more appropriate (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010).
Strategy Three: Discuss Social Norms and Include Instruction with Guidelines of What Constitutes Appropriate Behavior
Beginning in early childhood we develop schemas or scripts mainly though observation of our parents and relatives, for pretty much everything. Scripts are models or standards of behaviorthat we follow such as shaking hands upon meeting someone for the first time. Since some individuals with disabilities are slower to learn than their peers or live sheltered lives they may not develop certain scripts at the rate as others (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). Therefore it is important that sex education for individuals with disabilities includes discussion about social norms so they develop socially acceptable sexual scripts (e.g. how to ask someone on a date, how to initiate sexual activity, masturbation needs to be done in private) (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010).
Strategy Four: Include Time to Teach and Practice Social Skills
Education is one thing, but it means nothing if the individual cannot apply it to real life. At the end of a sex education program, it is strongly recommended that there is time to teach the students how to use the information they have learned in real life situations (e.g. learning that condoms protect against STIs, but how to say no to someone when they refuse to use one) (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010; McCabe, 1999). This part of sex education requires the educator to take into consideration the degree of intellectual ability and existing skills and deficits. Social stories, role-plays and other interactive exercises are invaluable ways of ensuring that students are able to master the material (McCabe, 1999).
Handling Parental Concerns
Parents worry—with good reason. They turn to experts for information and advice looking to have that worry put at ease. Most parents are not experts on how to effectively educate their teens about sex, disabled or not.
When handling parent’s concerns it is essential to let them know their concerns are important to you. As your clients, their concerns should be important to you even if you find yourself less empathetic to a certain preoccupation you need to make the parents feel that it is important to you. Always approach an issue of concern with non-judgment (Corey & Corey, 2003). Respond to the best of your ability and when uncomfortable or cannot answer parent’s questions, refer the parents to another professional, an information guide or community resources.
It is important to be well acquainted with societal misconstructions about sex and sex education, as parents are likely to subscribe to many of them (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). More often than not, parents will bring up concerns that have their origins in societal misconstructions (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). When this happens you will be able to let parents know that the concerns are in rooted in falsities and provide them with correct information they may require (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010).
Educating parents on how disability affects sexuality will help them to be more accepting of their son or daughter’s child-to-adult passage and quest for sexual autonomy (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). It will also help them understand that their son or daughter’s disability does not have to prevent them from experiencing and enjoying their sexuality.
One of the biggest concerns of parents other than predation of varying kinds is the inevitable child-to-adult passage (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). Because of worry and the perceived risks of their son or daughter’s burgeoning adulthood, parents may shelter their children and neglect to provide them with opportunities they need to grow into adults and develop healthy sexuality (Lumely 2001). The challenge here is not to dismiss this passage due to the youth’s disability, but to welcome it and adopt strategies, in which they can blossom into healthy, content, and strong men and women (Laura Goodman, personal communication, February 15, 2010). Professionals can help parents and/or other caregivers learn how to provide youth with disabilities more opportunities to socialize and build intimate relationships as well as play a supportive role and encourage them to explore their sexuality appropriately without violating other’s rights (Swango-Wilson 2008; Lumely 2001).
Corey, M.S., Corey, G. (2003). Becoming a helper Fourth Edition. Pacific Grove CA: Wadsworth Group.
Goodman, Laura. (2010 March). EASE: Encouraging advocacy and sexual education—how to talk to your teen with a disability about sexual health. Presentation at the IWK Grace Children’s Hospital, Halifax, NS
Lumley, V.A., & Scotti, J.R. (2001). Supporting the sexuality of adults with mental retardation: Current status and future directions [Electronic Version]. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 3(2), 109-119.
McCabe, M.P. (1999). Sexual knowledge, experience and feelings among people with disability [Electronic Version]. Sexuality and Disabilty, 17(2), 157-170.
Swango-Wilson, A. (2008). Caregiver perceptions and implications for sex education for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities [Electronic Version]. Sexuality and Disability, 26, 167-174.
Tolman, D. L. (2000). Object lessons: Romance, violation, and female adolescent sexual desire. In Tomi-Ann Roberts (Ed.) The lanahan readings in the psychology of women Second Edition (pp.153-171). Baltimore: Lanahan Publishers Inc.