Afterwards the guy said to me, "It's just a hug, it's no big deal", to which I responded with "Would you hug someone you were meeting for the first time?". He said that HE wouldn't, but SHE is 'special' and it's not like a hug means anything to her. We continued to have a conversation about people with a disability and sexuality, during which he admitted he doesn't see these people as sexual beings and couldn't understand why I do sexuality education programs when "they don't have sex anyway".
Just to be clear, by 'sexuality' I don't mean the act of having sex. Sexuality is who we are, not what we do and sexuality education is not just about sex - It's about relationships, emotions, how to express ourselves, public and private body parts, public and private acts and places, good touch and bad touch, self protection and so many other things.
If nothing else, surely sexuality education in the form of self protection is important. I understand that not everyone is willing to see all people as sexual beings, and that's OK. What I don't understand is why we can't acknowledge that EVERYONE has a right to knowledge and education, and most importantly, to be safe. This is currently not the case. In fact, here are some vary scary stats:
- People with a disability are 3 times more likely to be physically assaulted.
- People with a disability are 10 times more likely to be sexually assaulted.
- Almost one third of perpetrators are service providers (people working as carers, teachers, staff in respite centres etc).
- Up to 83% of women with a disability will be sexually assaulted. That's more than 8 in 10.
- It is likely there are more cases of abuse that have not been reported.