Sexual Violence: Increasing Awareness Through Understanding Lived Experiences
Sexual violence includes unwanted, non-consensual behaviors and language that can happen repeatedly to the same victim. It is not openly discussed, under reported, and rarely prosecuted. The “Untold Stories” research project interviewed survivors, family members, and professionals with extensive experience in the disability field. The objectives of the two-year research project were to understand the lived experiences of survivors, identify the short- and long-term impact of sexual violence on victims and families, explore how state systems address this issue, and make recommendations about risk-reduction strategies. The data can be used to increase awareness and understanding of what NPR called “the hidden epidemic.” Intended recipients for this presentation include self-advocates, employment specialists, researchers, teachers, direct support providers, legal and law enforcement staff, system administrators, and counselors/therapists. Learning Outcomes1. Understand the broad and severe impact of sexual violence on survivors and families.2. Identify sexual violence risk reduction strategies.3. Discuss attitudes that impede addressing the epidemic of sexual violence.