Sexual abuse and communication (what my mum used to say)

Ok, I felt a bit uncomfortable while deciding if I should blog about it or not, but then I blog about life as an autistic female and sexuality is part of life, isn’t it? So it shouldn’t be omitted.

There is some talk about sexuality and autistic females online already and I find it all rather negative. There is talk about how we are much more likely to be victims of sexual abuse, but that never happened to me. The closest thing to sexual abuse was when I was walking to work for 6am on Sunday when I was in my early 30s and a man, possibly coming back from a party, approached me and I talked with him just to not be impolite and he grabbed my bum. It was not a pleasant experience but it didn’t leave me traumatised and anyway, he was probably drunk, so it kind of didn’t matter. I told him rather directly to leave me alone and he did. That’s it, no other unwanted sexual experiences ever happened to me.

I was wondering recently if it’s because of how my mum talked to me about men, who may have dodgy intensions. She never said directly that I may get raped for example. Instead she’d say ‘Be careful because there are men out there who are not very pleasant’ and what it meant to me was that I have to be careful of every men and that anything can happen. Which is BTW the same type of communication that my diagnostician, Oriana Morrison-Clarke, used to tell me that I don’t see other people intensions. While, if you tell us directly what may happen and try to explain that in details we make it mean less than what you mean. If you told me for example that rapes sometimes happen in a club, I wouldn’t even know that they may also happen at the house party and possibly not in every type of clubs, only this one that I was just getting ready for. While the real truth is that they may happen everywhere and by anyone. Which is exactly how I understood my mum’s rather general comment. Maybe that’s why I’m so lucky: I know that I have to be vigilant all the time and take hints from everywhere when I’m around men. I also know that things like that are not being talked about directly so I know man is not going to tell me he wants to rape me.

The other thing that my mum used to say is ‘if you want to get drunk, do that with someone who you know and trust, not with strangers’. What I then made it to mean: I can only get drunk at home or another similar environment. I never got drunk in a club, even if I went there with people who I knew, because strangers were still around.

What I really don’t like in the society is this current talk that women should be allowed to enjoy themsves however they want and that needs to be respected. Of course, it should be respected, in the ideal world, but we don’t live in an ideal world. There are men who are sexual predators out there and those men will be after women who appear vulnerable. Not necessarily those who are wearing the most revealing clothes but those who are the most drunk as they are an easy target. It is us, women, who have the responsibility to safeguard ourselves against unwanted sexual experiences. Of course I’m not saying that if we do that those experiences will never happen, they still may but the likelihood will be grately reduced.

Don’t like what I am saying? Think about your purse: would you leave it lying around unattended in an environment full of strangers? No, you wouldn’t because you know there may be thiefs out there so why you don’t have the same respect to your body?

There was this situation in Poland several years ago when 15 years old girl got really drunk in a club on New Year’s Eve party, was approached by some men who got her out, brutally raped her and left her to freaze to death. We could say that 15 year old shouldn’t be drunk in a club, but does that mean what happened was that girl’s fault? No, of course it wasn’t but if she wasn’t drunk those men wouldn’t approached her because they wouldn’t see her as an easy target. And then, what happened, as a result of police indolence, an innocent man who wasn’t even there at the time, was put to prison for 18 years. And guess what, that girl is still dead. Can you hear what I’m saying: what happened to you may not be your fault but it will be you and your family that will have to live with the consequences.

And by saying that women have right to do whatever they want to and cannot be blamed, you are only putting autistic women at even more risk of sexual abuse because we will take it so literally that it will mean to us we don’t have to be vigilant of anything in any circumstances. So please do not say that.

That’s how we understand communication: if you say something indirectly, we make it more general that you meant it, just in case so that we don’t miss anything. If you talk directly, it will all go over our heads because we assume you covered every little details so if you didn’t mention something, it’s not in the cards.

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