Content warning: This article discusses sexual violence.

This April marks the 23rd anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. On college campuses — including Amherst’s — sexual assault awareness is of utmost importance in creating a safer environment for survivors: students between the ages of 18 and 24 experience high rates of sexual violence, and sexual assault at college makes up a significant percentage (43 percent) of crimes. Due to various factors, such as survivors’ shame and fear of not being believed, sexual assault on college campuses is also incredibly underreported.

It is important, within this context, to recognize that marginalized populations — including disabled people — often suffer sexual assault at disproportionate rates. Rapists often exploit the more vulnerable status of marginalized people in order to harm them without suffering consequences. One way that this shows up is the systemic sexual victimization of disabled people. (I use the broad term “sexual victimization” to encapsulate both sexual assault and sexual harassment.) Read more…

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