Posted on February 5, 2019
Like many these past weeks, I’ve been following the tragic story of the woman with significant intellectual disabilities receiving services at Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix, Ariz. According to news reports, she gave birth to a child after being sexually assaulted, allegedly by a 36-year old licensed practical nurse. The reports also have tracked the resignation and suspension of two doctors at the facility, and the removal of the now former CEO, who reportedly had sexual harassment allegations leveled against him by various staff members beginning in 2006. Like most people, the story disgusts me, but unlike many, it didn’t shock me.
Disabled people are seven times more likely to be victims of sexual assault than their nondisabled counterparts, according to Department of Justice crime statistics. These crimes are most often committed by people individuals with disabilities know, during the daytime, and in places where the victims, their loved ones or others assume they’d be safe, as reported in an NPR report by Joe Shapiro.