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We Need To Talk About Autistic Women And Rape

I haven’t been able to find stats about autistic women and violence. But disabled women in general are three times more likely to be raped or victims of domestic violence. And given the fact that we’re naive, I’m assuming we’re among the most vulnerable kids in the bunch.

I wish the neurodiversity movement would address this properly. There are some convincing genetic arguments that autism is beneficial to society. But how do they reconcile the pain it causes? Millions of women are raped, battered and killed because we don’t know how to recognize the warning signs.

Now with the appropriate education, many of us can learn to pick up on signs that someone is dangerous. Early diagnosis is crucial. But given the fact that a.) we’re gullible, b.) we’re desperate for anyone to want to be with us, and c.) we’re led to believe that our instincts are wrong, I can’t imagine that autistic women will ever be on level ground with neurotypicals. And yes. Men get raped too. Autistic men are also more vulnerable than their NT counterparts.

I’m lucky to not have been raped. (Well, unless you count one drunk night years ago. Gray area.) But when I was in high school I had a boyfriend who was bad news. If I wasn’t autistic I think I would have picked up on the warning signs. And because I was autistic I didn’t have any friends in school to warn me about him.

Even if we do see the signs, a lot of autistic people stay in abusive relationships because we truly think we can’t do better.

The hardest part is that so many of us present normally. People think we’re weird. But not too gullible to take care of ourselves. None of my teachers or classmates worried about me. You’re supposed to protect someone who’s obviously intellectually impaired. But what are you going to do, sequester a relatively normal person for life?

We can learn over time to protect ourselves. But the damage happens early.

Is autism acceptance really going to solve all the violence against us? I mean, yes, it will eat into the statistics somewhat. But we’re a group of people who are, ultimately, quite different in our processing capacities and our social awareness. That won’t change. And there are tons of evil people out there and that’s not going to change either.

Autism can be a benefit for tech geniuses. But so many of us are suffering. I don’t have an answer. But I wish autistic women’s problems weren’t swept under the rug when we say that it’s not a disorder.


*Image taken from an awful story on

We Need To Talk About Autistic Women And Rape

Gwendolyn Kansen

Gwen Kansen is a mental health writer in New York. She likes food, karaoke, and smart-but-campy books & TV. She's hoping to capture a little sliver of life on here that might not be the first thing you'd see.

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APA Reference
Kansen, G. (2016). We Need To Talk About Autistic Women And Rape. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Apr 2016
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