Epidemic of sexual assaults on people with intellectual disabilities

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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, January 18, 2018:

Allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein last October spawned the #MeToo movement.  Since then, thousands of women (and many men) have publicly talked about being assaulted or harassed.  We as a society have learned just how widespread sexual misconduct is.

Much of the attention has focused on the well-known and powerful men who committed the acts and disrespected women and men.

What wasn’t discussed until last week was that the most vulnerable members of our society are the victims of sexual assault most often.  NPR has produced a groundbreaking series that tells the story of people with intellectual disabilities who are sexually assaulted.  NPR reported U.S. Department of Justice statistics that show people with intellectual disabilities are seven times more likely to be sexually assaulted than people without disabilities.  It is a crime that often goes unreported and not prosecuted.  A little more than a third of sexual assaults reported in Pennsylvania when the victim was a person with an intellectual disability were confirmed.  That’s much higher than some other states.

Thursday’s Smart Talk discusses sexual assault and people with disabilities.  Our guests are Nancy Thaler, Deputy Secretary for the Office of Developmental Programs at Pennsylvania Department of Human Services; Kristen Houser, Chief Public Affairs Officer, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape; and Maureen Cronin, Executive Director of The ARC of Pennsylvania.

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Nancy Thaler – Deputy Secretary, Office of Developmental Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services / Maureen Cronin – Executive Director, The ARC of Pennsylvania / Kristen Houser – Chief Public Affairs Officer, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape