CNN Opinion: Intersection between Rape Culture and Down Syndrome

I have a new essay up on CNN about a case in Georgia in which a woman with Down syndrome was allegedly raped, a jury convicted the rapist, and the judge overturned the conviction.

The essay focuses on rape culture over disability, but in the next few days I’ll talk more about the disability aspect, my interview with the DA in the case, and some other related thoughts based on reading court documents. In the meantime, please read the CNN piece.

7 Replies to “CNN Opinion: Intersection between Rape Culture and Down Syndrome”

  1. Extranjera says:

    Having trouble with this paragraph and whether I'm reading it correctly:

    "We know she wasn't asking for it. We can't blame her for staying in the house while Dumas got drunk. We know she didn't encourage him, then change her mind the next day. All of the myths about false reporting of rape don't apply to Jane because of her disability, and for that at least we can be thankful."

    as in 'because of her intellectual disability she's incapable of scheming'? Not that I at all think that she was scheming or that any of this would ever apply to survivors, but just comes off a little like assuming a certain kind of innocence because of Ds? If I'm reading this correctly, I'm not sure whether we can, or more accurately should draw connections this clearly between an assumption of 'higher functioning' in intellectual disability and a kind of inherent innocence.

  2. David Perry says:

    That is the least clear paragraph in the essay and one I hope to have time to build on tomorrow. Jane has, of course, full agency to do whatever Jane wants to do.

    What I meant was that in terms of perceptions, when a woman accuses someone of rape, she is immediately subject to the myths of rape culture. When Jane does, she is less subject to those myths, because of Down syndrome.

    So it's about perception of our (messed up) culture, not reality.

  3. Cathy Goorman-DePorter says:

    David, Working 40 plus year with intellectuallychallenge as a teacher and special Olympic coach, your opservations are dead on. Many of these adult women are rapes victims. Personal experience, they can't sseparate a gestor of love to a rape. It is difficult to teach them the difference. Becky, my friend was raped in her work place, but she thought he loved her, fully taken advantage of. In this case, the judge needs aneducation on these special women.

    1. David Perry says:

      Sigh. Yeah. Though in this case the matter isn't one of consent, but whether intercourse happened at all. I'll post more about that either later today or tomorrow.

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