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Sexual Abuse and Betrayal Trauma  

Author:  Karyn Harvey.

Source: Volume 15, Number 04, Spring 2023 , pp.77-79(3)

Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly

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This brief piece provides cautionary advice to those who care or advocate for persons with an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD). As author Karyn Harvey notes, this population is especially prone to being sexually exploited, with 80 percent of females and 30 percent of males experiencing such assaults, often repeatedly. The article explains why sexual abuse is so devastating to this group—thus the term “betrayal trauma.” She notes that persons with an IDD typically lack sophistication about sex and relationship matters, leading them to have poor boundaries and inadequate defensive strategies for staving off such exploitation. She recommends sex education and relationship skills training as two remedies that could assist individuals with an IDD to enhance their self-protectiveness.

Keywords: Sexual Assault and intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD)

Affiliations:  1: Consulting Psychologist.

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