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Houston, Texas

People discussing health of women with disabilities
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Reference--Nosek, 1996a

Sexual Abuse of Women with Physical Disabilities

Nosek MA. Sexual abuse of women with physical disabilities. In: Krotoski DM, Nosek MA and Turk MA(eds): Women with Physical Disabilities: Achieving and Maintaining Health and Well-Being. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. 1996,pp 17-33.


Inquiry into the sexual abuse of women with disabilities is one of the most complex, controversial, and disturbing challenges facing rehabilitation researchers. It raises a combination of many unresolved issues in the studies of abuse, disability, and the status of women. As a dimension of the general study of abuse, disability has barely been acknowledged. As a dimension of the general study of disability, abuse has only recently surfaced as a problem and has yet to be the subject of rigorous scientific inquiry. To unveil the importance of this problem and to set forth some parameters for further investigation into its magnitude and impact, this chapter reviews the literature on the sexual abuse of women with disabilities and presents the findings of a qualitative study of sexuality issues among women with physical disabilities. In this study, the experience of abuse emerged as an unexpectedly strong and ominous theme. Special attention is given to the effect of having a disability on increasing a woman's vulnerability to sexual abuse.

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