Sexual Violence Victimization Against Men with Disabilities


      Prior research has shown a high prevalence of sexual violence against women with disabilities. However, no previous population-based studies have examined such victimization against men with disabilities.


      The purpose of this paper is to document the prevalence of lifetime and past-year sexual violence victimization among a representative sample of men with disabilities in Massachusetts and to compare its prevalence among men with disabilities to that of men without disabilities and women with and without disabilities.


      Data from the Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2005–2009 were analyzed in 2010 using bivariate and multivariate logistic regression.


      Among 25,756 survey respondents, approximately 21.1% of Massachusetts men and 21.0% of women reported a disability. The prevalence of lifetime sexual violence victimization was 13.9% (95% CI=10.7%, 17.1%) among men with disabilities; 3.7% (95% CI=2.9%, 4.5%) among men without disabilities; 26.6% (95% CI=23.4%, 29.7%) among women with disabilities; and 12.4% (95% CI=11.2%, 13.6%) among women without disabilities. Similarly, men with disabilities were more likely than men without disabilities to report lifetime completed and attempted rape and past-year sexual violence victimization. Multivariate analyses controlling for sociodemographic characteristics indicated that men with disabilities were more than four times more likely to report lifetime and past-year victimization than men without disabilities.


      Men with disabilities are at a heightened risk for lifetime and current sexual violence victimization.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to American Journal of Preventive Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Armour B, Wolf L, Mitra M, Brieding M. Differences in intimate partner violence among women with and without a disability. Proceedings of the American Public Health Association meeting; 2008 Oct 27, San Diego CA.

        • Sullivan P.M.
        • Vernon M.
        • Scanlan J.M.
        Sexual abuse of deaf youth.
        Am Ann Deaf. 1987; 132: 256-262
        • Martin S.L.
        • Ray N.
        • Sotres-Alvarez D.
        • et al.
        Physical and sexual assault of women with disabilities.
        Violence Against Women. 2006; 12: 823-837
        • Brownlie E.B.
        • Jabbar A.
        • Beitchman J.
        • Vida R.
        • Atkinson L.
        Language impairment and sexual assault of girls and women: findings from a community sample.
        J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2007; 35: 618-626
        • Balogh R.
        • Bretherton K.
        • Whibley S.
        • et al.
        Sexual abuse in children and adolescents with intellectual disability.
        J Intellect Disabil Res. 2001; 45: 194-201
        • Casteel C.
        • Martin S.L.
        • Smith J.B.
        • Gurka K.K.
        • Kupper L.L.
        National study of physical and sexual assault among women with disabilities.
        Inj Prev. 2008; 14: 87-90
        • Barrett K.A.
        • O'Day B.
        • Roche A.
        • Carlson B.L.
        Intimate partner violence, health status, and health care access among women with disabilities.
        Womens Health Issues. 2009; 19: 94-100
        • Powers L.E.
        • Curry M.A.
        • McNeff E.
        • et al.
        End the silence: a survey of abuse against men with disabilities.
        J Rehabil Med. 2008; 174: 41-53
        • Cohen M.M.
        • Forte T.
        • Du Mont J.
        • Hyman I.
        • Romans S.
        Adding insult to injury: intimate partner violence among women and men reporting activity limitations.
        Ann Epidemiol. 2006; 16: 644-651
        • Benson J.
        We're all little John Waynes: a study of disabled men's experience of abuse by personal assistants.
        J Rehabil. 2006; 74: 3-13
        • Massachusetts Department of Public Health
        A profile of health among Massachusetts adults, 2009: results from the Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
        MDPH, Health Survey Program, Boston MA2010
        • Nannini A.
        Sexual assault patterns among women with and without disabilities seeking survivor services.
        Womens Health Issues. 2006; 16: 372-379
        • McFarlane J.
        • Hughes R.B.
        • Nosek M.A.
        • Groff J.Y.
        • Swedlend N.
        • Dolan Mullen P.
        Abuse Assessment Screen–Disability (AAS-D): measuring frequency, type, and perpetrator of abuse toward women with physical disabilities.
        J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2001; 10: 861-866
        • Oktay J.S.
        • Tompkins C.J.
        Personal assistance providers' mistreatment of disabled adults.
        Health Soc Work. 2004; 29: 177-188