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Consent and intellectual disability

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by palakaorion, Jan 27, 2019.

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Can intellectually disabled people consent to sex?

  1. yes, always

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. yes, sometimes

    80.0%
  3. no, never

    20.0%
  1. palakaorion

    palakaorion Well-Known Member

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    A disturbing recent news item in the US has an intellectually disabled, non-communicative woman in a full-time care facility giving birth. DNA reveals the baby's father is a nurse at the facility. He claims he did not sexually assault her and has retained legal counsel.

    I think he's guilty as sin, and is just posturing in attempt to save his ass (literally). Her inability to communicate pretty much removes any capacity to give consent. I foresee lots of non-consensual prison sex in his future.

    But it raises an interesting question. Can an intellectually disabled person consent to sex?

    Some examples:
    - a person with autism
    - a person with Down syndrome
    - a person with spina bifida which impacts their intellect as well as their mobility
    - a person with a brain injury
    - a person being treated for a disabling mental illness
     
  2. nicnic

    nicnic Well-Known Member

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    In this case, the answer was absolutely no. But depending on the severity of the disability, people affected can often have sufficient understanding to give valid consent. I have a higher functioning autistic friend whose quality of life is greatly improved by his romantic relationships. Would I say he should be denied them because his disability might make consent questionable?
     
  3. LaFemme

    Staff Member Moderator Gold Member Verified

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    Yes and no. It depends on context. What is the relationship between the people, the level of the disability, does the other person share the disability/disorder, is there manipulation involved, is the person taking so much medication that it precludes the ability to consent, etc.

    People with the issues you describe can certainly have sex lives and get married, even with an impaired intellect. What needs to be protected is their ability to understand and consent at a level that they can understand.
     
    MisterB, BacknForth, 693987 and 2 others like this.
  4. Fred90

    Fred90 Banned

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    In my novice view, I presume some can and that some cannot.
     
  5. 1323180

    1323180 Guest

    That’s pretty much what I would have said, but worded better :)
     
    MisterB likes this.
  6. HorseHung40's

    HorseHung40's Well-Known Member

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    I have known of mentally deficient people having sex. In some cases, unplanned pregnancies have resulted. In several cases, social services removed the children from that environment, because it was felt that the biological parents lacked the ability to provide adequate care for the child.

    Just because a person may not have the same intellectual level as the average person, does not mean that the person has no sex drive. They are not correlated.
     
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