From Dee Alpert, Publisher of the Special Education Muckraker:
Education Week Special Education blog writeup regarding an important research project – a study of sexual molestation of students with disabilities in schools. We desperately need this information … in order to insist on meaningful protections for these kids. I know the researcher, Mary Lou Bensy. She is excellent. Please reply to the survey if you or a family member has experienced school sexual molestation, whether the perpetrator was/is an adult or a student and also please forward/circulate this survey widely.
Survey to Focus on Students With Disabilities Sexually Abused in Schools
By Christina Samuels on August 6, 2010 5:36 PM
A doctoral student at Hofstra University in New York is conducting an anonymous survey of students with disabilities who have been sexually abused in a school setting. Parents and caregivers can also respond on behalf of the victim.
I spoke to doctoral candidate Mary Lou Bensy, who is a former director of special education in Malverne, N.Y. In 2007, she was awarded $100,000 by a federal jury for emotional distress after accusing a former acting superintendent of the district for sexual harassment. She “barely survived” emotionally after the experience, she said. But the situation also prompted her to wonder how students with multiple disabilites, whom she had taught for most of her career, might be emotionally affected by sexual abuse or harassment.
“These are students who are dependent on people who provide very personal support services,” she said. But there’s been little research done in the area, she found, as she started her doctoral studies. … Right now, she has about 105 respondents, and is looking for at least 350 in order to draw some conclusions. The survey will not be able to speak to how often sexual abuse occurs, because the only people fillng out the survey will presumably have been victims of abuse, or their family members. The study could help lead, though, to some conclusions about where such abuse occurs, who the perpetrators are, and how often male students are victimized compared with female students.
“This is a first effort to gather some data,” Bensy said. “I am passionate about this. I cannot wait to see what we get, and we had to start somewhere.”
The survey link is available here https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/abuse_studentswithdisabilities
Again, please forward this survey to anyone you think may be able to participate.