Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Zisk, Alyssa Hillary. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"how can an autistic guy prevent rape"

Welcome to another post in "someone found my blog by searching this, so I'm going to respond." Warning for discussion of rape, assault, and sexual abuse.

This is actually a really good question to ask. Reasons:

  1. Overall, men do most of the raping. It's about 90% done by men. That means men are in a really good position to stop it by calling out their fellow men.
  2. Autistic people are way more likely than people in the general population to be sexually abused or assaulted at some point. It's not only autistic women being attacked, not by a long shot, but still a majority.
  3. Autistic people tend to spend a lot of time in the company of other autistic people, sometimes by choice and sometimes by segregation done by others. This means putting autistic men and autistic women and autistic nonbinary folks all in one place.
Now. I know that an autistic man isn't going to be able to do much to protect a fellow resident in an institution if the harasser/attacker/abuser is staff. I wish he could! But it probably won't actually stop the problem. Checking in with the fellow resident, letting them know that what's happening is wrong, offering to report it if there is anyone to report it to, those kinds of things have the potential to be helpful (and aren't limited by gender or neurotype!) Saying something in the moment might buy a delay, but that's a maybe, and it comes with a risk of being the next target. The power differential in an institution is a big problem, and it's not OK, but I'm not really comfortable telling residents to risk their own safety to correct injustices there. (I also won't argue if someone decides to.)

If it's between residents, however, there's probably less of a power differential going on, which means saying something in the moment or not leaving the attacker alone with their intended victim is more doable and more likely to be effective. The stuff for when it was a staff member victimizing a resident is still good to do. The thing to worry about here is more general rape culture stuff: most places don't like to admit that sexual assault happens on their watch, or if it does, to pretend it's the victims fault. This makes reporting against the will of the victim a really bad idea, because they're sadly probably right about the consequences that would come to them for being victimized.

And of course, if you're an autistic guy living or working in an institution, don't rape people there. This is a substatement of don't rape. This actually applies outside of institutions, too. Which I'm going on to, next.

Outside an institution, in mixed neurotype places, you're on the same kind of "how to prevent rape" as most guys. If someone you're flirting with tells you they aren't interested, listen. (Admitting that you have trouble with subtle and that you need more direct is potentially a thing because autism, but people being afraid to do the blunt thing because of a very reasonable fear of violence from men in general means you might not get the bluntness needed. Actual problem, leaving people well enough alone as soon as there is a signal of "no" that you understand is really all I've got here.) If you can see that someone isn't interested and the other guy isn't backing off, intervene. Tell him what you see, tell him to back off, tell him not to push another drink on the person! It's scary, yes, but think how much scarier it is to be the person who needs this guy to back off and can't get him to!

All this stuff I'm saying you should tell other guys not to do apply to you too: if the person you were hoping to date or to have sex with says no, or maybe, or not now, or anything of that sort, stop. Don't keep asking. Don't give them more wine. Definitely don't tell autistic people you could theoretically reproduce with that they need to have sex with you for the survival of the neurotype. That is extremely not OK. 

And another reminder: If you see someone else doing those things, tell them to stop! Yes, it's scary. Being the person this stuff is being said to is scarier. And, you know, you're the one who asked how to prevent rape. This is an answer: stop the lead ins, stop the "little" ways that boundaries are violated which lead to the big ones.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you!

    "If someone you're flirting with tells you they aren't interested, listen."

    I'd like to add to this: Shift the consent conversation from "no means no" to "yes means yes." What I mean is:
    If you are not sure, the answer is NO.
    If she (or he!) isn't capable of answering clearly, the answer is NO.
    If she (or he) says "maybe" or "I'm not sure" or "not yet" or "I guess that's ok," the answer is NO.
    If you can't read the body language, facial language, or tone of voice, don't assume: ask. Ask for a definitve answer. Accept that you may both be embarrassed. Accept that the person may need to think a bit before answering. Accept that the answer may be "no." Ask politely and calmly, and if you're in doubt about the social signals you may be sending, tell the person that it's ok for them to say No.
    And if the answer is anything but "YES!", stop right there.


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