Let’s talk about sex! Perspectives from people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and caregivers in residential institutions in Greenland

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Abstract

This study explores how attitudes toward talking about sex and sexual matters infuence practices regarding sexuality, sexual rights, and sexual abuse in residential institutions for people with disabilities in Greenland. 16 residents aged 17–62 and 29 managers and staf from 8 residential institutions have been interviewed about the ways sexual needs and rights are treated and discussed as well as how sexual harassment and violations are prevented or handled. The results of the study show that there are great variations between the residential institutions regarding meeting residents’ sexual needs, talking about sex, sex education, and knowledge of rules and policies in the area. While some managers and staf are quite comfortable talking to residents and each other about sex, boundaries, and the body, others fnd it extremely difcult and some even reject the thought of sex as a relevant topic for the residents. Regardless of the level of openness about sexual matters in the residential institutions, staf and managers express a need for more sex education with a focus on how they can best help, guide, and protect residents, but guidance about sex is much more available for residents when staf feel comfortable talking about sex. Sexual violations and illegal sexual contact might take place in residential institutions regardless of the local practices regarding sex and sex education. However, openness about sexual matters might help detect overstepped sexual boundaries and stop sexual harassment and violations earlier.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSexuality and Disability
Number of pages18
ISSN0146-1044
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12. Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Disability
  • Greenland
  • Residential institutions
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual rights
  • Sexuality

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