Original Research

Psycho-legal challenges facing the mentally retarded rape victim

Frikkie J W Calitz
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 17, No 3 | a280 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v17i3.280 | © 2011 Frikkie J W Calitz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 November 2010 | Published: 01 September 2011

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Frikkie J W Calitz, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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Persons with mental retardation face multiple emotional, cognitive and social challenges. Mental health professionals increasingly agree that individuals with mental disabilities are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation than the general population. They are in particularly exposed to peril due to their often life-long dependence on caregivers, relatively powerless position in society, emotional and social insecurities, and lack of education regarding sexuality and sexual abuse. Shortcomings and discrepancies in the medical and legal definition of mental retardation, making the position of such individuals even more difficult, are discussed in this paper.


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