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Most certainly, respect knows no boundaries! Everyone needs it and deserves it. However, in this blog I am specifically trying to draw particular attention to a big concern in many of our communities, which involves teen girls being assaulted by boys.

Thank you, Mark, for sharing these words. There are still so many topics we have a hard time discussing in our church families, including disability, divorce, abuse, addiction and mental illness, among others. Silence only leads to isolation and shame. It cuts people off from the church and from God. While it is important to respect people's privacy and not to pry, we do need to be able to listen and support each other through all of life's challenges. 

Rachel Boehm on March 15, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thanks for your feedback! Although statistics tell us that the majority of abuse, especially physical and sexual abuse, is male against female; it certainly goes both ways. In fact emotional abuse is much more equally experienced between the sexes. Abuse may be even harder for men to disclose than for women because of societal attitudes. Men can have greater difficulty identifying and connecting with their feelings surrounding abuse. 

That being said, gender does make a difference in abuse, in the way it is experienced and interpreted.

Bonnie Nicholas, Director of the CRC's Safe Church Ministry, explains: "The intricacies of gender and how it affects abuse is complicated and really cannot be adequately addressed in this small space. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey has published a report that takes gender into account." Bonnie suggests looking at the following resource for more information:

Also, Bonnie points to information from a conference that focused on the context of gender, especially in domestic abuse situations, which can be found at Thanks again for your comment!

Thanks, everyone, for participating in this conversation. This dialogue encourages me to think of this topic from many different angles. I, for one, will be more careful to use statistics that include both men and women in the future so as not to lessen the impact of the message or to marginalize anyone or any gender. Thanks again for your feedback and kind attention to these sensitive topics.

Good point. I've made that edit. Our goal is raise awareness that domestic violence occurs in Christian families as well. Thank you for your feedback.


Rachel Boehm on October 11, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

As mentioned in my blog, that reference is taken from the from Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault:

Here is the complete reference:

88 to 98% of sexual abusers are male and are known by the victim/survivor who has disabilities.

Sobsey, D. & Mansell, S. 1994. An International Perspective on Patterns of Sexual Assault and Abuse of People

with Disabilities.

Whether these statistics would play out similarly in your church community, I am not sure. However, certainly statistics like these make us aware that most abusers of individuals with disabilities are known by their victims.  Please feel free to cite other references; my list is certainly not meant to be comprehensive but rather get readers thinking about this topic.

Rachel Boehm on June 5, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thanks for the link to additional resources, Mark! This is an important issue. Many parents with children and adult children living with disabilities have told me that abuse is a big worry. So I am most certain that these resources are appreciated!

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