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Ashoka Fellow JP Maunes
Source: Ashoka Fellow JP Maunes

60-70% of Filipino Deaf Children Have Been Sexually Abused

This article originally appeared on Esquire Philippines

If you think reporting sexual assault is difficult, try doing it as a person who is deaf. The statistics on sexual abuse in the Deaf community are distressing. According to the Philippine Deaf Resource Center, 65-70% of Deaf boys and girls have been molested. A 2005 study by Lyer and Fortunato reports that from a sample of 60 Deaf women in Cebu and Manila, one-third have been raped. A 2002 study by De Guzman in 2002 reveals that out of 32 Deaf women in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, 72% were abused or battered, and 63% were abused by their fathers. And in Cebu City alone, Philippine Accessible Disability Services, Inc. (PADS) has recorded about 50 cases of sexual abuse from July 2012 up to the present day. 

People who are deaf are especially vulnerable to abuse because predators are confident that they won’t be reported. “If they get abused, they cannot shout. When they report, no one understands them,” says JP Maunes, co-founder and CEO of PADS. “The stigma of being affected by sexual abuse is still high. Most families and neighborhoods don’t recognize that sexual abuse is happening in their community.”

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