Originally posted in FDS subreddit. All rights reserved to u/TenaciousReindeeron reddit.
I've been spending time on this subreddit for a few weeks, reading the wiki and lurking around the discussion, before finally plucking up the courage to make a throwaway and post here.
I just wanted to say how valuable this subreddit is to autistic women, especially those on the higher-functioning end of the spectrum, or who may have been diagnosed later in life. I was recently told I'm probably on the Autistic Spectrum, and I'm now using this knowledge to reflect on my past, particularly my dating/romantic life.
Autistic women present very differently to autistic men, as women are often better at "masking" and "camouflaging" and autistic women often have special interests which are more socially acceptable, such as animals and celebrities, rather than transport and maths ect.
"There was a shockingly high incidence (9 of 14 participants) of sexual abuse reported in this sample. Half of the accounts of sexual abuse were reported to have happened in relationships. "
The article then goes into detail into why this might be, such as autistic women struggling to read people's intentions, or mimicking observed behaviour and not realising they're copying flirtatious behaviour. But I want to focus on the following points they raise,
In contrast to their neurotypical female peers who could share skills to keep themselves safe, young women with ASC reported feeling isolated as teenagers and so lacking a point of reference from which to develop strategies for staying safe. Fourth, some women reported that their experiences of peer rejection left them ‘desperate’ for acceptance, which in turn made them more vulnerable to exploitation:“Because we don’t sense danger and can’t. That’s one reason, I think you not reading people to be able to tell if they’re being creepy, you’re that desperate for friends and relationships that if someone is showing an interest in you, you kind of go with it and tend not to learn from others’ safety skills.” (P07)
Young Autistic women are often socially isolated. They can lack a solid support network of confident female role-models, from whom to learn boundaries and high-value behaviour. (Which is where FemaleDatingStrategy comes in!)
There's also a link to "PickMe" behaviour here, as autistic women are often so socially isolated/lonely they may be responsive to creepy and low value attention, as this is all they feel they deserve. (I'm speaking as a massive recovering Pickmeisha.)
Fifth, young women’s uncertainty regarding social rules was also mentioned as contributing to risk of abuse. For example, some had not known that they could say ‘no’ when they had wanted to refuse sex or other people’s advances. At times when they had known they could refuse, young women reported that they had not known how to say ‘no’ or how to leave a situation until it was too late. Others talked about being trapped in unhealthy relationships:
Again, this is an area where FemaleDatingStrategy becomes valuable. This reddit offers practical advice, support, and empathy, which can be so valuable to a girl or woman with Autism/Asperger's Syndrome. (Even if she might not know she has it, because not everyone who's autistic will be aware, especially as female autism disguises itself well.)
I've been so lucky in my life to have some empathetic, kind and intelligent women who've guided me through the worst of my "Pickmeisha" days and helped me grow, but finding FDS has been so valuable in changing my approach to future dating. FDS is a lifeline of female support to isolated Autistic women, who might not have access to female support in real life. This subreddit has a huge capacity to help vulnerable women know their worth, so I guess this post is to say Thank You!
TLDR: Autistic women are super vulnerable to abuse, FDS can help, you guys are awesome <3