Saturday, October 20, 2012

Review: Aspie Girl’s Guide to Being Safe with Men

Book cover: The Aspie Girl's Guide to Being Safe with Men

Debi Brown has written an informative and essential book, The Aspie Girl’s Guide to Being Safe with Men (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2013). I consider it must-reading for teens and women on the autism spectrum.

According to Brown, girls and women on the autism spectrum frequently are not part of the close-knit social groups that teach their non-spectrum peers essential “rules” about dating. Brown offers a severe  indictment of this form of knowledge transfer:
“A cultural knowledge system reliant on folks having good social networks is not a fair system and is not going to work for most Aspie girls. This is a selfish system, which puts more weight on appearances and not embarrassing people who would rather not give explicit information than it does upon keeping girls and women safe.”
Sexuality “don’ts” fail to provide explanations of what to do instead. Brown offers, as an example, somebody telling her, “You don’t have to French kiss someone if you don’t want to.” She explains that this was not enough information:
“I could not act on this to alter my behavior. A positive instruction as to what to do instead was needed, for example: ‘If someone comes to kiss you, turn your cheek, so their kiss hits your cheek instead of your mouth.’”
Brown provides groundwork for being safe in relationships by explaining how people form networks of safe people they can turn to for help.

She then offers insight into navigating intimate relationships: how to understand what is happening in order to choose if this is something the Aspergian woman wants. She provides detailed information about human sexuality including birth control and protection from sexually-transmitted disease.

Addressing readers who may be in an unhealthy or abusive situation, Brown offers insights that will hopefully aid growing awareness and an ability to find help.

I believe for example that I narrowly escaped being abused by a Catholic priest, Father Don Kimball. A forcible massage fit the “grooming” by sexual predators that Brown describes in her book.

With straightforward candor, Brown helps make sense of what may be happening during situations of abuse. At all times she reassures the teen or woman in this situation that she is not at fault.

And finally, “it is not always possible to stop something really bad happening, even if we know all the rules and even if we act perfectly, sensibly, intelligently and with great skill.” With sensitivity and care, Brown talks about what a teen or woman should do if she has been raped and how to find emotional healing.

Learn more about The Aspie Girl’s Guide to Being Safe with Men at

Disclosure of material connection: I received a review copy of this book.

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