In regards to the civil and sexual rights of the institutionalized mentally ill, this is where ‘sanism’ is most pivotal.
“It infects out jurisprudence and our lawyering practices, is largely invisible and largely socially acceptable, and is based predominently upon stereotype, myth, superstition, and de-individualization.”(486 Perlin).
This is perpetuated by our reasoning of alleged “ordinary common sense.” Perlin says that only if we contextualize the notion of patient sexuality within our sanist society, can we adequately theorize and understand this problem. Perlin says that there is no American law “on the books” that deals with precise situation of patient sexual freedoms. Most jurisdictions mandate a limited right for sexual interactions for institutionalized mental patients.
“…why has this area– one that deals with the most personal rights–not been the subject of greater scrutiny, in court degrees, or even in substantial scholarly writing?”(489 Perlin).
He says that although nurses and psychiatric literature have paid some attention to this particular issue, there has been no attempt to call our legal policies into question. Furthermore, there has been virtually no discussion of our lack of policies regarding this crucial issue.