Violence against women and girls with disabilities is completely unacceptable.

Gender Based violence in its various forms is widespread in Uganda and it has a greater impact on women and girls who are often the survivors and suffer greater physical damage than men when victimized (WHO, 2005). Though gender based violence encompass all women, men, girls and boys who have experienced violence, Gender-based violence is widely used as a synonym for violence against women, in order to highlight the gender inequality in which much violence is rooted.
While women in Uganda generally suffer most from Gender Based Violence, some form of violence against women with disabilities have not been visible because of the heightened discrimination based on Disability primarily as a result of negative attitudes and harmful cultural practices. Often times Violence against women and girls with disabilities is perpetrated against what is termed as “faulty being” a demonstration of a socially acceptable form of power and control over a woman’s body and mind due the fact that social structures are also highly patriarchal. Being a woman and having a Disability increases their likelihood of experiencing violence as compared to women in general. For instance, not having opportunities to function in traditional female roles as well as having conformity or resistance to traditional female roles labeled psychosocial Disability, contributes to their Vulnerability to Violence.
The nature of violence against women with disabilities incorporates an “almost endless list of injustices and maltreatment” including unnecessary institutionalization, denial of control over their bodies, lack of financial control, denial of social contact, employment and community participation as well as physical, mental and sexual abuse (Cattalini, 1993).
Studies conducted by the Disabled Women’s Network of Canada revealed that 40% of the 245 women with disabilities interviewed had experienced abuse and 12% of them had been raped. However, less than half of these cases are never reported. There is also anecdotal evidence from women with disabilities that, relative to men with disabilities, these women have less access to quality medical care and rehabilitation, higher education and opportunities for employment which has deprived many of them their right to social inclusion in the community and are often forced to live in abject poverty.
Although some women with disabilities see themselves as victims of violence, society does not recognize that certain acts constitute to violence and choose to ignore the problem while for some may not see the themselves as victims of violence because they consider their situations habitual and associated with Disability.
Violence against women is a human rights violation and if not tamed we are likely to have a faceless society with a section of the population left marginalized and helpless. It’s against the background that we need to promote the inclusion of women with disabilities in mainstream efforts to address violence against all women and this can be achieved through including them in developing and implementing programs and policies for service providers, law enforcements and other personnel who work with women with Disabilities. These women should be provided with support through sign language interpretation and Braille services as well as ensuring that such programs do not exclude any woman on the basis of her Disability including psychosocial Disability.
We should also take measures to wrestle stigma, discrimination and all forms of violence against women and girls with disabilities through awareness campaigns at grassroots together with creating accessible channels for distributing information, consulting and reporting on all forms of violence.
Parents, partners and Women with disabilities needs to be trained to be able to organize and manage support services efficiently, to develop their skills and capacities for self sufficiency and as well use technological Aids that lead to greater independence. It’s by implementing the above together, that we shall build a better world for all girls and women including those with Disabilities.
Kaviri Ali
Community Based Rehabilitation student
Kyambogo University
kvrali.harrison@gmail.com

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2 thoughts on “Violence against women and girls with disabilities is completely unacceptable.

  1. Thanks Kaviri for posting such relevant information. True we need to look into the gender based kinds of violances more so gainst women with disabilities who face it in a bouble form due to the fact that they have disabilities.

    • ……thanks for appreciating Ruth, indeed its you and me to make a difference, because a lot of attention is focused on VAW in general but little is always given to Women and girls with disabilities who suffer in silence!!

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