International Women's Day - Women with disabilities and the risk of sexual violence

from Handicap International - Humanity & Inclusion
Published on 14 Mar 2018 View Original

Globally, 35% of women have experienced physical, emotional, or sexual violence in their lifetime. And women and girls with disabilities are nearly ten times more likely to experience sexual violence–a serious violation of their rights.

“Violence against women and girls with disabilities is invisible, poorly understood, and largely ignored,” explains Bénédicte de la Taille, Humanity & Inclusion’s protection from violence expert.

Because of social and cultural norms, women do not always have the right to choose when it comes to their sexual and reproductive lives. Moreover, women with disabilities, who are sometimes dependent on other adults in their immediate circle, are even more vulnerable. Sexual violence causes many health problems, psychological trauma, and social and economic exclusion. De la Taille adds, “Our projects are essential to enable women with disabilities to rebuild their lives, break out of their isolation, and play a role in their communities. Ending this violence is a priority.”

For more than 25 years, Humanity & Inclusion has been implementing projects to combat violence around the world including raising women's awareness of their rights and empowering them to make decisions. In Rwanda, HI has been providing psychological support to victims of physical and sexual violence and setting up discussion groups since 1994. In Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya, our teams are working to combat sexual violence against children, including children with disabilities, who are three to four times more likely to be at risk of violence.

Making it Work

HI works with disabled people’s organizations and women's rights organizations as part of our Making it Work partnership in order to increase the visibility of innovative best practices (training women, awareness-raising activities, and so on) related to the protection of women's rights. Our aim is to ensure that women's voices are heard and that the risks they face (violence, abuse, and exploitation) are taken into account in the projects implemented by numerous organizations (humanitarian, human rights, and the fight against gender-based violence).