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Miss Vicki
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07 April 2007

Sexual Abuse of Women with Disabilities

Keeping up with the spirit of April in bringing Sexual Assault Awareness, that happens against women....

Women with disabilities are diverse in age, race-ethnicity, class, gender identity, and sexuality. There are many elements of condition which are considered to be a disability. Mental illness, chronic diseases, sensory and cognitive impairments, plus physical injuries. Each present different risks and forms of abuse these women face.

Sadly, women with disabilities are too often forgotten an excluded in research and by activists when fighting to stop sexual abuse against women. Yet, they face a greater risk in comparison to those without.

A great number of women with disabilities live independently. They rely on personal caregivers, but not limited too. If they are wheelchair bound, bedridden or blind this really presents a different set of challenges and problems. Fear for one, it's unlike in kind or characteristics for the women without disabilities, who can find the strength or means to escape their abuser.

For the women who suffer with a mental illness, their disease may not render them the capabilities to be high functioning. Often times, and more than not, these women are assigned case managers. However, most case managers are overloaded with case files and clients. It's even more sadder to state, the complaints which are lodged are often blown off. 'Is this the mental illness speaking?' They're unable to communicate in what some therapists etc. would call rational thought or complete sentences. If they've been known to hallucinate or hear voices, then their reports of abuse are unfortunately questioned.

And, we can't forget about societies belief that women with disabilities aren't attractive nor considered sexual human beings. Not remembering, that sexual abuse towards women is about power and control. And, more importantly sexual abuse is plain ol' violence. So not only are they sexually abused, but they are emotionally, mentally, psychologically and physically abused.

Regardless of what type of disability a woman has she still endures the same pain and suffering as those without. It's trauma to their spirit, their heart and their soul.

So, Let's stand up and become their Voice!

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