Violence against women with disabilities has remained invisible. Women with disabilities around the world experience much higher levels of physical, sexual, and psychological violence, for longer periods of time and with worse physical and mental outcome as a consequence of violence than women without disabilities.
The story of grace.
Grace is 20 and blind. She lives in a part of Uganda where people can believe unprotected sex with a disabled woman will cure HIV. Every day she walks home alone.
It's time to make protecting disabled women a priority.
Most incidents of gender-based violence are not reported to the police. Disabled women and girls often have crushingly low self-esteem; many women fear that reporting incidents of abuse might lead to them being abandoned, having their children taken away, losing financial support and care, and increased isolation. Even when women do report violence they face considerable obstacles in accessing support and justice. Stigma and impairment specific challenges - such as complications in identifying the perpetrator, communication difficulties - create multiple barriers to justice.
This has to change.
Development agencies, power holders and service providers need to build into their programmes the right protection for disabled women. It will require sustained global focus, momentum and action. But if we are serious about fulfilling the aspiration to ‘leave no one behind’ then it has to be done.