Disabled women and sexual violence

rape victim

Sexual violence against women has been talked about on many occasions but the abuse meted out to disabled has not been addressed adequately. Specially, the women with intellectual disability suffer the most. They have to face male domination without even realising the dangers posed by sexual abuse by male.

According to a report in theprint.in, the risk of sexual abuse of disabled girls and women is high. (Women with disability face high risk of sexual abuse, Namita Bhandare, published April 3, 2018, the print.in). Though disabled women all over the world face high risk, women in India, in addition, have low access to judicial system. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) report titled ‘ invisible victims of sexual violence: Access to justice to women and girls with Disabilities , the government has no mechanism to register rape attacks, let alone formulate strategies. About 17 cases from eight states were investigated.

Lack of awareness

One of the most important factor of not addressing sexual abuse of disabled women is the lack of awareness by both government and police. There are very little awareness campaigns and the disabled women face difficulty in recognising that they are being exploited. They have no idea of reporting the incidents to police. Even the police do not register such cases easily .

Inaccessible judicial system

In a country where even ordinary women have difficulty in lodging complaint and appealing in court, the plught of disabled women is not very hard to imagine. They find appealing for justice in courts a mirage. They do not have support to explain their case and seek justice. By the time they get ready to file legal complaint, lot of time passes and chances of raped women becoming pregnant increases. This also adds to their woes.

Monitoring needed

To reduce the abuses faced by disabled women, a vociferous campaign should start in villages, cities, handicapped institutions and workplaces. Women must be made aware of the methods to tackle sexual abuse. Police and judicial system must be made accessible at every level. Medical facilities should be made accessible.

Disabled women are vulnerable to the exploitation of male very easily. Their protection should be a top priority for society?

Sheshu Babu is a writer from anywhere and everywhere


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