Violence Against Women with Disabilities
In America, there are many systems in place to provide the public with authorities with the use of protecting people in the country. There are many police officers, social workers, and health professionals available at the need of anyone needing assistance. Authorities provide proper assistance in situations that people may find themselves being stuck in the middle of. Men in America are typically seen as “dominant” and we do not often think about the availability of authorities for them because they typically do not report violence against them. On the other hand, women tend to utilize their protection from authorities by reporting violence that they experience. Violence tends to occur in opposite sexes, domestically, or to occur with someone the victim knows. Since women are typically seen as “weaker” than most men, they often make their need for authorities more frequent. The laws that are in place to protect people have not been utilized enough, but is much more frequent than other countries.
Often, we think about women and associate violence against women with domestic violence. However, what about the women who are disabled? What kind of violence do we Americans associate with women who have disabilities? Many times, we think of physical violence situations caused by caregivers, and emotional abuse by peers. These are all correct associations but there are many other kinds of violence against women with disabilities than we initially think about. The types of violence against women with disabilities that are much more frequent than women without disabilities are sexual violence and exploitation, emotional violence, physical violence, domestic violence, and mental violence. All of these kinds of violence occur in America but are much more common in other countries.
Although America has proper resources when it comes to authorities and protection of people, many women will not use these resources. Many times they sit in silence and do not speak about any violence that they experience. They hope that staying quiet might make the violence go away. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all. Since authorities in America protect women, they still have a great advantage to this protection compared to women in other countries. Africa in particular, have a different set of laws that do not fully protect women against violence, let alone women with disabilities.
Violence against women with disabilities may include but is not limited to mental and physical impairments. Women with disabilities face many struggles compared to women who do not have a disability. Not only are they oppressed, but they also experience violence that many might never experience in their life. For one, lack of education just because one experiences these impairments. Although education may not seem essential in ones life, we think about the years that people spend in school due to laws, requirements, and social necessity for being successful in jobs, finances, and life experiences. In America, education not seem as such a threat for disabled women compared to the laws that are in place in Africa.
Women with disabilities face struggles each and every day of their life, they find themselves in the middle of situations that might make it hard to escape without the proper authorities sought out to provide this help. Even with authorities in place, these women tend to avoid using authorities with fear of ridicule, more violence, and bullying from occurring. Many times, women who experience violence stay silent about situations and allow the violence to continue. They do not report violence and although it is known that they are in violent situations, there is no protection for them if they do not report.
In Africa, women I general are not seen as anything very important, they are not seen as important enough to protect with laws. Now when it comes to women with disabilities, these women in Africa are even less protected than the average woman. They have less resources, help, and laws to protect them. In Africa, women with disabilities are seen as a mistake, as exclusions to society, and they are often used for testing of theories. They are basically treated as a lab rat because they are not at the mental and/or physical capacity of an average woman. According to ERIC, an organization from Africa that studied women with disabilities and wrote a journal about “International Journal of Special Education”. They state in this journal, “people with disabilities are often excluded from schools and community life.” This is what the typical life of disabled people includes in Africa. They are often seen as someone who does not need daily education, or services that other average people may be entitled to. This is the kind of violence that occurs which many may not consider a violence. However, this kind of debridement causes mental incapability due to lack of education and learning, major emotional damage due to being pushed aside by society, as well as decrease self esteem. Even though these effects may not be noticed as something important, it is still a violence that is committed to humans just because they are different. They are often seen in a negative light because they do not have capabilities as everyone else. For one simple diagnosis of a mental or physical impairment, they are seen as a “thing” and are objectified as if they were an experiment gone wrong. This is terrible for anyone, especially for a woman who is disabled considering they also experience other kinds of violence.
Education in Africa is limited to the “normal” humans. Women are already looked down upon and are used and abused sexually, physically, domestically and now they are being deprived of education. In Africa, women are looked at as caregivers for their family, the chef of their house, their maid of their husband’s household, and the nurturing provider to their children. They already are not typically encouraged to attend school and are not seen as a necessity to be educated since they will not likely have any need to do anything else but be caregivers. The culture in Africa is much different than in America. However, all of these typical rules and regulations followed by African women are of course those of the ordinary. However what about women who are disabled? Well, women in South Africa experience the violence of being denied education altogether, they are denied the use of education because they would take education away from normal women, they are denied education because they have “no purpose”, they often do not marry, have children, and lack a social life so they are denied rights to be educated. This causes many issues in their life because of the reassurance of being different and not being “normal”.
Africa has limited availability of education as it is and disabled women are not even considered for positions in receiving education. Although this is a decision to make for children, often women are the ones who are unable to be educated and men are able to receive education as a way of crutching them as close to normal as they can get. According to globalization.org, a study of the education among women in particular, who are classified as disabled, “95% of children with disabilities are out of school. A combination of discrimination, lack of training in inclusive teaching methods among teachers, and a straightforward lack of disabled accessible schools.” This shows that Africa laws are not in place to help these women attend schooling. Education is not offered.
Although lack of education may not be seen as violence to many, it is clear that this is a form of violence because it excludes women from the rest of society. In Africa, it is typical for boys to attend school but for girls to learn the ropes from different educators. They learn how to become a woman and how to take care of family. They do not necessarily receive academic education. Taking the option and availability away from women is definitely a form of violence and creates many women to be mentally impaired as a result of lacking them of things that the average person would not be lacking. This lack of education causes many more forms of violence by creating vulnerabilities and allowing others the access to commit violence against these women who are disabled. Altogether, violence is caused in many ways other than physical or mental. Violence may include the lack of resources that are available to others of the average. With this said, violence against women with disabilities is clearly an issue and is posed as a serious threat and allows for more violence to occur. Lack of education is just one of the many possible ways to commit violence against women with disabilities and is a clear issue in Africa.