“A woman was beaten to death”, remarked a fierce voice coming from my television set.
The news flashed on different channels all day, hovered like a bee over flowers searching for nectar, and hopelessly returning back home, hoping for a new day.
Later that evening, debates had started about the same, everyone was talking about it already. I thought rather taking actions or caring what's going around, what we actually do is “talk”. Isn’t it much more convenient and easy?
And then suddenly someone from the debate committee remarked, “Care if she dies?”
Everyone in the panel was offended, and start shouting, started offending one another actually, that's how debates are nowadays.
This is how we all see things right? We don’t bother about doing anything unless it’s on to us or the person suffering is either you or someone you care about.
21st century would have marked its epitome with women empowerment but we are still struggling with issues, be it violence against women, unequal wages, harassment the list only gets going.
Women and girls with disability are more vulnerable to getting abused and are more prone to physical and sexual violence. These abuses range from variance to intensity, be it physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse. One needs to develop and learn to identify abuse, most of the time the victim who has survived violence is unable to turn to justice system because they are not sure, what happened can even be categorized under abuse or not. A lot of women overlook and don’t report abuses because of societal conditioning, prejudices, and stigma attached with mobility.
In order to prevent violence against women, we need to inculcate response programs as a part of the need. A lot of disability abuses are handled roughly, by that I mean victims are asked questions for the intolerant amount of time and the person asking questions is intolerable and insensitive sometimes. These abuses may vary from stealing money from the disabled victim, threatening them and hurting them physically. In order to overcome such problems, one needs to know their rights and how to exercise them.
“We now know our rights. If one of us is being mistreated we go and talk to the perpetrator; we are not just using what we’ve learned in the training to benefit us only but we are helping others to cope with the situation also”, says one of the survivor. Education and awareness can help us get through it. “India has made important legal reforms on sexual violence, but women and girls with disabilities still lack equal access to justice. Indian women and girls with disabilities should no longer remain the invisible victims of sexual violence”, says Nidhi Goyal, disability rights activist.
There are several cases like Kanchana and Razia. Kanchana, 19 yrs. west Bengal with intellectual disability was subjected to violence and rape several times, but her un-awareness towards the subject matter led her being unreported and with 5-month pregnancy. Razia, on the other hand, a 13-year-old raped by her brother’s tutor couldn’t explain the authority about what actually happened because of her intellectual disability and speaking difficulty. To which a social worker introduced a technique of using dolls to actually make them understand what happened and to give Razia an account of abuse she had experienced. These two stories can be disturbing for a few, but the picture on the other side is way darker than that.
Response programs need to be much more inclusive, there should be specific categories and things should be planned according to the degree of severity. The accessibility of information should always be kept in mind. Adding international approaches to the same adds value to the program, not just involving the survivors, victims but also their families. Training, self-defense, and awareness of their rights is a must, one must know what power and rights they hold as a citizen of the country and how can they access their rights. Self-help groups for violence preventions are already in use and can be easily established giving a new ray of hope to all the women who still face the stigma of society. In order to build a better inclusive society, we need to identify our duties and rights, so that we can contribute as a better citizen.