- Slides: 12
Disabled Women: Our Bodies, Our Rights
Gender Matters in Disability • The issues of greatest importance to disabled women in Scotland today. • Disabled women’s experiences of reproductive and parenting services can be very different to those of non-disabled women.
The Process • Two large consultation events • An on-line survey • Workshops • Roundtables • Focus groups
• “We are treated like children, it’s almost as if we are not expected to have a relationship. ” • “There should be more acceptance that disabled people have sex. ” • “Because I have a disability people felt I didn’t have a right to a sex life. ” • “I did not receive any sex education at school. I think as well as the clinical side of things disabled women need more information on emotional wellbeing, what is appropriate behaviour for men. ”
“I never got much support with parenting. I just had to get on with it myself, and got some help from my mum. I didn’t get the guidance I needed and felt miserable. I didn’t get any sex education – I was at a special school. Once I got married it was an eye-opener. I was the abused verbally and mentally. I never knew anything about contraception. I didn't intend to get pregnant. ”
Themes • Parental rights • Training and education • Reproductive, sexual and maternal health services • Violence against disabled women
Violence Against Disabled Women • Disabled women are up to twice as likely to experience abuse as non-disabled women. • Reported rates of sexual violence among disabled women range from 51% - 79% • 90% of learning disabled women have been subjected to sexual abuse • 20% of disabled women have experienced unwanted sex compared to 8. 2% of nondisabled women.
Violence Against Disabled Women Disabled women’s lack of reproductive control contributes to an increased risk of sexual violence, abuse and coercion. Underlying contributing factors include: • Pervasive discrimination • Negative attitudes • Lack of knowledge • Poor access to services
Training and Education • Inclusive and accessible sex and relationships education is vital to prevent negative and harmful outcomes. • This is often not available in special education settings, and mainstream programmes rarely address disabled women’s distinct sexual and reproductive health needs. • Disabled women and girls face multiple barriers in making informed decisions about their own bodies, health and lives.
Recommendations • Ensure that disabled women and girls’ specific experiences are reflected in Equally Safe and its action plan. • Develop continuing professional development (CPD) resources for professionals around the needs of disabled women who report experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence • Improve working relationships, including referral pathways, between disabled people's organisations and rape crisis centres, women’s aid groups and other specialist service providers. • Ensure access to age-appropriate, and inclusive sex and relationships education using resources designed in collaboration with disabled women and girls.
Our Bodies: Our Rights 6 th November 10 am – 3 pm COSLA Conference Centre, Edinburgh www. engender. org. uk
Catriona Kirkpatrick Development Manager catriona. [email protected] org. uk