Women with disabilities at double risk of domestic violence

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Harare(New Ziana)-Women with disabilities are at double risk of gender based violence because of their vulnerability, an official said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting to mark the last day of the 16 Days of Activism against gender based violence, disability rights activist, Abraham Mateta said studies had shown that disabled women were more vulnerable to gender based violence.

“Women with disabilities are the most affected by Gender Based Violence because they are at double risk, first because they are women and second because they are disabled,” he said.

Mateta said sometimes gender based violence cases went unreported when it occurred to women with disabilities.

“For example when a woman who is mentally disturbed is raped, the law generally says people who are mentally disturbed are not competent and reliable witnesses. Although the same person should give primary evidence of what has happened the law says they are not competent and it leads us to a situation where a lot of cases where women with such disabilities have been abused and such cases do not go past what we call a set down.

“There is need to remodel our law in order to make it suit with the human rights approach to disability, so I hope there will be an effort to align our evidence laws in general be it criminal or civil to begin to conceptualise people with mental disability as being competent witnesses who need to be provided with relevant assistance in order to competently appear in our court,” he said.

Another activist Florence Mudzingwa said disabled women had little access to crucial information.

“First of all our transport system erodes the dignity of women with disability for instance a woman who moves in a wheel chair, it is very difficult to travel to work as we all know that our transport system is not conducive and comfortable for people with disabilities. You always need someone who will assist you and sometimes you are taken advantage of by the way you are carried and sometimes you will have to endure because you have no option,” said

The 16 Days of Activism against gender based violence is an annual international campaign aimed at eradicating violence on women that kicks off every 25th of November and runs until 10 December.

The 2019 campaign was running under the theme, “Orange the world: generation equality against rape!”

New Ziana

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