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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE DISABLED

17 May

By Terry Loving

One has to be lower than low to abuse anyone, especially someone who is disabled. Living with physical or other types of disabling bodily ailments is tough enough. Yet, many who suffer in their bodies must also endure violence and abuse from their mates, caregivers, and evil hearts that just don’t care. Unfortunately, no one is exempt, men, women, children – abuse does not discriminate.

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We hear much about domestic violence and abuse, but rarely do we acknowledge that disabled women suffer abuse much longer, and more frequently than non-disabled women. In fact, injuries that the disabled suffer tend to be more severe in nature.

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Disabled women are twice as likely to experience domestic violence than non-disabled women (1995 British Crime Survey, also confirmed by data from other countries). They are also likely to experience abuse over a longer period of time and to suffer more severe injuries as a result of the violence.” 1

Ok, I just stated this fact, but you needed to hear from the source for yourselves.

Many agencies that help battered women have not incorporated accessibility needs for battered disabled women. For most agencies, disability accommodations are new territory, and they weren’t prepared for the great need that they now face. No one could have predicted the epidemic of domestic violence that our society faces daily. Therefore, there is still much to be done to assist the many that flee from this atrocity. Even those who provide “disability-related services” are ill-prepared to “deal with issues of abuse.”

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Imagine a woman needing a wheelchair to get around, and her abuser denies her access to it. Or withholding much needed medications, or not assisting with dressing or bathing, eating, and things the disabled cannot do for themselves. The disabled are more vulnerable to abuse, for in most cases they totally depend on their abusers for survival. Physical limitations also make it much more difficult to leave the hell they must endure daily.

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One study noted – “Women with disabilities experienced all types of abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual) for significantly longer periods of time than women without disabilities.”  The risk factors for abuse are the same as they are for non-disabled women. Often times it is difficult for non-disabled women to escape the violence and abuse. Escape is much more problematic for the disabled. Many are on fixed incomes, and cannot work, or they have limited abilities such as mobility or other barriers.

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Most abusers socially isolate the abused, forbidding them to have friends or contact with family. They will purposely move the unsuspecting far away from support, family and friends to establish complete control. In the case of the disabled, their limitation to connect with others is often their disability. Deaf women feel lost in a hearing world, especially when there is no one to communicate with them via sign language – except their abusers.

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Children are also vulnerable to abuse from their siblings. Often, the non-disabled brothers and sisters resent having to include their disabled sibling in their everyday lives. If they are given the task of care giving while mother runs errands, they are often resentful and abuse the helpless child. I repeat, abuse does not discriminate – anyone can be abused by those we least expect it from.

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If you are disabled and abused, please know that there is hope for you. There are agencies that are now recognizing the issue of accessibility, and accommodations to help you move life forward. There is much room for advocacy in this area, and who knows – perhaps you are the one that God will use to bring this matter before the world. Don’t give up. Whatever information that I find that will help you, I will post it.

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By the way, I understand the trial of having a disability that affects every area of life. I am hearing impaired, and I know what it is like to be excluded by friends, family and society in general. I know the pain of being shunned, laughed at, made fun of, and treated badly due to a disability that I never expected would be a part of my life. I also have physical limitations due to an accident. But my God is ever so good to me. I praise Him through the pain and trials, and keep moving. I look forward to heaven someday, but in the meantime – I use the gifts He has bestowed upon me to help others.

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Many people think that life is all about them – their comfort, material possessions and having a good time. I have learned through many hardships that God uses them all to shape and mold us to conform to the likeness of His image. If only we tried to do that much, the world would be a better place. I have a heart for the things of God, and my love reaches out to all who are abused – especially the most vulnerable. In a way I can thank those who excluded me; it caused me to draw closer to my Heavenly Father. I don’t regret that at all. Don’t give up!

Peace

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1 http://www.bcm.edu/crowd/national_study/ABUSE.htm

DISABLED ABUSE RESOURCES

Disabled Women & Abuse

Domestic Violence & Disabled Women

www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org

No portion of this web site may be copied, edited, or used in any form without prior permission. © Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence Org., 2009 All rights reserved.

Protected by Copyscape Web Plagiarism Detector

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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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4 responses to “DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE DISABLED

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