we posted this in solidarity with our disabled sisters in India and everywhere else!
Press note by Women with Disabilities India Network
Last night a young girl of 23 years died after being brutally raped in New Delhi. Her struggle lasted from 16 to 29th December 2012. Travelling with her friend who hailed a bus they were brutally attacked by a group of six men, while the man was thrown off the bus, the woman was gang raped. The brutality perpetuated on the victim has outraged the nation.
We the ‘Women with Disabilities India Network’ join other women and concerned citizens in condemning the act.
We can understand the trauma faced by the young woman because we are targets of such violence each day in both public and private sphere.Such rapes are not isolated incidents, but are rather experienced in a continuum of violence. They happen within the homes, in buses and trains and in State run institutions for instance against women with mental illness and young girls with intellectual disability where rape is an everyday affair. Rape by household members often remains unreported to avoid further stigmatization.
We believe that rape as a weapon of violence must be stopped and impunity enjoyed by perpetrators brought to an end. Impunity for the rape of women has become a national concern, because it compounds the effects of such violence. It intensifies the subordination and powerlessness of the targets of rape and sends a message to society that male violence against women is both acceptable and inevitable.
We urge that the cases of such heinous crimes be taken up and speedy action taken so that justice can be done.
We do not believe that death penalty is the answer as it reflects attention away from the violence perpetuated against us. This is especially the case when much of the violence perpetrators are mostly men from within families. We aim for dignity and justice and safe homes, society and country. We believe that The normalcy and ethical acceptability of this violence must be challenged by the normative and ablest attitudes
We must adopt laws and policies recognizing that all actions that violate women’s bodies are illegal. Women must themselves be key decision makers in efforts to identify priority concerns and legal responses.
There is a need for further popular, police, and judicial training that builds specific cultural awareness about disability issues and legal knowledge on the issue.
Without such efforts, further elaboration of domestic and international, legal standards will fail women.
There has to be an appropriate strict punishment for all rapists, ensuring that they do not indulge in such activities again Concerns of deaf women in relation to rape came out very blatantly in our meeting in Delhi on 1st October 2012.
Since most disabled women are raped by men they trust the most who may be their family member’s or care givers (in institutes), there must be a mechanism set across the country where they can report such matters without the scare of any negative consequences. Also psychological and vocational support must be provided to such women.
Additional vulnerability of WWD is not recognized anywhere. I think that it must be recognized and addressed at all levels whether it be in the women commission, women groups and NGO programmes or any programmes and schemes instituted by the government.
Fellow, Teen Murti (2009-2011)
IAWS president (2008-2011)
EC member IAWS (2011-2014)
Head Advocacy and Disability Studies IICP,
Founder and Chief Consultant
Executive Director & Access Consultant
Former Prof & Director Women’s Studies
& EVP SMRC