Many thanks to Lepojka Čarević who kindly allowed us to publish this oral statement at the CEDAW 55th Session
Madam Chair and Members of the Committee,
I am woman with disability and I represent four organizations of women with disabilities, who participated in writing of Shadow report. At the top of these organizations is the union “Network … OUT OF CIRCLE – Serbia” whose mission is to improve the position of women with disabilities and the elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination.
Our Shadow report covers the situation of women with disabilities in Serbia in all spheres of social life, but I want to particularly draw attention to two areas:
The first area of discrimination against women with disabilities is the state’s response to sexual violence. The crime “rape” in our Criminal code does not apply when victims are women with disabilities. Crime that is used here is “sexual intercourse with defenseless person” where the prescribed sentence is less than for raping. For women with disabilities cannot be applied the Family low measure of “eviction abuser from the apartment”, because they depend on the abuser in performing everyday functions (getting up, dressing, toilet …). In Serbia, still there are no support services for them to meet these needs. They cannot get away anywhere, and the existing safe houses are not accessible and do not accommodate them. Institutions where they ask for protection are not accessible and social benefits do not give them priority in realization.
The second area is to protect the reproductive health of women with disabilities. The use of these rights is extremely difficult to implement, because of the prejudice that they are asexual, that they do not need to have sex; they do not need to give birth. There are only 9 gynecological hydraulic chairs, and one mammography available for women with disabilities in the health centers.