Women’s Rights Day: Disabled women face denial of sexuality

Women’s Rights Day: Disabled women face denial of sexuality
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Disabled women are consistently denied their sexuality and need for intimacy, according to a new push for appropriate education by a Belgian non-profit focused on sexuality and intimacy care.

“We underestimate and systematically deny the need for intimacy and the sexuality of women with disabilities, with all the risks that entails,” explained Aditi (non-profit organisation, Centre for counselling, informing and supporting people with disabilities in their sexuality).

On the occasion of the International Day for the Rights of Women on 8 March, Aditi wants to draw attention to the sexual abuse of disabled women as well as emphasise the importance of sexual education.

“We see the slow disappearance of the taboo around the intimacy and sexuality of people with disabilities. We are more and more convinced that this group requires, needs and is entitled to a healthy sexual experience,” Aditi said.

But breaking the taboo concerns mainly men, according to figures from the association. Aditi also noted, during its professional training in institutions, that discussions on the issue proceed pretty well with the male residents, but not with women. “A frequently heard discourse is that they would not be concerned by the subject,” the association explained.

Aditi believes that women with disabilities suffer from a lack of knowledge about their own sexuality, and are therefore more exposed to sexual abuse. A University of Ghent survey, in 2018, showed that 120 disabled respondents had repeatedly been sexually abused. “Most of these women rarely speak, often because they think it is the rule of the game.”

Aditi demands, therefore, that specialized education and institutions for the disabled address these issues more often and provide that particular public with a true sexual and relational education.

 The Brussels Times

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