Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI) has trained group leaders on actionable self help measures for defending human and legal rights of victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
The training is targeted to empower and enlighten over 100 women and girls with disabilities in Lagos State and the FCT on basic knowledge of SGBV prevention and related policies. The Lagos edition held on Thursday, April 13 with support from Actionaid Nigeria and funded by Global Affairs Canada. Some 30 Women and Girls with Disabilities were in attendance.
Assumpta Khalil, a facilitator lamented that women with disabilities experience gender based violence in one way or the other.
According to her, “violence against women and girls with disabilities is a significant issue related to both gender and disability based discrimination and exclusion which results in extremely high risk of violence”.
She noted that women and girls with disabilities experience many of the same forms of violence generally experienced by women. However she pointed out that when gender and disability intersect the resulting violence has unique forms and causes, leading to unique consequences.
Speaking further Khalil said: “discrimination towards people with disabilities, coupled with attitude towards women in patriarchal societies, put women and girls with disabilities at increased risk of violence.
“Women with disabilities are particularly targeted by perpetrators of violence because of social exclusion, limited mobility, a lack of support structures, communication barriers and negative social perceptions.”
Khalil disclosed that there are laws to protect the rights of women and girls with disabilities and provide them with the support and care they need.
According to her, “VAAP, NHRC Acts, Disability Act, and the institutions of human rights are some organizations obliged to pursue all appropriate means of eliminating gender based violence against women and girls with disabilities.
Khalil, while explaining rights extracted from the United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of violence against women (CEDAW), Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, and the Lagos State Special People’s Law, urged government to not only make laws and regulations. She charged the Government to implement policies and adopt enhanced practices to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.
INN reports that at the end of the event, the self help group leaders were tasked with the responsibility of enlightening their members on human and legal rights, encouraging them to speak out where necessary, reporting SGBV cases to appropriate authorities and creating awareness about SGBV in their communities.