Women with Disabilities and Gender-Based Violence

Observing 16 days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence

This webinar had panelists who focused on different aspects of the topic and the ensuing discussion focused on how churches can intervene in addressing gender-based violence among women with disabilities (WwD).

Advocate Ummul Khair, disability rights lawyer,  Coordinator of the Disability Legislation Unit (DLU) at Vidyasagar, Chennai, and Coordinator of Free Legal Aid, TN State Legal Services Authority and herself also a person living with cerebral palsy, brought to us some of the types of cases that she encounters in the Disability Legislation unit she serves in, that further threw light on the systemic nature of violence against Persons with Disabilities and WwD in particular, and the need for a rights-based approach.

Ms. Meenakshi Subramanian, co-founder of Equals – Center for Promotion of Social Justice, a Disabled People’s Organization, and a Fellow with Center for Inclusive Policy, and also herself a person living with locomotor disability, touched upon the nature of violence against women (VAW) with disabilities, the challenges in access to justice and issues related to social protection for survivors of violence among WwD.

Dr Aiswarya Rao, a pediatrician by profession, serves as a Consultant for Public Health, Gender & Advocacy, and for Disability Rights & Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, while balancing her role as Film and Music Producer at Impact Zone Idea Labs Pvt. Ltd., running a not-for-profit called Dorcas Research Centre involved in livelihood activities and the Better World Shelter for women with disabilities at Nungambakkam in Chennai. She is also a person living with locomotor disability. Dr Aiswarya focussed her talk on workplace harassment faced by WwD and also touched upon the sexual and reproductive rights of WwD.

Ms. K Ela the Director of Prodigals Home in Dimapur, Nagaland, a master trainer and resource person on issues of women, children, disability, substance abuse, and health sector, and also currently advisor to the Nagaland state disability forum, and Member of Management Board of the District Disability Rehabilitation Centre (DDRC) Dimapur, brought to us some stories from the crisis center for women at Prodigals Home. She touched on various discrimination and violence that WwD face in the context of crisis and trafficking, and summarized the ways in which churches have failed, and how churches could be encouraged to fill the gaps in the needs of women with disabilities who face gender based violence.

Attended by about 40 participants from all over India, this was a fruitful webinar that provided pertinent action points that could be programmatised in future plans of Engage Disability in our engagement with churches.

This joint Programme of Engage Disability & NCCI – IDEA in observance of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence took place on 7 December 2020, 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm, over the Zoom platform.

Webinar on FB live can be accessed at https://fb.watch/2dXhCdcuWH/

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