Data shows that, on average, women with intellectual disabilities are two to five times more likely to face violence than other women. In the European Union, 34% of women with health problems or a disability have experienced direct violence, physical or sexual, by a partner in their lifetime.
In the context of the Life After Violence project, Inclusion Europe did a study on how women with intellectual disabilities cope with violence they experienced in institutions, after they have left them. Based on the methodology, Inclusion Europe developed several videos, funded by Open Society Foundations, about how to talk about violence.
How to talk about violence against women with disabilities.
Many women don’t talk about violence. They are scared that they will not be believed, they will get hurt if they speak or that they will lose the care they get. To help with the problem, Inclusion Europe developed a methodology that highlights the important steps to take into consideration when undertaking similar research and interviews. This video talks about how to talk about it and conduct interviews.
What is direct violence and how to recognise it?
Direct violence is directly against someone. It can happen once or many times. Unfortunately, women in institutions often do not dare to talk about direct violence. They are scared. Direct violence is also called ‘personal violence’. It is when one person intentionally hurts another person. This can be done in many ways, such as sexually or physically, but also psychologically, financially or through neglect.
“The most important thing is to find someone you trust and talk about your experience.” Dounia, Self-advocate
What is structural violence and how to recognise it?
Institutions are places where people with intellectual disabilities live with other people with intellectual disabilities. They often live there apart from other people and their families. They often have little choice who they live with or who supports them.
“Please! Don’t just look at my disability! Look at me as a person. Find out more about me. My limitations do not limit my life if I am supported by people who really care about me as a person.” Dounia, Self-advocate
How to empower women with intellectual disabilities after violence?
Women’s experiences with violence can change the way they look at the world around them. And the way they see themselves. After violence happens, many women had very low self-esteem and feel less important. It is particularly important to have proper support in place to help women who have experienced violence.
“What made me stronger is finding people I trusted and talking to them. Now I even share my experiences with peers and professionals to help them get stronger.” Dounia, Self-advocate
Life after violence project page.
The “Life after Violence“ report is available in the regular version in English and in Easy-to-read.
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