people with disabilities
Because physical intimacy isn't always possible.
When it comes to sexual violence, people with disabilities are often the most vulnerable. Research shows that women with disabilities are three times as likely to be forced into sexual activity (Vecova). But where are the stories of sexual violence survivors with disabilities?
Having a disability in Canada can be expensive. All of these examples were mined from friends who have good jobs or other sustained sources of income. But what happens if you can't work because of your disability, and you need to rely on government income assistance programs?
I am hard of hearing and rely on lipreading. Video can be difficult, for a variety of reasons, including camera angle, voice-overs, sound effects, accents, and animation. Every time captioning fails at the movies, I am reminded of my inability to participate in activities many Canadians take for granted. I feel belittled, squashed, unimportant.
It is incredible to see how people with disabilities are being included and advocated for now, compared to how they have been treated and excluded in the past. The work is not done yet; there are still many ways to improve the quality of life and opportunities available for people with disabilities in Ethiopia.
My goal has always been to build an even greater awareness of our need to move from a view that accessibility is just about getting in and out of buildings to a view of intentionally designing and creating fully inclusive communities, so that people with disabilities can fully participate.
Melissa was 22 when she was involved in a car accident in Savanah. She has spent the last eight years recovering, graduating from a wheelchair to crutches, to now walking on her own. Turning her tragedy into something positive has kept Melissa going, helping her to thrive, not just survive.
Recently, I sadly listened to Melissa Scott, a Prince Edward Islander with spina bifida, recount in an online radio interview the story of a recent shopping experience gone wrong. She parked her car in the handicap spot, and despite the permit hanging in her vehicle, came back to find a note that read: "You are not handicapped. You are obese."
In our work abroad, we've seen the incredible challenges that those with disabilities face in developing countries. Many children with learning and physical disabilities face corporal punishment in a school that sees kids with disabilities as people who simply don't work hard enough.