Gender-based violence: More resources needed to help women with disabilities

Kendra Pitt, a researcher on the team (Photo: News Room/ November 28, 2023)

“Women spoke of being excluded from education, and working conditions,” Kendra-Ann Pitt, a researcher on the team, said.

Some 30 women participated from Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10. They shared that during the pandemic, they had severe challenges in accessing basic needs. In particular, for persons living with disabilities, they rely on the people around them for support.

Ruth Rodney, another researcher, said 52 recommendations based on the findings, are included in the report.

“What we want to do is really look to create a comprehensive framework for government and CSO services are widely available cross geographical locations in Guyana.

“One of the things we heard from the women is that not only are services centrally located but also if the services were more widely disseminated or decentralised it would address the challenges,” Rodney said.

She added, “It should be in consultation with the disability community to eliminate the stigma and oppressive conditions experienced by the disability community within Guyana in their familial homes, intimate relations and wider society.”

Ruth Rodney, one of the researchers on the team (Photo: News Room/ November 28, 2023)

Some of the recommendations include the revision of the Disability Act, the Domestic Violence Act and the Sexual Offences Act to focus on accessibility for diverse women.

According to Rodney, rural communities need to have resources and that migrants and the LGBTQ community should be considered when making interventions to help persons living with disabilities.

In the case of gender-based violence, the study found that women living with disabilities were abused in many forms which includes sexual, physical, emotional. Their medication, devices and money were withheld and they were prevented from socializing during the lockdowns.

The study found that this treatment was meted out to them from loved ones, family members and members of society.

In many cases, the family ignored the situation and neigbours did not intervene. Agencies that offer essential services did not have adequate resources such as interpreters for communication, according to the study.

“We found all of these women were doing so much for their families but they were told so many times that they do not have value that they felt like they weren’t,” Rodney said.

The researchers hope that the recommendations will be implemented by civil society and government agencies.