Ariadna Capasso is Senior Technical Advisor for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health.
Violence against women, including forced or coerced sex, is an epidemic that persists all over the world. But women with disabilities, often marginalized and denied their sexual and reproductive health rights, are particularly vulnerable to such abuse.
In June, UNFPA launched WE DECIDE, a global initiative to promote gender equality and social inclusion of young persons with disabilities and advocate for the end of sexual violence. The FCI Program of MSH worked with UNFPA and a broad range of partners in the field of disabilities to build consensus for the framework of the four-year initiative and to develop communications materials for the initiative, including a video and an infographic that conveys key messages and data on the status of persons with disabilities and gender-based violence.
Mapingure was raped and sought EC at a hospital. The provider told her that she needed a police report. But by the time she came back… she was told it was too late to assist her. She became pregnant as a result of the rape.
–Zimbabwe case from 2014, presented by Godfrey Dalitso Kangaude in “Country overviews of legal grounds/policies related to health, rape, and safe abortion,” April 2016
Amy Boldosser-Boesch is the Senior Technical Director for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health (MSH).To receive updates in your inbox from the FCI Program and other MSH programs, please subscribe here.
A lot has happened since we first announced, a couple of months ago, the exciting news that a new chapter has begun for FCI’s mission to save women’s lives!
Ariadna Capasso is senior program officer for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) program, and Maria Faget is LAC regional adviser on youth and adolescents.
The rights and needs of persons with disabilities are too often neglected, violated or ignored. This is manifested in acts of discrimination, emotional abuse, and physical and sexual violence, especially among adolescent women. Fifteen percent of people—close to 1 billion–around the world live with a disability, and 80% of them live in developing countries. Many women with disabilities, including adolescents, face unacceptable discrimination. Around 68% of women with a psychosocial disability will suffer sexual abuse before they turn 18. Women with disabilities often see their right to make decisions in regards to their fertility and motherhood curtailed, through practices such as forced sterilization and limited access to family planning methods. These practices are often the result of generalized stereotypes and lack of cultural sensitivity towards disabilities.
Adama Sanogo is Program Officer at Family Care International in Mali, working at the national office in Bamako and supervising FCI’s programs in Mopti. Adama authored a post on gender-based violence last year.
Lire la version française ci-dessous.
Samira [not her real name], a married Burkinabe woman, took a vacation to Mali to visit her sister. One evening, they attended the Balani Show, a cultural festival of traditional music and dance, in Mopti. Samira’s sister decided to go home early, but Samira opted to stay out a little later. Later that evening, Samira walked back to her sister’s house alone when a group of young men—residents in her sister’s neighborhood—attacked and gang-raped her. The next morning, Samira contacted Family Care International for care and took her case to the police. Her attackers and their families immediately began to pressure her to drop the case. As the social intimidation mounted, even Samira’s own sister, afraid of conflict with her neighbors, advised Samira to stop pursuing the case. Despite encouragement from social workers and legal counsel provided by Family Care International (FCI), Samira eventually abandoned the case against her rapists. Although Samira wasn’t able to pursue justice, she found support, and allies, at FCI.
Adama Sanogo is Program Officer at FCI-Mali, working at our national office in Bamako and supervising FCI’s programs in Mopti, a city on the Niger River an 8-hour drive to the north.
Over the past two years, northern Mali has suffered a series of repeated and increasingly devastating crises. Long-term drought that has plagued the Sahel region of Mali and its neighboring countries – the area that borders on the Sahara desert – led to a dramatic rise in food insecurity in 2011; this was followed in 2012 by a worsening security situation, culminating in an invasion of armed rebel groups that declared the independence of the country’s three northernmost regions of Timbuktu, Gao, and Kidal. In March 2012, the national government in Bamako was overthrown in a military coup, and fighting between the military and the northern rebels continued into 2013.
The result has been a humanitarian disaster, as nearly half a million Malians fled their homes to escape fighting and hunger. The city of Mopti, where FCI has been implementing adolescent sexual and reproductive health programs for several years, is the gateway to the northern part of the country, and it has seen a massive influx of people displaced from the north, seeking refuge or transit to other parts of the countries.
To help address this crisis, in a post-coup environment in which it was difficult or impossible for international agencies to work with an unstable new government, UNICEF asked FCI’s team in Mopti to take on emergency projects to provide support to the many women who had experienced gender-based violence when war convulsed their home region, and to help protect the rights of children among the large displaced population.