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SGBV: Forum expresses concern over sexual violence against deaf

The Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI) has expressed concern over the increasing rate of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) against Persons with Disabilities (PWDs),…

The Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI) has expressed concern over the increasing rate of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) against Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), especially those with hearing disability.

The Executive Director of DWAI, Mrs. Helen Beyioku-Alase, raise the concern on Tuesday in Abuja at the opening of a two-day training for newsmen, supported by Urgent Action Fund.

According to her, deaf women and girls live a life of deprivation and misery, suffering in silence and their hearing disability prevent them from accessing justice, making them among the most victimized.

She said that in Nigeria, most deaf-related researches are outdated, with little data to demonstrate their needs and that yet they are a huge group of people in the society.

“Without research and evidence, they will remain forgotten and marginalized group and this is one objective this training for journalists is trying to address to change the narrative.

“The media being the voice of the voiceless and critical stakeholders as regards the issues of community cannot be absent in winning this fight and as, the need for collaboration cannot be over-emphasized.

“No woman should have to experience violence, including SGBV, and if a woman is targeted for abuse, then she should be able to get help. Unfortunately for deaf women, service agencies are not accessible. They don’t know where to hire a sign language interpreter,”

Beyioku-Alase said.

She said that women with disabilities are highly vulnerable and susceptible to abuse, adding that some certain cultural beliefs and practices even portray them as less human.

She, therefore, called for change in the narrative, saying that this category of people must be recognized as humans.

On his part, the Executive Director, Qualitative Magazing, Mr Chris Agbo, who was a resource person at the training, urged the media to focus more attention to issues affecting PWDs in their reportage.

He said that the media must pay particular attention to the challenges faced by deaf women and begin to change the attitude of the society towards them through their stories.

He also urged private and public institutions like hospitals, schools and churches to make available in their daily activities the service of sign language interpreters to make things clearer for the deaf.

Agbo urged media practitioners to always work with sign language interpreters for them to get clearer picture of what the deaf wanted.


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