January 30, 2017 Women Enabled International Submission to the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings on Domestic Violence and Infanticide Regarding Women and Girls with Disabilities.
On January 30, 2017, WEI responded to a call for submissions by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Killing to support the Special Rapporteur’s efforts to incorporate a gender-sensitive approach to extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary killing into her work. WEI’s submission provides information on the high rates of domestic violence that women and girls with disabilities face, and the lack of access to justice—factors that can elevate the risk of domestic violence escalating and leading to arbitrary killing. The submission also identifies factors that contribute to heightened rates of infanticide of children, and especially girls, with disabilities. The submission urges the Special Rapporteur to consider how different characteristics, such as disability, intersect with gender to expose women and girls to a heightened risk of arbitrary killings. The submission also identifies core state obligations to address the underlying factors that contribute to a heightened risk of women and girls with disabilities to arbitrary killings, including stigma, a lack of support for individuals with disabilities and their families, and issues surrounding access to protective and rehabilitative services and justice mechanisms for victims of gender-based violence with disabilities. The submission also highlights the challenges presented by the lack of disaggregated data on violence, femicide, and infanticide directed at women and girls with disabilities.
Women Enabled International, working with Women with Disabilities India Network, compiled this submission for India’s upcoming third Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Drawing on India’s international commitments, this submission focuses on violence against women with disabilities, access to sexual and reproductive health services, and access to justice. As the submission illustrates, women with disabilities in India disproportionately face violations of these rights, due to discrimination based on both their gender and disability and stereotypes about their capability, sexuality, and role within families. The submission provides targeted questions and recommendations on these topics for India’s UPR, which will take place in April/May 2017.
Read PDF WEI WWDIN India UPR Submission September 2016.pdf
Read Word file WEI WWDIN India UPR Submission September 2016.docx
WEI and Sisters of Frida Joint Submission to the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Women Enabled International and Sisters of Frida, a collective of women with disabilities in the UK, compiled this submission for the UK’s upcoming third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. This submission focuses on the continuing problem of violence against women with disabilities in the UK, as they face higher rates of sexual violence and experience domestic violence at twice the rate of other women. Women with disabilities are also less likely to have the economic independence to leave an abuser, have fewer accessible options for support services, and face increased barriers to accessing justice, due to disability-related stereotypes and denials of reasonable accommodation. The submission provides targeted questions and recommendations on these topics for states to utilize during the UK’s UPR, which will take place in April/May 2017.
Read PDF WEI and SOF UK UPR Submission September 2016.pdf
Read Word file WEI and SOF UK UPR Submission September 2016.docx
WEI Submission to the CEDAW Committee on its update to its General Recommendation No. 19 on Violence Against Women by WEI, with sign on support from eight non-governmental organizations around the world.This submission was drafted by Women Enabled International (WEI) and is endorsed by: Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI) (Nigeria); Association of Disabled Women, ONE.pl (Poland); CREA (India); Handicap International's Making It Work Initiative on Gender and Disability (France); Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) (Nigeria); National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda (NUWODU); Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre (India); Sisters of Frida (United Kingdom); and Women with Disabilities India Network (WWDIN).
Based on the specific issues that women with disabilities experience when exercising their right to be free from violence, this submission provides targeted comments to the CEDAW Committee on its Draft update to General Recommendation No. 19 (1992): accelerating elimination of gender-based violence against women. These comments focus both on how to more explicitly include women with disabilities in the draft and also how to ensure that the draft’s provisions adequately address the barriers and issues that women with disabilities disproportionately face when exercising their right to be free from violence. As such, this submission provides both suggested amendments to the current paragraphs of the draft General Recommendation and suggestions for additional paragraphs and sections to include in the draft.
The amendments suggested in this submission are important for our work on the rights of women with disabilities for several reasons. Although many of the countries that have ratified CEDAW have also ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and the CRPD Committee recently issued a general comment on the rights of women and girls with disabilities that addresses gender-based violence, there is not a perfect overlap between states parties to the two conventions. Additionally, although the CRPD Committee has weighed in on many of the issues that lead to violence against women with disabilities—including denying them legal capacity and arbitrarily detaining them in institutions, based on disability—many states have not fully adopted the human rights-based approach to these issues and still allow, and frequently legally permit, these violations to take place. As the CEDAW Committee is the human rights leader in efforts to eliminate violence against women, many states and our organizations would benefit from the CEDAW Committee’s additional guidance on these issues. Finally, by ensuring that women with disabilities are better included in the updated General Recommendation No. 19, the CEDAW Committee will be recognizing the unique experiences of women with disabilities while also including them in the framework of women’s rights, helping to reduce stigma targeted at women with disabilities by ensuring that their experiences are no longer invisible and that they are fully recognized as women and as rights holders.
Read PDF WEI CEDAW GR19 Update Submission September 30 2016.pdf
Read Word file WEI CEDAW GR19 Update Submission September 30 2016.docx
September 2016 New publication on violence against children with disabilities
Plan International has released new research on violence against children with disabilities and their access to protection. The study entitled “Protect us! Inclusion of children with disabilities in child protection” was conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It documents the extremely high levels of school-based violence against children with disabilities and identifies important barriers within the child protection system which stop children with disabilities from reporting violence and getting support, and also offers recommendations. An accessible, executive summary and the full report is available for download at this link: http://plan-international.org/protect-us
December 2015 WEI Comments on United States Department of Justice Guidance on Gender-Biased Policing: Who's Missing?Disabled Women Say: Although there is much to commend in the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Guidance on gender-biased policing for women generally, once again, women with disabilities are missing and ignored! The sadly cursory treatment of the issues confronting women with disabilities in situations of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence and assault is very disheartening and devastating to the lives of the thousands of disabled women in the United States who may call on the police for assistance.
Read the report.
"The Committee is concerned that domestic violence continues to be prevalent in the State party, and that ethnic minorities, immigrants and American Indian and Alaska Native women are at a particular risk. The Committee is also concerned that victims face obstacles to obtaining remedies, and that law enforcement authorities are not legally required to act with due diligence to protect victims of domestic violence, and often inadequately respond to such cases (arts. 3, 7, 9, and 26) The State party should, through the full and effective implementation of the Violence against Women Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, strengthen measures to prevent and combat domestic violence, as well as to ensure that law enforcement personnel appropriately respond to acts of domestic violence. The State party should ensure that cases of domestic violence are effectively investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and sanctioned. The State party should ensure remedies for all victims of domestic violence, and take steps to improve the provision of emergency shelter, housing, child care, rehabilitative services and legal representation for women victims of domestic violence. The State party should also take measures to assist tribal authorities in their efforts to address domestic violence against Native American women."
"Additionally, it is critical for the United States to address how to end violence against women with disabilities because they are an increasing population and constitute a significant portion of the United States' populace. Women with disabilities are at a higher risk of being victims of violence. According to DOJ statistics for 2011, the rate of violence against women with disabilities was three times the rate of violence against women without disabilities: 53 in 1,000 for women with disabilities , compared to 17 in 1,000 for females without disabilities. Despite these shocking statistics, funding for disability-specific programs authorized under VAWA was reduced from $10 million to $9 million."
April 9, 2014 DAWN-RAFH Canada working to increase access to justice for women with disabilities and deaf women who are victims of crime
In recognition of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week April 6-12, the DisAbled Women's Network of Canada / Réseau d'action des femmes handicapées (DAWN-RAFH Canada) is launching a campaign aimed at informing women with disabilities and Deaf women about their right to report abuse and to have their abusers tried in court. Entitled "We Can Tell and We Will" the campaign includes a Public Service Announcement (PSA) which depicts two women with intellectual disabilities and one with a communication difference describing abuse and stating that abuse is unacceptable. The PSA encourages women with disabilities to report abuse and informs them that there are advocates who can support them to do so. The campaign is designed to bring attention to the precedent-setting decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, a court case referred to as the D.A.I. case. It involved a woman with an intellectual disability who reported that her step-father had sexually assaulted her. The provincial court disallowed her testimony on the grounds that she was not competent to testify because she could not demonstrate that she understood the meaning of an "oath" or a "promise" in order to tell the truth. As a result, the accused was acquitted.
Read the press release in English here
Lire la suite du communiqué ici français
March 5, 2014 The DisAbled Women's Network of Canada (DAWN-RAFH Canada) has launched a new resource aimed at understanding and addressing violence against women with disAbilities and Deaf women. roduced in collaboration with The Learning Centre at University of Western Ontario's Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children, this Resource and Educational Tool highlights the context of violence experienced by women with disabilities and provides statistics and important resources. Based on both research and the lived experiences of women with disAbilities and Deaf women, this publication sheds light on the range of ways in which women with disAbilities experience violence – physical, sexual, psychological, and financial at the individual level, as well as naming ableism and audism as forms of violence against women with disAbilities and Deaf women. It has been translated into French, ASL, and LSQ (Langue des signes québécoise) and can be found at DAWN-RAFH Canada's website or you can visit the Learning Network website
February 13, 2014 This "V-Day," stand in support of the billion women around the world who are survivors of violence and rape. As you follow the One Billion Rising for Justice Campaign in the news tomorrow, we'd like to share a perspective from Hesperian’s Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities.
"Disabled women and girls are even more likely to be abused, hurt, or sexually assaulted than non-disabled women. A woman's disability never makes violence, abuse, or neglect OK. Women with disabilities deserve to live in safety, with people who care about them and treat them well." (p. 287)
Access to accurate information about violence and how to seek support are critically important for women with disabilities experiencing violence from a partner, family member, caretaker, or colleague. A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities contains clear information about different kinds of abuse, preventing abuse, support for women seeking to leave a violent relationship, rape, abuse in institutions, and ideas to help women be safer from violence. Learn how you can take part in the world-wide movement of men and women working to end gender-based violence. Available in our free HealthWiki in English and just released in Spanish, this title is screen-reader accessible in the HealthWiki for people with visual impairments.
February 13, 2014 Non-partner sexual violence against women common worldwide Lancet study finds. One in 14 women around the world aged 15 or older has been sexually assaulted by someone other than an intimate partner, according to a new study by an international team of researchers. But even that disturbing number is probably a low estimate, the study points out, because sexual violence often goes unreported as a result of women’s fear of being blamed and a lack of support from families and communities. “Sexual violence against women is common worldwide, with endemic levels seen in some areas,” write the study’s authors. “Our findings,” they add, “indicate a pressing health and human rights concern.”
Read the full study here: Worldwide prevalence of non-partner sexual violence: a systematic review : The Lancet
Read a report on the study on the Minnpost website.
January 17, 2014 In an article entitled “Three-pronged Fight for Disability Rights,” on Friday, January 17, 2014, India Telegraph reporter Mohua Das interviewed Women enabled President Stephanie Ortoleva and her India colleagues on their collaborative project on addressing violence against women and girls with disabilities. Das noted that “… a Skype session last summer with two activists half the world away found Stephanie bonding over a common goal: empowering women with disabilities.” Stephanie Ortoleva from Women Enabled, Inc. in the United States, and Jeeja Gosh from the Indian Institute for Cerebral Palsy and Anamitra Mukherjee from Swayam(it works to prevent violence against women) are working together on a project to bring together women’s rights organizations and disability rights organizations so that women’s rights organizations can more effectively work with women and girls with disabilities who are surviving violence and so that disability rights organizations can better understand the threats of gender-based violence facing women and girls with disabilities. The collaborators are developing training modules for various stakeholders which will be used throughout India and hopefully beyond as this innovative collaborative effort moves forward. Stephanie, Jeeja and Anamitra outlined various myths about women and girls with disabilities and then rebutted each one. Follow this link to read the story online.
– Provision of adequate and appropriate counseling facilities for women with disabilities
– Rehabilitation for women with disabilities after sexual and gender-based violence
– Supervision and monitoring of institutions in which women and girls with disabilities live to ensure that complaints of violence are addressed
– Provision of training for law enforcement officials and judges regarding violence against women and girls with disabilities
– Data collection (desegrated by both disability and gender) and analysis of crimes of sexual and gender-based violence against women with disabilities
Safety of women and girls with disabilities is central to our economic empowerment and thus essential for India's development.
Women Enabled, Inc. will travel to India in January 2014 to provide, in collaboration with our partners in India, training to women’s rights organizations and disability rights organizations regarding violence against women with disabilities and how these organizations can more effectively collaborate to address this pervasive violence.
Your donation of $50, $75 or $100 can help us provide these training sessions to an even greater number in 2014. Your contribution is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your ongoing support of women and girls with disabilities. Women Enabled, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization with U.S. IRS 501(c)(3) status.
I am pleased to announce that, in cooperation with the National Organization for Women’s Global Feminist Committee, the National NOW Officers and other international women’s human rights colleagues, we are pleased to present a video by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Rashida Manjoo Esq., discussing the report she made to the U.N. General Assembly on Oct. 10, 2011 about the situation of violence against women in the United States.
Or view the video on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjBAWt9h5n8
The report of the Special Rapporteur is a result of her information-gathering mission to the U.S. and contains findings about military violence, violence against women in detention, violence against Native American women, gun violence and its impact on women, and remedies for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, as well as extensive recommendations to the U.S. Government. The report can be read here.
This webinar was the result of the efforts of Erin Matson, NOW VP Action, Terry O’Neill, NOW President, Jan Erickson, NOW Government Relations Expert, NOW’s Global Feminist Committee and Deena Hurwitz, Associate Professor of Law, Director, International Human Rights Law Clinic and Human Rights Program, University of Virginia.
and please see the fruit of a year's hard work by many, many dedicated advocates at nearly 20 different NGOs - the compiled briefing papers on violence against women in the U.S. , Community, Military, native women, gun violence and Custody - PDF available at www.law.virginia.edu/vaw
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Permanent Mission of Mexico
and the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein
Our Forgotten Sisters: Women with Disabilities inSituations of Conflict
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Akiko Ito, Chief, Secretariat on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs; and Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq., Senior Human Rights Legal Advisor, BlueLaw International and Adjunct Professor, American University Center for Global Peace
Patience Stephens, Special Assistant to the UN Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women
Shantha Rau Barriga, Disability Rights Researcher/Advocate, Human Rights Watch
Dale Buscher, Director of Protection, Women’s Refugee Commission
Maria Veronica Reina, Executive Director, Global Partnership on Disability and Development
PDF: Summary of the event
Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq.,
President and Founder
Women Enabled International, Inc.
1875 Connecticut Ave NW, 10th Floor
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