Groups Seek Support Against Abuse of Persons With Disabilities

Groups Seek Support Against Abuse of Persons With Disabilities

Practitioners in Nigeria’s media space have been urged to show greater sensitivity when reporting Persons With Disabilities, PWD and issues affecting their sexual rights.

A women and youth empowerment non-profit, Hope Inspired Foundation for Women and Youths (HIFWY), and the health literacy and media support organisation, Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) made the sexual rights and needs of persons with disabilities (PWDs) their focus during a parlay with journalists in Lagos, Nigeria.

The discourse was part of their activities to sustain attention on the theme of the 2021 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) “leadership and participation of persons with disabilities towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-covid19 world.

Celebrated every December 3 since 1992, IDPD creates awareness of disabilities, the rights and needs of PWDs and their current social, economic and political status relative to other segments of every country.

Advocates and organisations of persons with disabilities host various programs on the day and throughout December to keep the rest of society aware of disabilities.

Participate effectively
HIFWY’s Executive Director, Ms.

Janet Olanrewaju-Adekunle, said recognition and respect of the sexuality of PWDs was crucial to their individuality and their ability to participate effectively in the post-covid19 world order.

She decried the negative thoughts that the sexual rights and needs of PWDs often evoke within certain circles.

“Sex and sexuality still remain taboo subjects  in everyday conversations about women and girls,” Ms.

Olanrewaju-Adekunle said.

“Often, PWDs are not perceived as people with sexual needs, their sexuality is not acknowledged,  and they are not even expected to be sexually active.

Both HIFWY and JAAIDS attributed the persistent stigma and stereotypes suffered by PWDs to how the media portrays these individuals.

To counter the ignorance around the sexual rights and needs of PWDs, HIFWY has embarked on a project to educate teachers and other stakeholders in Lagos State public schools about the issues.

Seriousness of gender-based violence
The Program Officer in charge of the public education project, Miss Adebimpe Lawal, said the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the seriousness of gender-based violence and that the situation was three times worse for women and girls with disabilities.

According to her, lack of sexuality education manifests in low self-esteem, vulnerability to violence and poverty.

She said most available sex education materials were not accessible to PWDs.

“Media contents are equally not created with proper features to make them useable and accessible to the blind and those who are deaf in particular,” she added.

“I want a society where we can express our sexuality,” continued Miss Lawal who herself is blind.

“I want the media to amplify the voices of PWDs to end gender-based violence”.

On her part, JAAIDS’ Program Support Officer, Mrs.

Folasade Fijabi, urged the media to remain a louder voice for the rights and needs of PWDs.

She urged journalists to seek relevant education about people with disabilities so that they can have a better understanding of the issues and help advance the advocacy to ensure inclusion, accessibility and participation in society for persons with disabilities.

Lateefah Ibrahim
Groups Seek Support Against Abuse of Persons With Disabilities

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