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Regional News of Sunday, 27 February 2022

Source: GNA

Females with disability are not objects for sexual abuse

File photo to illustrate the story File photo to illustrate the story

Sexual violence against females with a disability has not received much attention from society, yet they are more likely to experience physical, emotional, sexual and other forms of gender-based violence.

The challenges are not necessarily limited to females with a disability, but their neglect often reflects the lack of social attention, legal protection, and support to ensure their holistic wellbeing.

Maame Asaabea (not her real name) is a 28-year-old physically disabled mother of twins, who was once sexually abused in her hometown.

She recounts how men in her circles assumed that because she is disabled, she may not be attractive enough to be proposed to.

“Some of the men think I need sex, so they offer to do me a favour by wanting to sexually abuse me, in the community where I live now, I feel threatened by the presence of one man who monitors me consistently. Sometimes, late at night, around 11 p.m. he will knock on my door and say; “Hello Asaabea, I think you need to be serviced,” she said.

Maame Asaabea, who uses two elbow crutches due to her fragile legs, gave birth to her twins in January 2021, after she was sexually abused by a neighbour at her hometown.

She lived at Anum in the Eastern Region during her infancy until she completed Senior High School and relocated to Accra to live with a relative in search of a meaningful job to fend for herself.

One Easter Monday, Asaabea paid her family a visit at Anum and decided to see a classmate to exchange pleasantries and discuss life’s matters.

On her way to her friend’s place, she met another childhood male neighbour, Mr Atsu, who was going her way and offered to give her a lift. On their way Mr Atsu asked to give Asaabea a treat before dropping her at her mate’s home, to which she agreed.

At Mr Atsu’s residence, he offered Asaabea a fruit juice, which the poor lady drank but started feeling weak afterwards and insisted that Mr Atsu took her to her mates’ home immediately, but he turned a deaf ear and raped her. Asaabea could not defend herself and went back home feeling terribly abused.

Asaabea’s complaints to her family was not given the needed attention because her Auntie thought she was not sexually attractive to be raped by a “vibrant man” like Mr Atsu, until her family realised she was pregnant.

Mr Atsu was confronted but he denied raping Asaabea so her family advised that she aborted the pregnancy, but she kept it and gave birth to the twins. Asaabea now lives on donations from family, friends and benevolent people in her neighbourhood.

Like Asabea, the Sexual Reproductive Health Rights of many females with disabilities are ignored by society and even family members.