says 35 per cent female PWDs raped
An Enugu-based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Women Information Network (WINET) has called for the enforcement of the Discrimination against Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) (Prohibition) Act 2018 in the state.
The NGO made the call on Monday in Enugu during the dissemination of the outcome of its two-year project.
The project titled, ‘Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Education and Counseling Services for Young Girls and Women with Disabilities in Enugu State’ is with support from AmplifyChange.
The Consultant of the NGO, Mr Brian Onwurah, said that the project became necessary following the increasing plights of PWDs in the state.
Onwurah said that such persons had been discriminated against with little or no provisions for them in employment, marriage, entry and exit into public and private buildings and transportations.
According to him, one area of discrimination concerns violation of their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).
He said that a report by UNFPA showed that 35 per cent of female adolescent PWDs were sexually active and had been raped.
He also said that 43 per cent of the PWDs had either been fondled, caressed and kissed against their wishes, adding that 70 per cent of adolescent PWDs did not know where to access reproductive health services.
He said that penalties for violating the sexual and reproductive health and rights of PWDs needed to be clearly statedwithin the provisions of extant laws.
He also said that PWDs needed to be taught how to seek redress and press charges against violators of their rights using the provisions of the law without fear.
Onwurah said that WINET was motivated into the project by the reason that most of the interventions meant for the PWDs had been on palliatives and provision of wheels.
“The project began by addressing fundamental issues such as educating the PWDs on SRHR and Sexual Health Rights (SHR) as human rights issues,” he said.
The consultant named the beneficiaries of the training to include Government Secondary School for the Deaf/Special Education Centre, Ogbette, Enugu, Special Education Centre, Oji River.
Others are Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities comprising National Association of the Deaf, Enugu State Chapter, National Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities comprising Spinal Cord Injuries Association.
“Some of the outcomes included increased understanding of SRHR by the PWDs, increase in in-depth knowledge of SRHR by organisation and increase in the level of awareness of the concept of sexual rights by gender,” Onwurah said.
Earlier, the Executive Director, WINET, Mrs Miriam Menkiti, said the the project started in February 2019.
Menkiti said that the baseline study of the project was to ascertain the level of awareness of sexual reproductive health and rights as human rights by young girls and women with disabilities in the state.
“One of the major findings was that majority of the respondents do not have a clear understanding of the concepts of sexual reproductive health and rights,” she said.
She said that no fewer than 150 women and men of all clusters of Joint National Association of People With Disabilities were trained in the course of the project.
Menkiti said that AmplifyChange also supported in the production of WINET’s five-year strategic plan (2021-2025) and donation of office furniture and accessories.