Year in year out during this time of the year the country purports to celebrate disability month and raise awareness on the rights of people with disabilities. It never stops puzzling me on what is the positive impact of these events. My understanding is that you celebrate achievement(s) and there is no way you can celebrate failure. Awareness, awareness!!! Awareness on what? While disabled people still experience and endure atrocities even two decades into the democracy where the supreme law of the country (the Constitution) guarantees the citizens the rights which are clearly spelt out in chapter 2 under the bill of Rights.

My focus is on disabled women across disabilities. Unlike their non-disabled counterparts, disabled women are faced with a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Among the factors that contribute to the challenges is the fact that they have impairments. The latter resulted in society having certain stereotypes, attitude, conclusion and even reaction towards them. All rational/ validity on all these have not been tested on any platform. What can be justified is that they subject disabled women to vulnerability.

The impairments make us susceptible to numerous forms of abuse. The abuse may be physical, sexual, economical, psychological, verbal, emotional and otherwise. It is such a taboo for a disabled woman to marry, it is even worse when the partner does not have an impairment. It is however acceptable for a disabled man to marry. It becomes such an issue, “how can he marry such a person? What does he think she will do? How will she bear children? Will she be able to cook, do laundry, will she be able to ….? The lists of questions are endless. All these questions are based on the stereotypes society has about the role and responsibilities of women in general. The disabled woman’s worth and value are based on these societal expectations.

Disabled girls still have to endure abuse from both their male peers as well as their educators. Family members and relatives are not exonerated from all the atrocities. Some family members would not even shun away from protecting the perpetrators instead of protecting the victim who is a disabled girl/ woman in this case. The justice system and the police have failed disabled women and girls big time. The police office at station level will dismiss the disabled women/girls who went to the police station to open a case. They will write a statement in such a way that the case does not see a day in a court of law for prosecution. What rights is awareness raising? How many cases of disabled women were reported country wide? How many went to court and were successfully heard and prosecuted? Does the bill of Rights not apply to disabled women?

To the disabled women out there, know that you are god’s master piece. You are not a mistake. You were created for a purpose. The world is like a flower garden. The latter’s beauty can only be appreciated if it has flowers with a variety of colours. So are the human beings. Without disabled women this world would be so monotonous and boring. Love and appreciate yourselves, no one will do it for you.

To our non-disabled counterparts, like tomorrow is not promised to anyone, so is being non-disabled. Death is the only guarantee, that at least you died non-disabled. Live every single day like you would be impaired any moment. That would make you adapt with ease should you be impaired.

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