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CALL FOR ABSTRACTS | Hlanganisa Community Fund for Social and Gender Justice Southern Africa



Hlanganisa Institute for Development in Southern Africa (HiDSA) an intermediary grant maker aiming to strengthening social accountability, fostering active citizenry and promoting human rights in pursuit of social justice in Southern Africa will be convening a two-day Symposium under the theme Intersections between Gender-Based Violence and Disability:

Whilst the global data on gender-based violence against women with disabilities is very limited, the little research that does exist shows that women and girls with a disability generally have a heightened vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines disability as any restriction or lack of ability resulting from a biological or physical impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.[1] There is a growing recognition that often the level of disability is impacted by context. For instance, in some cultures or contexts, the same kind of impairment may be much more disabling than it is in another.[2]

The intersection between disability and gender-based violence is of particular concern because some forms of violence against women with disabilities have remained largely invisible and have not been recognised as gender-based violence due to what can be termed as ‘disability discrimination’[3]. Women with disabilities around the world experience much higher levels of physical, sexual, and psychological violence, for longer periods of time and with worse physical and mental outcomes as a consequence of violence, than women without disabilities.

In South Africa women living with disability and their issues remain largely ‘invisible’. The social stigma arising from a lack of understanding /social misconceptions about disability often has devasting consequences. In many societies disabled persons are often viewed as weak, worthless, ‘cursed’ and in some instance sub-human even. Such perceptions leave women isolated, unable to access basic services or even seek employment. Black women with disabilities, therefore, experience multiple and reinforcing layers of discrimination, disadvantage and social marginalisation that are lethal and deeply oppressive.[4]

More needs to be known to better understand the manner in which gender-based violence impacts people with disabilities. How do we support the mainstreaming and integration of disability into GBV programming? What can Community-based organisations tackling GBV, do to better understand and serve the unique needs of people living with a disability and faced with GBV?

Against this background, we invite proposals from researchers, civil society, activists, academics, corporates, politicians, students for oral presentations relating to the following:

  • The nature and severity of the GBV risk factors of people living with a disability;
  • Transformation of GBV programming and GBV programme barriers to people living with disabilities;
  • Mainstreaming disability in GBV prevention and mitigation programmes and vis versa
  • Shifting social norms and harmful practices that heighten risk of GBV amongst people living with a disability?
  • Barriers to equal participation and the elimination of discrimination based on disability.

The Symposium offers an opportunity to all stakeholders to come together to discuss and debate the particular gender dimensions of how violence impacts people with disabilities and how to ensure the integration of disability into GBV programming.
Abstracts of a maximum of 250 words should be submitted to rchidoori@hlanganisa.org.za . The deadline for submission has been extended to the 29th October 2018.  Authors of selected abstracts will be informed by 2nd November 2018.

[1] http://thechp.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/WHO_DEFINITIONS.doc accessed 20/09/2018
[2] Ibid.
[3] Karen Andrae, Disability and Gender-Based Violence, Action on Disability and Development International Learning Paper, Somerset, page 5.
[4] Ereshnee Naidu, Sadiyya Haffejee, Lisa Vetten & Samantha Hargreaves (2005) Women on the Margins:Violence Against Women with Disabilities, CSVR Research Report, page 13.