Handicap This!: May-June 2022

May 19, 2022

From the May-June 2022 issue of News & Letters

by Elise

Kyrgyzstani disabled woman Sabira (not her real name) was raped repeatedly by a family member. Despite her brother posting a video about her plight, her case was dropped for “lack of evidence.” Ravenstvo (Union of People With Disabilities), Bir Dino and an international women’s rights group Equality Now, are demanding that Kyrgyzstan align its laws on sexual violence with international human rights standards. These include: laws to prosecute perpetrators; training of law enforcement, judicial and social work personnel in gender violence. The training must also including the special needs of the disabled.

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Women protested in Mexico on International Women’s Day, demanding services be provided to all women—especially disabled women and those experiencing gender-based violence. One woman’s sign read, “We demand funding for accessible shelters and Justice Centers for Women.” An amendment to the General Act to Ensure Women a Life Free of Violence would have authorized applying the “differentiated approach principle.” This principle considers women whose circumstances might have excluded them from the amendment, including women with disabilities. But after the Senate approved it, the House refused to take it up. Human Rights Watch has recorded cases of Mexican women with disabilities who were returned to their abusive families.

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The Disability Rights Coalition of Nova Scotia is hailing a victory! Canada’s Supreme Court refused to hear Nova Scotia’s appeal of a ruling against the province. Nova Scotia province imprisoned three people in a psychiatric ward for years as they waited for community placements. Two of them died, but Joseph Delaney now lives in a community-based situation. Hopefully, settings other than the outdated institutional model will be provided for Nova Scotia’s disabled community. Community Services Minister Karla MacFarlane said millions of dollars in Nova Scotia’s budget are dedicated to the disabled.

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The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has placed an ad seeking psychologists that read: “Flip to any DSM page. Whatever disorder you land on, you will find it here.” The ad appeared in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Facebook page but has now been removed. This is another example that demonstrates the monstrosity of the U.S. incarceration system. Not only are prisons an inappropriate and ineffective deliverer of mental healthcare, but if a mental illness caused a person to break the law, they should be treated for the illness, not incarcerated. There are more than two million incarcerated people in the U.S., the largest such population in the world.

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