Deaf women are at least twice as likely to be victims of abuse including Gender Based Violence (GBV) than their hearing peers..
Hellen Beiyoku-Alase, Executive Director director of Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI) said this during a press briefing in commemoration of 16 days of activism against GBV and launching of GBV Project.
According to her, deaf women and girls who endure GBV are doubly affected through direct violence coupled with the barriers they experience in everyday life.
Hellen pointed out that issues of communication, difficulty in accessing information and reporting/accessing post-disclosure support, and difficulty in accessing justice services contribute to the problem.
“Many women’s buildings and service agencies are not accessible. They have no staff who can sign. For example, Sexual Assault & Referral Centers (SARCs) in Nigeria do not have a sign language interpreter. They don’t know where or how to hire a qualified sign language interpreter.
“Moreover, many deaf women are suffering at the hands of perpetrators because very little information on gender based violence is being disseminated among them.”
Hellen noted that in Nigeria, most deaf-related researches are outdated with little accurate data to demonstrate the needs of deaf women and yet this is a huge group of people.
“Without research and evidence, deaf women will remain a forgotten and marginalised group of people. This is one what this project with support from Urgent Action Fund (UAF) Africa is aimed to address,” she said.