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Journal Article


van der Heijden I, Abrahams N, Harries J. J. Interpers. Violence 2019; 34(4): 826-847.


University Cape Town, South Africa.


(Copyright © 2019, SAGE Publishing)






South Africa has unprecedented levels of violence and many South African women are exposed to violence during their lifetime. This article explores how gender and disability intersect in women's experiences of violence during their lifetime. Repeat in-depth qualitative interviews with 30 physically disabled women in Cape Town reveal that women with physical disabilities are exposed to various forms of violence, and shows how their impairments shape their violence experiences. The most common forms of violence women with disabilities experience are psychological violence, financial abuse, neglect, and deprivation, with disability stigma playing a central role and contributing to how women with disabilities are exploited and dehumanized. Constructions of women as asexual shape their sexual relationships and experiences of sexual violence. This article identifies that women with disabilities are more at risk and experience additional layers of violence than women without disabilities. These additional risks and layers of violence need to be recognized and inform interventions to prevent and respond to violence against women with disabilities in the country. Prevention of violence against women with physical disabilities in South Africa needs to address the role of disability stigma that shapes the types of violence they experience, change gender norms, and create accessible and safe environments and economic empowerment opportunies.

© The Author(s) 2016.

Language: en


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