In order to showcase the breadth of gender-based violence (GBV) and its link to gendered inequalities,the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the Fondation Jean Jaurès have joined forces for this series of publications on the fight to eliminate sexist and sexual violence. Each publication looks into a different angle regarding GBV, recognizing the intersection of gender with other discriminations such as sexuality, disability or economic status.
It is common knowledge that women constitute half of the population. But did you know that 16% have at least one form of another disability? The European Union (EU) namely counts 60 million women and girls with disabilities, corresponding to the total population of Italy. Whilst women face significant barriers due to gender inequalities or sexism, those with disabilities are confronted with multi-layered and intersectional forms of inequalities.
All aspects of life are concerned including socio-economic discrimination, social isolation, lack of access to community services, poor quality housing or healthcare, the impossibility to actively contribute actively in social activities but also gender-based violence, forced sterilisation and abortion. Available data indicates that gender-based violence affects women and girls with disabilities to much greater extents than most other women. Neither does disability protect nor does it prevent acts of violence against women.
The deep-seated taboo and silence surrounding this issue must finally be broken. We need to listen to women and their diverse range of experiences. We need better co-operation with organisations representing women and girls with disabilities, to better inform policies and legislation, including access to victim support systems and to justice.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.