144 chapter 7: Sexuality
Sometimes a woman feels she must settle for any partner, even one who abuses
her, or one who may not care for her or provide support for her or her family.
Sometimes a woman accepts a person who will help bring money and support her
family. Or a woman may trade sex for food or for the help she needs to survive.
At other times, it is the woman who works and the man who takes her money. He
tells her she should be grateful to have him.
When a woman is valued by her family, community, and herself, she has sexual
relationships with people who treat her well. She will not accept partners who hit
or abuse her.
In some communities families arrange marriages for their daughters. When this
happens, a disabled woman is often treated as less valuable than any other woman.
Her family may arrange her marriage with anyone who will accept her, even if her
future husband will not treat her well. The woman herself may agree to the marriage
because she does not value herself or she thinks no one else will want to marry her.
Sometimes the husband demands a bigger dowry or other payments from the
family because the woman has a disability. Or the disabled woman becomes a second
wife and is not treated as well as a non-disabled wife. If a man asks for more money
or gifts to make up for a woman’s disability, it is a sign that he does not respect her as
a woman. Often, he will abuse her in other ways as well (see Chapter 14).
In some countries, a man will visit a disabled woman only at night, to have sex
with her. Then, he will leave before morning, while it is still dark. These men are
sometimes called midnight husbands. They usually stop visiting the woman if she
becomes pregnant, and they almost never give any financial support for the child.
Please let me in. I
love you, I want to
What will he say
when I tell him I’m
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007