c h apter 14
Abuse can happen to any woman. Around the world, many women are treated badly
by strangers and by people they know. They may be beaten, raped, shamed, sexually
assaulted, hurt or abused in other ways, or even killed. Many times no one knows
about the abuse because women feel ashamed or afraid to speak about it. They think
no one will care or they are afraid they will be blamed for having caused the abuse.
Many women are treated badly because they have less power than the person
abusing them, or because they are alone, weak or vulnerable. Disabled women
and girls are even more likely to be abused, hurt, or sexually assaulted than non-
disabled women. They are seen as even weaker and less important. A woman’s
disability never makes violence, abuse, or neglect OK. Women with disabilities
deserve to live in safety, with people who care about them and treat them well.
A disabled woman or girl can be abused by men or women—by members of her
family, by her husband or partner, by others in her household, or by her caregivers. She
can be abused by a neighbor, a family friend, an employer, a co-worker, or a stranger.
If the abuser is someone the woman knows, she may feel she has no one else to
turn to, especially if she relies on that person to help her with her daily activities.
But when a woman keeps silent about abuse, she becomes more isolated and more
vulnerable. Reaching out to someone she trusts can help a woman resist violence
and get support.