The Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) calls for the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in the fight against gender-based violence as the world marks the International Day for the elimination of violence against women.
During the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, PDF will push for the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in all aspects of society and urge leaders to create a future, inclusive for every woman and girl with disability.
Hence, removing barriers that prevent them from making their own decisions, contribute and be included in the development of their community and making their voices heard.
All women and girls including those with disabilities experiences violence and harassment and sadly some are raped, bullied and abused in their own homes, communities and in institutions in most societies in the regions.
Furthermore, women and girls with disabilities experience other forms of abuse and discrimination such as neglect, emotional and verbal abuse and ill-treatment from their families, communities and care-givers compared to those without disabilities.
Combating violence and abuse against women and girls with disabilities and pushing for respect of human or essential rights for persons with disabilities is a fundamental pillar and priority for Pacific Disability Forum.
Currently PDF is developing a disability inclusive toolkit on ending violence against women, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Australian Government through the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) Pacific Regional EVAW Facility Fund.
This toolkit will act as a guideline for EVAW organisations and partners to work together with Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs) to include women and girls with disabilities in their programmes and projects.
PDF would like to highlight, women and girls with disabilities also experience the same pain, struggles and happiness that any other member of society faces.
Therefore it is important to give them equal opportunities that are shared by those without disabilities in society.
This year, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence occur at a critical juncture for efforts to end violence against women and girls as the world gears up to mark the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Millennium Development Goals reaching its deadline.
PDF encourages service providers, development partners, donors, governments, CSOs, NGOs, private sector, faith-based organisations and the community in general to work together and advocate for positive attitudinal change towards persons with disabilities and most importantly work towards creating an inclusive society for all.