Monday, October 06, 2008

Abuse of Women with Physical Disabilities


Abuse of women with disabilities is the title of a Doctoral Dissertation by Morris, Rusty Lee, Union Institute and University (2004, 174 pages; ProQuest Dissertation and Thesis Number AAT 3146434). According to ICAD, there is a lot of useful information in this thesis, which is available from Proquest Digital Dissertations for a fee (or you may be able to download it for free if your library subscribes). Here is a brief discussion/overview of it (via ICAD):

In this study the researcher conducted an internet-based survey of 143 women with physical disabilities or sensory disabilities. Most (140) had physical disabilities, 9 were blind, and 23 were hearing impaired or deaf, so some had more than one disability. There are some limitations in generalizing from this kind of survey to the general population, but this is a good start.

Of all the women who took the survey 95.1% indicated that they had experienced physical abuse, and almost as many 84.5% of the whole group indicated that they had reported the abuse. The high rate of abuse is disturbing but the high rate of reporting is encouraging. However, many indicted that they had experienced some instances of abuse that they had not reported.

About a third (20.3%) indicted that they felt they had been abused because of their disability, 33..8% strongly disagreed and the rest were someplace between strongly agreeing and strongly disagreeing.

Many (53.5%) strongly agreed that they could not leave the abusive situation because of a lack of economic resources, while only 28.2% strongly disagreed. Sadly, 17.5% strongly agreed that the abuse was their fault, but happily 37.3% strongly disagreed. This leaves a large number in the middle who are unsure, or who feel that they are partly responsible.