Gender based violence is reportedly a “thorn” in the experiences of sexuality of women with disabilities in Zimbabwe. Complex intersections of disability, culture, religion and normative gender roles and power relations within heteronormative relationships facilitate the vulnerability of women with disabilities to various forms of gender based violence, thereby perpetuating inequitable, unsafe and coercive sexual practices to the detriment of the women’s health and well-being. Whilst some women with disabilities may be unable to defend themselves, others are not passive recipients of gender based violence, but they claim their agency and seek to “protect” themselves in diverse ways. Nevertheless, some participants who may be at risk of experiencing gender based violence and acquiring HIV maybe unwilling to defy or to “flee” from such challenges, alongside a traditional belief that the ability of a woman to bear hardships earns her respect and good repute, within a framework of the lower status of women in an African patriarchal context. These findings arise from a broad qualitative narrative pilot study which explored the experiences of sexuality of women with disabilities in Zimbabwe. Sixteen women with physical, mental and sensory disabilities were selected through snowball sampling techniques to participate in the study. The three sub-sessions of the biographic narrative interpretive method were used to generate data and such data was analysed through both the narrative analysis and the analysis of narratives approaches. This paper is located within a critical feminist disability studies theoretical framework.
Sexuality and Disability – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 20, 2017
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