Maria Barile


This article presents an insider reflection on questions of violence and women with disabilities. We explore reasons for the systemic omission of women with disabilities from mainstream research and from services addressing non-disabled women’s experiences. Several questions are postulated. Has segregation of women with disabilities from the mainstream rendered a large part of their experiences, including the experience of violence, invisible? Have misconceptions about the lives of women with disabilities contributed to exclusionary practices within the women’s movement?

This article further submits that violence against women with disabilities assumes many forms, both individual and systemic. It explores several factors, among these how exclusion of disabled women from mainstream services, coupled with the lack of appropriate funding for their organisations, and the poverty lived by individual women with disabilities; renders more difficult the task of these organisations to respond to member needs. The inaction that allows the cycle of poverty and violence to continue in the individual and collective lives of women with disabilities furthers institutional, system-based violence.