Woman and Disabilities Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1918 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality

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Disabilities and Sexuality

Women with Disabilities & their Sexuality

People experienced striking transformations in their lives as soon as the modernization started. The changes were also witnessed in the associations between men and women leading to greater individual liberty and options not just in relationships but also in work place participation, greater open-mindedness toward sexual activities and equal relationships. Beforehand, customs and traditions curbed individual freedom and choice but later changes started taking place and so women realized their own importance and their attitudes not just in relationships but in workplace participation changed for better. Women became more open in their relationships with men instead of being subdued but among the fairer sex the plight of disabled women remained dismal particularly with respect to their sexuality. Women and their status in society are issues more seriously discussed today then ever before but disabled women still have a long struggle to find dominant and powerful positions in the different fields in general and with respect to their sexuality in particular.

Human Need

Just like all other humans women with disabilities also have the need for relationships both emotional and physical. Relationships are natural to all human beings whether they are perfect or are living with some disabilities. In fact people survive on the basis of relationships with each other as they provide each other with the bong and attachment in the form of physical as well as emotional support. A number of women and men with disabilities are married and lead happy lives like any other couple. It comes naturally to all humans. It would be unwise and unfair to those people to think that they are not capable of fostering strong physical and emotional relationships. "People with physical disabilities are stereotyped as asexual, as lacking the same sexual and relationship needs and desires as non-disabled people. Yet people with disabilities are human beings, created in the image of God, and thus are sexual beings with the same capacity to love and be loved as any other human" (Chance 195).

Sexuality is not just about having or the ability to have physical intercourse but it also about being comfortable with one's own body and feminine side. It is about dressing up nicely, looking good, and admiring others and being admired. These are the basic human needs. Everyone wants to look good and feel god about oneself. Disabled women also have the right to develop a personal style without suppressing their desires and sexuality. They are also a complete human being. Their lives should not dependent on the wait for another meal in a day. We must recognize that just like eating, drinking and breathing, these women have their sexual needs as well which needs an outlet.

Stereotypes

Stereotypes associated with women and men and their sexual roles that are deeply entrenched in traditional system still exist. Disabled women had to counter a lot of bias and prejudice when they seek to express themselves sexually. Normal adults are considered fit to have healthy sexual and marital life but when it comes to disabled women society casts them out and does not consider them fit to be married. They are usually considered asexual, that is lacking a biological sex need. Even media and fiction depicted disabled women as asexual and sexually suppressed. All these Stereotypes and concepts reinforce an inferior and suppressive outlook

Despite the fact that women have proven despite their disabilities they could have a natural and fulfilling sexual life as well, the large majority of most Americans are not yet comfortable with the idea of a sexually expressive disabled women. "A recent review of available research shows that sex acts involving persons with disabilities are viewed more negatively than when these same behaviors are considered in the context of non-disabled persons (Milligan & Neufeldt, 2001). As DeLoach (1994) argues, the existence of such attitudes serves not only to isolate and marginalize the disabled; they also lead to the internalization of negative attitudes and beliefs by the disabled themselves" (Giulio 53).

Research

Different researches have been conducted in the past with respect disabled women and their sexuality but still there is a greater need for research because the matter is sensitive and greatly affects the lives of innocent individuals. There is also a need to develop better understanding of these issues by forging a better relationship between health care providers and researchers. Researchers also need to understand different ethnic and cultural barriers that may affect women and their development as healthy sexual individuals. Improvements in research will highlight issues that have remained hidden and unexplored in the past and would eventually lead to better expression of these women with regard to their sexuality.

Women in Institutions large number of disabled women due to different reasons such neglect on part of families or acceptance in general society are forced to live in institutional accommodations. The issues of sexuality is hardly ever discussed when it comes to treatment of women in such institutions. Generally there is no room for any sexual activity in such institutions as they do not have any privacy and freedom. "There are virtually no facilities to cater for the needs of couples within adult residential institutions. Mostly sexuality is actually suppressed and sexual activity is forbidden. Persons who reside in institutions are being denied their basic human rights to freedom, privacy and sexuality" (Ball pars.2).

Disabled women generally come to these institutions at an early age and get used to the secluded and controlled lives. This is the start of problem because their mobility is restricted to institutions only. Since they do not move freely in society the prospects of having relationships become dim. In these circumstances they seek the fulfillment of their needs within the boundaries of institutions. The environment of institution has its own problems as there is no privacy for consenting adults. Nursing and other staff keeps tabs on all the activities. The only places where adult men and women or same sex for that matter can see each other are communal lounges or dining-rooms.

The reports have shown that men or women or even same sex partner have to go through severe punishment and mental torture by the administration of these institution. At the same time the staff has also been involved in sexual harassment and they are no punished as severely. The staff in institutions is mostly untrained and can be abusive to the residents. It is absolutely necessary for the staff to be aware of the personal care, hygiene and the requirements of people with certain disabilities and potential of abuse and its repercussions. The mechanism should be in place to keep checks and balances on staff physical, sexual or psychological abuse.

Lack of Sex Education

Another issue that comes forth with regard to disabled women in particular is about the lack of sex education given to them in their formative years leading up to adolescence. While the sex education is imparted in all schools disabled children are not considered worthy of receiving such information. Most women grew up with out any knowledge related to contraception, pregnancy childbirth, sexual health and hygiene. They in fact have more need of such education with respect to their capabilities and limitations. In some instances they are also given inaccurate information with regard to their sex lives by the inexperienced staff. In such cases most women remain fearful of having healthy physical relationships with their partners and they may also become subject to abuse. Cases of forced sterilization have also been reported many a times. A lot of responsibility is also on the shoulders of health care professionals who can provide a better guidance to their patients. This is really important when women acquire a disability after an accident or a disease that is it is not congenital in nature. Physicians and health care professionals can guide patients in the resumption of a sexually active life or related limitations if any.

So education and information is not just the responsivbility of schools but health care sector also has to play a role without which these issues would continue to haunt a large section of the population that needs our care and attention.

The Laws & Society

The laws have been passed for the protection of rights of people with cognitive and behavioral disabilities but their implementation is a fairy tale story. The scarcity of funds with matters related to women and their care is concerned is poses a threat to these innocent people. Disability rights activists are working to help women affected by the society's apathethic attitude.Sex therapists are also available in different states working to help women overcome their sexual inhibitions or problems. Society at large should also come forward and address the issues of sxuality related to all women whther they are heterosexual, lesbian, poor, old, young, black or white.

Concept of Self

Women working in the arena of sexuality have greater challenges to face due to patriarchal mindset of the society. The fabric of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Woman and Disabilities.  (2007, April 15).  Retrieved December 13, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/woman-disabilities/45845

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