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Sexuality and Disability India

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Power, violence and the law at SexDis workshop in Karnataka

Power, violence and the law

On the 10th and 11th of August 2017, 34 women with mixed disabilities (locomotor disability, vision impairment, hearing impairment) and 3 non-disabled women joined us for a two-day workshop in Chikkaballapur, Karnataka, led by Kiran, one of our training of trainers participants.

The workshop began with an exercise conducted by the lead trainer Kiran in understanding what society expects of women, especially women with disabilities. Several women expressed their anguish at having all their feelings of power being taken away post marriage. Some even experienced this at the workplace – “There was a sense of freedom when I was young. As I began going to office, the comments made by my colleagues were disempowering,” said one participant. However, most agreed that discrimination began at home itself.

Day two started with an understanding of bodies using body models, and a discussion of the various emotions associated with different body parts – There is a lot of anger and shame attached to the breasts. The trainers and participants also engaged in conversation about what safe spaces meant to them. This was followed by a viewing of the short film Hello Periods in Kannada, which was well received, the answering of questions related to reproductive health, and a concluding role play exercise by the participants based on what they had learned about sexuality, violence and the law over these two days.