Your Chilling Fact For The Day

Originally published July 2009

The PALS also indicates that Canadian women, 15 year of age and older, experience a higher prevalence of disability at 15.2 percent, than Canadian men at 13.4 percent. In 2006, 19.5 percent of Ontario adult women reported having a disability compared with 16.6 percent of men (Statistics Canada, 2006). Women with disabilities are significantly more likely to experience abuse than non-disabled women. It is estimated that women with disabilities are 1.5 to 10 times more likely to experience violence than non-disabled women, depending on whether they are living in the community or an institution (Public Health Agency of Canada, online).

[From: We Are Visible: Ten Years Later WARNING: PDF]

So.

How many emergency shelters are you aware of that are fully accessible, have a ‘terp available in some way for Deaf women, or provide their information in Braille? Have grip bars in the bathrooms? Have accessible toilets?

How many have funding for all of this?

The last women’s shelter I volunteered in had a disabled-parking zone in front, but that’s all I recall. What about you?

4 Comments

  1. I’d like to point out, also, that many people with disabilities would have great difficulty getting TO the shelters to begin with. People in wheel chairs in the snow or in inaccessible houses, for example. Or people with mental disabilities that impair their ability to find the shelter as well. Perhaps they are not *allowed* to leave the abusive situation, such as in some institutional settings.

    Add on top of that the fact that someone with visible mental disabilities, like myself, would likely have trouble because we’re often perceived as being “dangerous” and therefore shouldn’t be in a shelter full of vulnerable women. Ditto for certain “scary” physical disabilities.

    On top of THAT there are all the non-disability factors. Consider the increased vulnerability of men who are disabled. Very, very few violence shelters will accept men at all, even though disabled men are very often targets of violence. How about trans people?

    I feel you get to a point where you can no longer assume that there’s help for you if you need it.

  2. Samantha, I think this sentence —> “I feel you get to a point where you can no longer assume that there’s help for you if you need it.” <— is exactly on point. And is, by no means, restricted to domestic violence situations, but also applies to things like disaster preparedness & receiving even the most basic of services: If you're living with a disability, you just can't take it for granted that you will be able to have access to the help you need. Excellent post, Anna.
    .-= NTE´s last blog ..Average Lives =-.

  3. Most of those places barely have the funding to run.

    I volunteered at the crisis center in town – not a shelter or anything, we had tons of clothes and other things for people in need. We also helped people with financial issues. And we worked with Toys for Tots. (I generally organized things, drew up the TfT list, tried to update the records, and ran the front desk, which involved making appointments and telling people to wait.)

    I saw many TN state IDs. I got one when my sister got her license. So we did help people who were disabled.

    There is a wheelchair ramp, but the center is small and claustrophobic, partly because it’s a converted ranch house. If I was in a wheelchair, I’d have someone else go to the rooms where the clothes and other goods were. The addition can only be accessed by stairs, I believe.

    The Center is quite broke – only open three days a week, for five hours a day.

    What made me sad – twice I had to go through records, once for TfT and the other for the (now abandoned) attempt at getting info on the old computer. So many people were coming in because of illnesses – they’d lost their job, they couldn’t work. It scares me still, how little we care for our “fellow Americans.”

    Even organizations that should care don’t. When I volunteered there, the official policy of the Food Bank was that people living in a hotel couldn’t get food. (They did anyway.)

    As for shelters – we need to change how we look at abuse. Men can be abused and they need a place to go. There are very good reasons for them to not go to woman’s shelter. We have to realize that men do get abused. The most important change that could help shelters (abuse or homeless) – it’s not your fault. We blame people (“Why didn’t she leave?” “He could work if he really wanted.”) so we don’t have to fix the problems.

  4. @NTE: Yeah, I know. One of the most important things that I learned when things started getting bad and I had to start using medication was to carry around a supply of all my medications with me at all times in case of a disaster. So now I carry around all my medications in my purse, I feel like a pharmacy some days. Of course, this doesn’t help that psychiatrists don’t like giving us “too much” medication so we never really have a reliable stockpile.

    Must be 110x harder for people who have mobility problems.