Activist: Law King Kiew forefront posing with participants at a recent workshop to raise disability awareness in Pattaya, Thailand.
A recent workshop to empower women living with disabilities turned out to be an eye-opener for many. MORE than two dozen women with disabilities, together with their caregivers, participated in a four-day regional workshop in Pattaya, Thailand, last month. Themed Voices Of Our Own: Empowering Women With Disabilities, the workshop aimed to help women use available human rights channels and resources as advocacy tools to eliminate violence against disabled women.
The Philippines and Singapore were unable to participate in the special event. Malaysia had two representatives, one of whom was Law King Kiew, a paralympian at the Sydney Paralympics in Law, who sees herself as an activist for the disabled, said the most poignant stories came from Deaf participants.
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Nearly half a dozen of them were from the host country, Thailand. The organisers included the Deaf in the workshop to raise awareness among participants, especially those with other types of handicaps. Participants shared stories of how they were denied education and faced discrimination and social stigma as women with disabilities in their respective countries.
Participants heard horror stories of how some Deaf women were dragged into nearby bushes and raped after visiting the temple to fulfil their religious obligations. They were unable to shout or scream for help because of their condition. Lodging a report with the authorities was another nightmare as the police were unfamiliar with sign language. The workshop participants discovered that such situations did not only happen in public places but also in boarding school dormitories, at the workplace and even in the home.
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