Gender-based violence and women with physical disabilities in South Africa: a forgotten cohort at risk.
This paper discusses the forms of gender-based violence experienced by women with physical disabilities in Pretoria, South Africa. It also discusses the ways of coping adopted by these women after experiencing violence. The study was qualitative in nature and involved a sample of twelve women who were selected using purposive sampling strategy. Individual interviews were conducted to collect data using a semi-structured interview guide. The data were analysed using thematic analysis method. According to the themes that emerged, the participants experienced disability related violence, emotional, financial, structural, sexual and physical abuse. In the aftermath of the abuse, participants coped by seeking professional help, support from informal networks and engaging in empowerment initiatives. It is concluded that women living with physical disabilities were not an exception to gender based violence. They suffered double jeopardy of abuse due to gender and disability. This paper recommended that there should be an increased awareness and representation of women living with physical disabilities in gender based violence platforms and in the public in general, as they seem to be a forgotten cohort at risk.