A colloquium hosted by UCT's Disability Service has highlighted several pertinent topics with regard to violence against women. The title of the colloquium, At the Intersection, revolves around connections between violence against women with disabilities, HIV, sexual orientation, transnational refugees, and race and gender issues.
The event was opened by the director of the UCT Transformation Services Office (TSO), Glenda Wildschut, who said that the colloquium was a way to bring together the three different units of the TSO: the HIV/AIDS Institutional Co-Ordination Unit (HAICU), the Discrimination and Harassment Office (DISCHO), and the Disability Service.
She said, "While the focus is on disability, we want to stretch the scholarship a little bit more, so that's why there is a wide range of topics covered in the colloquium."
Other topics include Asperger's Syndrome, dyslexia and ADD/ADHD. Wildschut said the conference highlighted workshops on learning disabilities because these are very common at UCT. The keynote address was made by Professor Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women. Her research revolves around the level of recourse from the law and governmental agencies when it comes to violence against women with disabilities, from a human rights perspective.
Manjoo said that the biggest challenge is the denial and lack of acknowledgment and accountability from institutions of power with regard to violence against women, and especially those with disabilities. Manjoo was adamant that a new kind of accountability needs to be created.
"Violence against women is increasing worldwide; and if this was a disease, we would be declaring a state of emergency."
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