GENDER BASED VIOLENCE & DISABILITY

Ms K was born in 1985. She was a teacher by profession, and taught at a private school in Johannesburg.  She started experiencing vision loss in 2018 after being assaulted repeatedly by her boyfriend several times.  She went to her local hospital where the doctor confirmed that the assault had damaged the veins in her eyes and she can never see again.

 

Her family members were very overprotective. They did not allow her to do any chores at home or carry the baby at home because they were scared that she would injure herself or drop the baby. KZN Blind and Deaf Society’s Orientation and Mobility assistant conducted a presentation at a war room meeting.  Ms K’s mother heard about the services and was keen for her daughter to received them.  The Orientation and Mobility assistant took all the information and then visited Ms K. 

 

The Orientation and Mobility assistant taught Ms K non cane skills to prevent her from  bumping into obstacles around the house. She was also taught her and her family how to travel efficiently with human guides.  This involved teaching her mother and siblings how to hold her when travelling together.  Ms K was taught money identification (both coins and bank notes), how to count bank notes using the money template and how to count coins using her sense of touch. She was familiarized with the stove.  The Orientation and Mobility assistant used a high marker to teach Ms K how to adjust the hear when cooking.  She was taught pouring liquids safely into a cup using sense of hearing and a liquid level indicator. Orientation and mobility practitioner taught her how to use a white cane to assist her in travelling outside the home.

 


The Orientation and Mobility assistant found out that Ms K never told her family about the cause of her blindness. Through lay counselling, she encouraged her to inform her mother and to lay a charge against the abusive ex-boyfriend, which she did.  Her family supported her through the court case and the ex-boyfriend is serving a jail sentence.

 

 

The orientation and mobility training went well. Ms K is now independent  – she can cook, clean the house, count money (both coins and bank notes) and walks to the spaza shop that is 800 metres away from her home.  She has dealt with the trauma of the abuse and living a happy life.

KZN Blind and Deaf Society supports 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children.