Disability awareness offered this month | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Disability awareness offered this month

Tahoe Daily Tribune

May is National Disability Awareness Month. The South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center is dedicated to improving the emotional, social and economic condition of women and families in the community through programs and services that address domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and basic needs. There are an estimated 300 million women in the world today who have disabilities.

Sexual assault against persons with disabilities is a crime with its own particular dynamics that profoundly influence the lives of survivors with disabilities. As with sexual assault in the general population, sexual assault against persons with disabilities is often committed by someone the survivor knows. In many cases, the caregiver for the person with the disability is often the perpetrator of sexual violence against them. When the relationship is also one of a primary caretaker, survivors of sexual assault with disabilities may be less willing to get help or identify the relationship as abusive.

Living with domestic violence is difficult enough without also grappling with a disability, but the issues that are present are the same in other domestic violence relationships. Issues of power and control and dominance are present and make the disabled person even more vulnerable because their ability to protect themselves may be lower. Victims are often blamed and held responsible for the abuse they suffer. When the victim is a disabled person, he or she is often viewed as more responsible because their disability makes them more difficult to care for and/or live with.

What Can I Do?

— If you or someone you care about has been a victim, the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center can help!

— If you are a person with a disability, call the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center to learn more about how to get involved. People with disabilities often turn to someone who has characteristics similar to theirs when seeking help. You may be in a position to change a life.

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— Learn more about people with disabilities: how they maintain independent lifestyles, their role as parents and how to accommodate a variety of communication needs. Your local independent living center can provide a vast amount of information about services and resources for people with disabilities in your community.

— The South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center is offering on-going crisis training on domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.

If you are interested in a presentation or information on training the Women’s Center is offering, please contact Lois Denowitz, Community Educator/Volunteer Coordinator at (530) 542-7622. For services offered, please call (530) 544-4444 available 24 hours a day.