THE BASIC HUMAN NEED TO LOVE AND BE LOVED IS AS RELEVANT FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES (PWD) AS IT IS FOR THE ABLE-BODIED HUMANS. HOWEVER, SEVERAL FACTORS INCLUDING STIGMATIZATION, DISCRIMINATION AND SOME CULTURAL BELIEFS AND MYTHS ABOUT PWD ARE INHIBITING THEIR ABILITY TO FORM INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS,
How can I feel attractive, how can I love somebody, if I don’t love myself, society constantly bombards us with outright and indirect messages that our lives are worthless, that we are hopeless, helpless cripples. Often I have received comments like ‘You must be strong, because in your place I would have killed myself long ago.’ This was the response of Dr. Adolf on the discourse.
Continuing he said, let’s face it, society does not think of us first and foremost as sexual beings. Most of us are considered object of care, disabled people are often seen as sick. Sick persons are not expected to have normal life with social responsibilities such as work or starting a family. So the most important task we face is to build up our own value system independent of our surroundings. Only then can we reach the point where we appreciate our personal resources and uniqueness as human beings”
On her part, Titilayomi Sumbola, who was crippled by polio, said “I want God to give me an awesome husband that amazes me. I keep myself and I don’t want to be embarrassed because I find out that majority of men take advantage of persons with disability especially ladies on wheel chair.
“I have seen a lot of people around me who are victims. Most of the physically challenged ladies have children but they don’t have husband, there is space of a child and there is space of a husband. If the space of the husband is not there, I would say why the space of a child. Although, they see it as a consolation but I don’t see it that way. I can’t begin to struggle alone to bring up a child when I didn’t produce the child alone.
“If you know you don’t love a person with disability genuinely don’t take advantage of them. They are not to be used and dumped. When you know they are not up to your standard why use them.
“So I am holding onto God for a genuine man. You know it is not easy. We disabled people are not asexual beings as some people think. I have feelings. There are times I want to be with a man intimately but I have to apply self control. By the grace of God if I get married today I will satisfy my husband sexually, it has nothing to do with my being a cripple. I can have as much children as I want.”
For Saheed, visually impaired, “when issues that have to do with sex and contraception are discussed, the physically challenged are seen as asexual beings who have no feelings or urge for sex but in actual sense, they are the most active sexual beings you can think of yet they are the most vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Explaining further, he said, they don’t find it easy getting someone expressing love to them, so at any opportunity a guy says to a blind girl ‘I love you’ or expresses intention to have sex with her, she quickly gives in, even if he insists on not using contraceptives. Because she craves for love and it is a psychological need.
The basic truth is that people with disabilities are humans and they need attention and care even more than able bodied people. Some of them already have psychological problem and feel they are less human because of their state. Try and be a source of encourage and render help where you can to the less privileged.
There’s no reason why a bus driver or conductor should prevent a blind man from entering their bus simply because he is blind and not that he doesn’t have his transport fare.
So many of the less privileged pass through this harrowing experience everyday and it appears as if it doesn’t really matter. This is inhuman.