In the Poorest Countries Women With Disabilities Are Suffering the Worst Abuse

    TORONTO, Aug. 28 /CNW/ - Domestic violence kills and injures more women
aged 19-44 worldwide than the combined total of cancer, car accidents and
malaria. One in four unborn babies have been injured or killed through abuse
of pregnant women.
    A woman who is blind can't see her attacker; if she can't walk, she can't
run away, if she has an intellectual disability, she can't fully understand
what's being done to her. Abuse, Rape. Mutilation. All because these women
have a disability.
    CBMI Canada's Board Member Lois Williams has seen first hand how women
living with disabilities in poorer countries of the world struggle daily for
survival. Williams grew up in India, and worked as a nurse in Ecuador, Haiti
and then later lived in Nepal with her husband who's a doctor.
    "I know what it's like to have next to nothing," says Williams. "To wash
clothes by hand. To live where the hospital isn't a 10 minute ambulance ride
away - it's a 7 day walk. And even then, I had it 100 times easier than the
women who lived around me."
    "In Nepal, I saw women oppressed every day. There, most men considered
losing a buffalo a greater loss than having a wife die. A wife was easier to
replace," says Williams. A wife had "no value".
    CBMI is helping women living in poverty by providing business loans and
restoring them to health and mobility through medical aid. Communities are
also educated on the value of girls and women with disabilities and women's
support groups are being established. CBMI is empowering these women and girls
who are valued in the eyes of God.
    Years ago, Melissa Vasallo, a CBMI donor, was involved in a car accident
that left her with a disability. "I realize how lucky I am to live in a
country like Canada that has such good health care and community support," she
    "But women with disabilities who live in developing countries don't have
this privilege," says Ms. Vasallo. "They are 2 to 3 times more likely to be
physically abused, less likely to receive an education and face twice the
discrimination. These women are often forgotten by their communities and
sometimes left alone to die."
    Violence against women is a legitimate human rights issue and is a
significant threat to women's health and well-being. What can Canadians do to
help these oppressed women trapped in poverty by their disabilities and
low-self esteem?
    Ms. Vassalo and Mrs. Williams are calling upon Canadians to urge the
federal government to ensure women with disabilities who are struggling to
survive poverty are included in all government-funded international
development work.
    Join CBMI and help us stop the injustice being done to women living in
poverty with disabilities. If you would like a copy of the letter CBMI is
sending to our government about the rights of disabled women in poorer
countries, please contact us at 1-800-567-2264.

For further information:

For further information: interviews please contact: Lindsay O'Connor,
CBMI National Media & Public Relations Manager, 1-800-567-2264, (905)

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