Count me IN!: Research report on violence against disabled, lesbian, and sex-working women in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal

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This article is relevant for humanitarian and development practitioners because it highlights the gaps in broader violence against women prevention work by focusing on marginalised women--disabled, lesbian and sex-working women--as well as the willingness of policymakers to support protection recommendations. The focus on lesbian women is particularly of note, given the frequent invisibility of lesbian women in VAW research and broader diverse SOGIESC research.

This article investigates and shares findings on violence experienced by marginalised women–disabled women, lesbian women, and sex-working women–in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. The article opens with a brief overview of the research including methodology and justifications, before presenting high-level findings.

The research found that disabled women experience regular and ongoing discrimination from various facets of society in all three country contexts, including neglect, punishment and abuse from spouses or, for unmarried women with a disability, violence from natal family members; lesbian women reported violence across the lifespan, particularly when they openly acknowledged their sexual orientation, as well as high levels of exclusion and outright workplace discrimination; sex-working women reported high levels of ongoing and past violence from sex partners, police, clients, pimps, employers, family members and others in their societies. Service providers across the three countries pointed out that, overall, women who experience violence are generally reluctant to seek care–this is compounded for marginalised women.

The report then provides recommendations and conclusions for each country and generally. In Nepal and India, key recommendations were discussed with policymakers, and a brief section on the feasibility of recommendations follows.

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"[In India] the most obvious examples were given by lesbian women in their descriptions of the structural violence inherent in social norms, the opinions were echoed by disabled women and sex-working women."

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This article investigates and shares findings on violence experienced by marginalised women–disabled women, lesbian women, and sex-working women–in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. The article opens with a brief overview of the research including methodology and justifications, before presenting high-level findings.

The research found that disabled women experience regular and ongoing discrimination from various facets of society in all three country contexts, including neglect, punishment and abuse from spouses or, for unmarried women with a disability, violence from natal family members; lesbian women reported violence across the lifespan, particularly when they openly acknowledged their sexual orientation, as well as high levels of exclusion and outright workplace discrimination; sex-working women reported high levels of ongoing and past violence from sex partners, police, clients, pimps, employers, family members and others in their societies. Service providers across the three countries pointed out that, overall, women who experience violence are generally reluctant to seek care–this is compounded for marginalised women.

The report then provides recommendations and conclusions for each country and generally. In Nepal and India, key recommendations were discussed with policymakers, and a brief section on the feasibility of recommendations follows.