While perpetrators of sexual violence in most cases go scot free, the agony of abuse for deaf victims of sexual assault often go unnoticed due to communication barriers and culture faced when seeking help.
Language barriers, limited access to information about their rights as well as isolation from the general hearing population are some of the impediments that often lead to most cases of sexual assault within the deaf community to go unreported.
“Most rape victims choose to suffer silently for fear of being victimised by perpetrators,” said Deaf Zimbabwe Trust Lucia Masauso.
Zimbabwe Open University Associate Professor Disability Studies and Special Needs Education Lincoln Hlatshwayo said systems for effectively communicating with deaf people within public institutions should be put in place as many hearing people do not know how to initiate a conversation with a deaf person.
Across Africa, persons with disabilities encounter considerable obstacles in terms of access to justice.
When society stand together against abuse of vulnerable members within their communities, life becomes worthwhile.