Domestic Violence & Disabilities
Barrier Free Living is an expert working with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities.
The BFL team works with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities at our fully accessible Freedom House domestic violence shelter, our award winning Secret Garden domestic violence counseling program, and our latest BFL Apartments offering permanent homes with support services to survivors with disabilities and their families.
“Domestic violence is the number one issue of women with disabilities”
Paul Feuerstein, President/CEO
Our Latest DV Initiatives
The BFL team shares nearly 40 years of experience, knowledge and growth in the domestic violence and disabilities field.
This month’s contributor, Nicolyn Plummer is a senior social worker and coordinator of outreach and advocacy of the Deaf Services Initiative, in conjunction with Secret Garden and Freedom House to enhance accessibility in serving Deaf victims.
Sexual assault victims who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing face unique issues compared to those who are hearing when it comes to reporting the assault.
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reports that approximately one in five hearing women have been raped in their lifetime and thirteen percent of the women experienced sexual coercion at some point in their lives (Basile, Black, Breiding, Smith, Walter, Merrick & Stevens, 2011) .
Comparably, preliminary research reveals that Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing women experience a higher rate of forced sex than hearing women (Pollard, Sutter & Cerulli, 2013).
A survey conducted in American Sign Language (ASL) in Rochester, New York, estimated twenty-one percent of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing participants were forced to have sex (Barnett et al., 2011).
Further study notes that sixty-nine percent of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing college females experience at least one type of sexual assault during her life (Elliott Smith & Pick, 2015). Due to the under-reporting of sexual assault in the D/deaf community it is difficult to determine what the exact rate of victimization is.
Read the full article here.
Learn More About:
- Insights From Secret Garden Program
- Advocate Spotlight: Vangie Leon
- Advocate Spotlight: Irma Williams
- September Is Deaf Awareness Month
- Freedom House: Working With Children In Our Domestic Violence Shelter
- June Is Elder Abuse Month
- Freedom House: Guiding Families to Heal
- Trauma Disables and Disability Traumatizes: Part 1 of 3
- Trauma Disables and Disability Traumatizes: Part 2 of 3
- Trauma Disables and Disability Traumatizes: Part 3 of 3
- Serving Male Domestic Violence Survivors In Shelter
Survivor Spotlight: Denise
An encounter with an occupational therapist during a hospital stay in 2017 was the first step in Denise’s journey to safety.
“I was in the hospital for a multiple sclerosis flare up. I had a week before I had to go home. My living situation was toxic. Mental and psychological abuse,” says Denise. “I was scared and my blood pressure was going up. An occupational therapist asked me about my blood pressure and she ended up telling me she had been an intern at (Barrier Free Living’s) Freedom House domestic violence shelter.”
( View a virtual tour film of Freedom House here.)
The therapist connected Denise to Freedom House, where she found safety and began to see her life choices going forward.
“It was awesome. Freedom House was the best experience to get me where I am today. I was being abused and didn’t know it. My social worker brought to my attention that when someone controls your money or your thoughts, that is abuse.”
During her stay at Freedom House, Denise attended domestic violence support groups and began to explore her options.
“I found my sanity, my emotional well-being and my self-esteem. I started caring for myself,” she says. “When I got to Freedom House I was a scared little mouse. When I left I was a lion.”
Denise attended the Shine Foundation’s financial empowerment workshops at Freedom House and learned about restoring good credit and creating a budget. Working with the Freedom House team, she was able to find her own apartment, and today is pursuing a Master’s degree in counseling.
Learn More About:
- Survivor Spotlight: Bethelihem
- Survivor Spotlight: Olivia
- Specialized Trauma Reprocessing Therapy at Secret Garden
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Pet Therapy For People With Disabilities & Survivors Of Domestic Violence
- Latino Domestic Violence Resources
- Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence
Calendar of Events, Outreach & More
Barrier Free Living Features Special Holiday Card Series
Our Stories: Ebony Shares Her Journey At Freedom House
Freedom House DV Shelter Virtual Tour
Take a virtual tour of Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House domestic violence shelter for survivors with disabilities. Get an up close and inside look at what makes our shelter absolutely unique and vital.
Link to film here .
Breaking Barriers In DV Newsletter
Each month BFL team members share their expertise and experience around our work with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities. Email us to sign up: [email protected]
Stories of Survival
The great benefit of our work at Barrier Free Living is the opportunity to see the results of our programs and hear the stories of inspiration, persistance and survival that our programs have helped to create.
“My family feels safe. We are learning to be strong and to love ourselves. I am so glad we are here” More about Olga’s Journey of Hope
“I wanted to volunteer here because I wanted to be part of the great mission that Freedom House has for women and children.” More about Bethelihem’s Journey of Hope