The new President of the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD) is concerned about sexual predators who are looking to take advantage of disabled women, and some men too.
Kerry Ann Ifill said she was worried that there were too many instances where particularly disabled women, were being approached by predators.
Ifill, who said the situation was one which could no longer go unnoticed, made a call for members of society to restrain from taking advantage of persons from vulnerable groups.
“There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about persons with disabilities and their sexuality. The general thinking in a lot of minds are that persons with disabilities are highly-sexed and therefore they will always be willing and up for that kind of thing.
“There are others who believe that they can prey on somebody who is vulnerable and because many persons with disabilities still do not have ready access to information about sexual reproductive health, about sexuality in general, a lot of them are ignorant of a lot of issues. Therefore, people prey on them and take advantage of their naivety,” Ifill said.
She explained that most times when disabled persons, particularly those who are intellectually challenged, find themselves in situations where they are being asked for sexual favours, they do not know what to do.
“She may feel uncomfortable with it but if they prey on their insecurities and their naivety a lot of them don’t complain. It is persons around them that complain about it, like their family members and so on.
“The other part of it too is that persons who have genuine interest get the same brush because they say that all men just going after women with disabilities to take advantage and abuse them,” she said.
The former President of the Senate of Barbados said she was also concerned that women in the disabled community were remaining in abusive relationships because they have limited opportunities for employment and income.
She explained that some years ago, she heard of a young woman who was intellectually challenged living with a man who was known to be HIV positive “and he bluntly said that she is to get whatever he had and she had no where else to go”.
“Let us face it, families are also abusive too. If your family members still see you as a little child, though you are a woman in your 20’s and 30’s, and somebody outside treats you as though you are in your 20’s and 30’s, what do you think is going to happen?
“If every time you get a penny your family takes it from you because they say you don’t know how to handle money, what will happen? When you are not bringing in anything into the home and the family treats you like a nothing, what do you do?” she asked.