Women Buried in Life: HELP ME! As I am sharing my story, with you.

 
 
 

Women Buried in Life: HELP ME! As I am sharing my story, with you.
Unfortunately it took me a while to decide on how to start this article, the idea is there, women with disabilities, but where to start, what to write, that was the tough part. I have searched so many articles and went through a lot of book pages to be able to out bring some of the issues women with disabilities face, but it turned out it was like looking for water drops in the desert. It saddens me, and it made me realize these are the invisible women. Their issues are not being highlighted in a proper way.
Most of what I found was the repeated words; women with disabilities face double discriminations. But that wasn’t what I was looking for; I want real stories that will touch your heart before your mind. So I kept searching till I found the story, the story that broke my heart and made me believe what a corrupted world we live in! A story that touches humanity, if there is any left.
          Sept. 2013, Palestine
A 21 year old mentally challenged young girl was beaten up then hung to death by her own mother who admitted her crime after finding out that her unmarried disabled daughter was pregnant.  Mentally challenged?! How could she be held responsible for such action and get killed in the name of honor? How about helping her defend herself, how about -maybe- she was raped?!  What honor do we talk about exactly? Honor and crime never walk hand in hand.
Oh no, wait! It is too late, the girl in this story is already gone since September, this is not the story that I wanted to share. I will seize my chance here, to tell you the story of a young beautiful woman who is disabled and abused, but can still survive, and I ask you to help her, and to look for everyone who is in a same state, and let’s give our help with whatever we can, please!
          October, 2013
Hanan, a Palestinian woman who is mentally disabled, was left to live in a shack separated from the family house. She was forced by her step mother to join the living of the chicken and sheep instead of her family.
Hanan, a 33 year old young woman who lost her dad almost 8 years ago, has been living like this for a good number of years now, until Watan, a local news network, revealed her story, shed the light on her darkness. The story later on was spread among the Palestinian news agencies, actions were very slow, repetitive answers to her situation were; we are looking into it. Looking into it? Can’t anyone find her the right shelter? A place where she can find love, care and feel some security? No institutions were able to take her in, no organizations or authorities were able to take this issue seriously, and realize that she is a human being that is being abused. To them, maybe she is not aware of what is going on nor feels a difference, but to her, you have no idea how it feels like. So just help.
Found naked in a shack, the step mother tries to help Hanan put on some clothes before the media arrives and captures the scene.  It was described that she is not giving proper clothes to fit her and she is left to sleep among garbage bags on ripped mattress -or what was once a mattress. Yet, the Ministry of affairs hears about her, sees her living and does nothing for some long time except giving the stepmother 1800 Sheqel (511 $) every 3 months to be spent on Hanan’s needs.
Isn’t the step mother the main suspect here who shouldn’t be trusted with money as she could not be trusted with a life of a disabled woman? Is she being rewarded for taking the burden off of the authorities’ shoulders? Yet we still ask, what about Hanan’s case? And the usual answer given by all authorities is “still looking for a proper institution for such cases.”
A never ending following-up process for a case that should have been held easily, if we have taken the time, long ago, to build institutions for taking care of the disabled.  The follow up process would have been shorter, if justice has taken place, if the step mother was dragged to court along with whoever supported her not Hanan. Only if equality and human rights were given to all, this wouldn’t have reached this far.
After this has became a ghost hunting authorities, as it was all over the Palestinian media channels –not that it was well covered but okay- the police has decided it is about time to build a room , furnished room, for Hanan, yet separated from a house that should be her home. Seriously? Is Hanan off your shoulder now? Now you can sleep at night?
By replacing a shack with a room won’t solve it! Hanan needs more than that, she needs to live with humans, to learn how it is like to be one after living for years with chicken and sheep! And yet what is funny, one of the news networks which mentioned what the police has finally done for Hanan, they were bragging all about the generosity of the police and how well they have treated Hanan neglecting the fact how long it took to build such a room, and most importantly neglecting the fact that this is actually not a solved issue, she simply needs an institution with facilities, nurses and humans befriending her! Now, where do we go from here? Do we flip the page and start fresh? Or do we go on with Hanan’s story and move her to the right shelter? I think it is about time we start looking for all the invisible Hanans and bring them out to life before it is too late, like the girl of September.
Published in BROAD Feminist and Social Justice Magazine / Chicago – Nov 2013, Pages 53-54
By ABEER ALLAN
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