FEEDBACK – Revealing the experiences of untold Silent Tears | April 18, 2016
On 12 April 2016, CBM International and the Handicap International Making It Work Initiative on Gender and Disability co-hosted a side-event during the 15th session of the Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The event saw in particular the contribution of Belinda Mason multi-media exhibition Silent Tears. Silent Tears […]
On 12 April 2016, CBM International and the Handicap International Making It Work Initiative on Gender and Disability co-hosted a side-event during the 15th session of the Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The event saw in particular the contribution of Belinda Mason multi-media exhibition Silent Tears.
Silent Tears tells the stories of women with disabilities who have experienced violence or women who have acquired their disability as a direct result of violence.
Through this exhibition, women had the opportunity to reveal the long term impact, and circumstances, of the violence that they have endured and how this has affected their lives. Silent-Tears represents thus a focal point for discussion, education and awareness raising – providing the impetus for social change.
The event was moderated by Diane Kingston, Vice-President of the CRPD Committee and Deputy Director of CBM’s Advocacy and Alliances department, and the debate was opened by the Silent Tears multi-media presentation made by Belinda Mason, who then took the floor to explain the history of this project and how Silent Tears “gives the opportunity to tell how women with disabilities feel facing violence”. Denise Beckwith, one of the emerging artists, insisted on how this project “highlights issues that are not included in mainstream conversations by revealing the untold experiences of women”.
The floor was then taken by Luisa Fenu, Making It Work Project Manager, who shared the experiences of the country level advocates who contributed to the Making It Work Initiative on gender and disability. In particular, she highlighted the importance of guaranteeing the meaningful participation of women and girls with disabilities in policy and decision-making while trickling down resources to allow organizations of women and girls with disabilities and women organizations to carry on their work at local and country level. “We cannot think to create inclusive societies if we leave women and girls with disabilities behind and we cannot re-think development policies and programmes as long as the gender and disability community won’t build bridges”, said Luisa.
Dr. Mary Keogh, Senior Advisor on Disability and Gender Equality with CBM, on “the importance of incorporating gender equality in disability-inclusive development” concluded the event with acknowledging the importance of taking forward multiple actions, to influence especially development policies and programmes. In particular, Dr. Keogh highlighted the importance for gender policies and programmes to become disability-sensitive and for disability policies and programmes to become gender-sensitive.
Finally, Both Ms. Luisa Fenu and Dr. Mary Keogh recalled the importance of the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular its goal 5 on achieving equality and empowering all women and girls, and how Member States could use the guidance of the CRPD General Comment on article 6, women with disabilities, to make national development plans truly inclusive of all women.
Looking at untold experiences revealed by the Silent Tears exhibition and the need to influence gender and development policies highlighted by Mary Keogh, Making It Work appears as one of the solutions to voice women and girls with disabilities through the documentation of local and country level practices and the need of evidence to influence policies and programmes at all levels.