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Research Study on Sexuality of Women with Physical Disabilities in Vojvodina

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The Research Study on Sex­u­al­i­ty of Women with Phys­i­cal Dis­abil­i­ties in Vojvo­d­i­na was con­duct­ed in 2013 in coop­er­a­tion with orga­ni­za­tions of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties from Novi Sad, Srem­s­ka Mitro­vi­ca, Som­bor, Sub­ot­i­ca and Zren­janin. It includ­ed 45 women with phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties aged 18–65 from var­i­ous set­tle­ments in Vojvo­d­i­na.

The authors of the research study report were Veroni­ka Mitro, Dajana Dam­janović and Svjet­lana Tim­o­tić. It also con­tains a review by the renowned Prof. Emer­i­tus Sven­ka Sav­ić, an expert in psy­cholin­guis­tics, gen­der stud­ies and issues con­cern­ing under­priv­i­leged groups, as well as an after­word from a sex-pos­i­tive per­spec­tive writ­ten by Mar­i­jana Čanak, an expert in women’s sex­u­al­i­ty.

The aim of the study was to describe and ana­lyze expe­ri­ence and per­cep­tions of women with phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties from Vojvo­d­i­na con­cern­ing sex­u­al­i­ty, such as ways of obtain­ing infor­ma­tion and gain­ing knowl­edge about sex­u­al­i­ty. Fur­ther­more, we want­ed to explore more about phys­i­cal changes they expe­ri­enced dur­ing puber­ty their peri­od, issues of inti­mate hygiene, going out, dat­ing, first kiss and first sex­u­al inter­course, as well as gyne­co­log­i­cal check­ups and con­tra­cep­tion, mas­tur­ba­tion, part­ner­ship and mar­riage, bear­ing and bring­ing up chil­dren.

Women with phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ty often have a need for a walk­ing aid and assis­tance of anoth­er per­son in var­i­ous every­day activ­i­ties. Besides, bod­ies of women with phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties look dif­fer­ent from the so-called phys­i­cal­ly sound per­sons. Archi­tec­tur­al bar­ri­ers, issues with access­ing edu­ca­tion, employ­ment, inde­pen­dent hous­ing and liv­ing all com­pli­cate their lives. These are all rea­sons why peo­ple often over­look that sex­u­al­i­ty of women with phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties is an equal­ly impor­tant part of their iden­ti­ty, just like with any oth­er per­son.

Shed­ding light on sex­u­al devel­op­ment and sex­u­al expe­ri­ence of women with phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties is sig­nif­i­cant for devel­op­ment of their sex­u­al, gen­der and over­all iden­ti­ty, rep­re­sent­ing a base for a free access to infor­ma­tion and ser­vices con­cern­ing sex­u­al and repro­duc­tive health, which is a basic human right of every woman.

Imple­men­ta­tion of the research and pub­li­ca­tion of its find­ings was sup­port­ed by the Mama Cash Dutch women’s foun­da­tion.

Down­load the elec­tron­ic ver­sion of the pub­li­ca­tion in PDF.