Dr. Avnish Jolly, Chandigarh, 4th October, 2008 :A workshop on ‘Sexual empowerment of disabled persons in India’ was organised Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chnadigarh. Prof K.K. Talwar, Director, PGI, Chandigarh, inaugurated the workshop and stressed the importance of sexual rehabilitation as part of comprehensive rehabilitation of a disabled person.
The undermining of issues relating to sexuality of persons with disabilities by health, social service and rehabilitation professionals besides family and society has led to the denial of right to sex and procreation to these people, stated Dr G.N. Karna, honorary president of the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, New Delhi.
Dr Karna, talking with the media during a workshop on a two-day national workshop on “Sexual empowerment of disabled persons in India” at GMCH said even as the society was becoming sensitive towards the rights of disabled gradually still people used double standard when it came to the matrimonial issues and it is evident from the studies depicting that around 35 per cent of persons with disabilities are never married. Interestingly, this proportion is higher in urban areas where more than 38 per cent disabled remain unmarried in comparison to the rural areas, where the figure hovers around 33 per cent, said Dr Karna.
It merely portrays a picture showing that people with disabilities have been denied right to sex and have family. Mentioning the measures being taken by the government towards uplifting the disabled, Dr Karna said though government was doing a lot, the problem could not be overcome till a massive awareness campaign was launched, as it had to be solved at the emotional and social level and fact, perceptions of misconception about disability and sexuality aggravated the situation, he said. Most disabilities seldom affected sexual functioning but the unfortunate aspect in the perceptions of many in societies that disabled were sexually deviant was frustrating the cause, he added. This aspect is critical to restoring the self-respect and self-confidence of disabled persons and to maintain the family life, he said.
Maj-Gen Rajendra Nath, Chairman, Society for Blind, Chandigarh, recounted his experience of working with visually handicapped for last more than 30 years. He pointed out that disabled compensated loss of one faculty by developing other faculties. They could lead a normal sexual life provided they were given right guidance.
Dr J.P. Singh, member secretary, Rehabilitation Council of India, also stressed the importance of sexual rehabilitation of the disabled by training workers dealing with such disabled persons. Prof Raj Bahadur, Director-Principal, GMCH, in his presidential address dwelled on the anguish and specter of rejection faced by disabled persons, if they were not able to perform sexual function and do procreation.