Understanding the sexual health & rights of youth with disabilities of Assam

In a liberalized democracy where young people are voicing out there opinions in matters related to physical attraction, sexual desires on the other hand youth with disabilities often facing marginalization and severe social, economic and civic disparities as compared with those without disabilities due to a range of factors from stigma to inaccessible environments. There is now a burgeoning engagement with disability and sexuality in India.

Foundation for Social Transformation (FST) recently conducted a study to ‘Understand the Sexual Health and Rights of Youth with Disabilities in Assam’ and other social groups.

Rational Behind the study

  • Bring forward a discussion and acknowledge the equal rights of the people with disabilities upon their sexual expression.
  • Understand the current situation with regard to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) attitudes and knowledge among the YwD, their parents and teachers/caregivers.
  • Bring out strategies to begin a process towards facilitating a discourse on the issue of sexual health and sexual rights for youth with disability.
  • To build a dialogue with teachers, parents, caregivers and stakeholders and build their capacities as well and enhance capacities of youths with disability to understand these issues.

 Research objective

  • Examine the sexual and reproductive health knowledge, experiences and needs of people with intellectual or physical disability.
  • Identify barriers to accessing SRH information and service and gauge the level of knowledge and preparedness of parents or caregivers of young people with disability on various SRHR areas.
  • Understand the challenges faced by teachers of young people with disability at the institutions and their training needs thereof.
  • Suggest specific areas of intervention to equip YwD as well as their parents/caregivers and teachers with complete information and knowledge to take care of their SRH needs

CBOs Involved

  • Shishu Sarothi – Guwahati
  • Prerona Pratibandhi Shishu Bikash Kendra – Jorhat
  • Mrinaljyoti Rehabilitation Centre- Duliajan
  • Sanjivani – Tezpur

Take Home Message

  • All young people deserve access to good quality sexual health information and education regardless of physical and intellectual capabilities.
  • Sexual health information and education for youth should be inclusive of those with physical impairments and also provide information specific to the needs of YwD with different impairments.
  • The physical dependence on others is automatically equated with intellectual and emotional dependence. A person who feels inferior will not be able to establish a sound relationship with another person, which is based on equality.