On September 17th 2013, I received a phone call from a friend telling me about a woman - Bose who had been thrown out of the home she built and shared with her husband shortly after becoming disabled. Her family did not want her back either. For 10months, she was homeless and hungry and very sick.
An aunt took her in, a few days before she died, amid discouragement from other members of her family. That aunt is still answering questions about why she gave Bose shelter and warmth and food during her last days alive.
*Bose allowed me record our interview for two reasons: • She needed help urgently and she wanted me to share her voice with anyone who might be able to; • She wanted other women to learn from her life story, so that they do not to fall victims of the same fate as she did.
In the interview, she tells a story of how her husband made her leave her well paying job immediately after he got a job; how he made her have three abortions while he was making babies with another woman; and how she could no longer have children of her own because of the abortions she’s had.
Bose’s story highlights:
The lack of safety net for people with disabilities to carry on leading as independent a life as possible when their social and family networks abandon them;
The lack of access to the justice system to seek redress in common-law/court/ customary marriage disputes, separation and divorce;
Lack of mediation services to act as an in between to achieve possible resolution instead of undertaking the prohibitive judicial avenue;
A dearth of third sector organizations, which cater for, support, shelter and rehabilitate stigmatized and socially excluded PWDs;
No officially recognized mechanism for dealing with domestic abuse, violence against women, sexual exploitation, wanton discrimination against PWDs; and
No dedicated government parastatal, quango or ministry in charge of the affairs, safeguarding the wellbeing of vulnerable adults including those with disabilities.
I am able to listen to the voice of Bose even though she is dead, as would other women the world over because of technology.
Technology has made an honest journalist out of me and technology guarantees that for years to come, Bose will always speak to us, tell us her story no matter where we are.
Technology can be a great ally in our fight against violence against women, gender inequality and discrimination and abuse against Persons with disabilities as it provides solid evidence and legitimacy to our experiences and stories. Lets Take The Tech Back!
Listen to Bose speak:
*Bose Bode Onifison died on 28th of October 2013, five weeks after we had this interview.
***This story was peer reviewed by Mr Ogee Robinson, a social work/social care consultant.Take Back the Tech 2013