Deaf or Hearing, half of all women have been abused at least once in thier lives.
Deaf women have an additional burden in struggling to deal with the police, court systems, health care, interpreters, shelters or safe places.
Because few accessible jobs are available, Deaf women suffer a very high rate of unemployment and lower salaries than men.
The lack of economic resources fosters dependence on men and keeps Deaf women in abusive relationships longer.
Few Deaf women report violence or abuse for several reasons:
They don't rely on the same support services available to the rest of society because hotlines, police, court systems, health care, interpreters, shelters or safe places are often inaccessible, especially in an emergency.
Many don't have access to the same information that hearing women have about women's rights and the changing roles of women.
Deaf women, like other women fear for their safety and fear that reporting will intensify the abuse.
A Deaf women may go through abuse because of her deafness, the abuser trying to isolate her by refusing to allow the use of sign language in the house, taking away her TTY, hearing aid, hearing dog, or criticizing her English language skills.
In the Deaf community, many people know each other so it is common for the news to spread quickly.
That makes it harder to keep some plans secret, to move away or to hide from the abuser for safety.
Deaf Community members may also try to protect the abuser and blame the victim for getting a well known member of the community in trouble.
Lack of anonymity, fear of being stigmatized by her few available supports, guilt, shame and low self-esteem all make a Deaf woman want to hide her problems to keep it a secret from everyone.
Deaf people are not taught enough about domestic violence. That's why Deaf victims/survivors of violence or abuse are not supported within their own community.
Services from domestic violence agencies, police, interpreters and courts might not be easy to get, and may even prevent Deaf women from getting the services they need to keep safe.
Deaf women have been struggling for a long time for their rights as Deaf people, and may not have had time or the chance to learn about their rights as women.
Deaf women sometimes feel uncomfortable using domestic violence shelters because no one there uses sign language, and no adaptive technology is available which makes them feel more alone.
A Deaf woman in a shelter may want to return to her abuser because at least she knows what to expect, and communication with her abuser may be easier than at a shelter.