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Women and Deafness Home  Contemporary Gender Issues and Deafness   Famous Deaf Women   Organizations of Deaf Women  


This page is devoted to exploring sexuality issues related to Deaf women.    







HIV/AIDS Awareness in Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Women 



        Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc. (GLAD) is an organization that ensures deaf and hard-of-hearing women will receive accurate information about important issues, specifically in the HIV prevention program.  This program gives deaf and hard-of-hearing women accurate information about the risks of being sexually active and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS.  GLAD focuses on the prevention of HIV/AIDS, treatment, and emotional/mental coping of an individual with HIV/AIDS. Community events, walks for prevention, educational seminars, and guest speaking events are some of the services that GLAD provides to their members and the community.  GLAD also provides ASL seminars where safe sex pamphlets and condoms are distributed to deaf and hard-of-hearing women to promote HIV/AIDS awareness.  HIV tests are promoted at GLAD events because they believe everyone should know and be aware of their HIV status.  Several community outreach and services are provided to ensure that all age groups, deaf and hard-of-hearing women with different HIV/AID statuses feel comfortable and have services available to them.  Without this organization many deaf and hard-of-hearing women may not have even realized the severity of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in America.


Hiv prevention program. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.gladinc.org/hiv-prevention-program

Posted By  S. Covert








Diversity Officer Sues Gallaudet University Over Gay Marriage Petition Suspension




     Angela McCaskill graduated from Gallaudet with a Ph.D. She was granted the position of chief diversity officer in 2011 at Gallaudet. She is suing the university because of an incident that occurred with other members of the faculty. Allegedly two lesbian deaf proffers harassed her when they found out about her signing a petition to put gay marriage law on the state ballot. Apparently there was a report stated by a co-defendant saying that her coworker attacked her sexual orientation, place of worship, and her belief of traditional marriage. McCaskill reported the incident to the university and nothing was done to control the situation.

Resources  Hollingsworth, B. (2013, October 09). Diversity officer sues gallaudet university over gay marriage petition suspension. Retrieved from http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/diversity-officer-sues-gallaudet-u-over-gay-marriage-petition 
Posted By  Diana Cruz 










Signs for Sexuality




    Planned Parenthood has published a pamphlet for deaf people to read, that discusses the different sexuality terms, and explains in depth what each term means and represents. The manual contains over 250 terms dealing with human sexuality. The Pamphlet also contains 600 photos of signs and phrases dealing with sexuality terms. The manual also includes an appendix that explains the need for and methods of how to use birth control. Labeled Male and Female anatomy diagrams are in the back of the manual, along with the functions of each part of the human anatomy.    

Resources  Signs for sexuality: A resource manual for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, families, and professionals . (2013).
Posted By  Jessica Whipple









Sexual Abuse Against Deaf Women  



        Colleges around the country are rampant with unreported sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape, but Gallaudet University is much worse. Over the years at Gallaudet University, many women that have been sexually assaulted are coming forth; They never reported their assault for fear of being shamed by their peers. Gallaudet, just like the Deaf Community, is very tight knit and no woman wants to accuse a man that she is around frequently around of raping her. Gallaudet University used to be a place where Deaf people who grew up in the hearing world to feel accepted and free from their long isolation, but now it is more dangerous than anything else. In 1993 Gallaudet implemented a task force on sexual assault to make their female students feel more comfortable at school. The women that have come forward about their rape have stated that they did not report the assault right away because after the community finds out that you were a victim, you will be stigmatized for the rest of your life. Disciplinary action has been taken against the students that allegedly committed the rapes. Gallaudet has made great changes and made students feel more comfortable with coming forward about their attacks.


Castaneda, Carol . "Deaf Women Reveal Silent Secrets:At Gallaudet University, students are crying "rape" ." USA Today . N.p., 17 June 1994. Web. 14 Nov 2013. <http://deafed-childabuse-neglect-col.wiki.educ.msu.edu/file/view/Deaf_women_reveal_silent_secrets__At_Gallau.PDF>.

Posted By  Jessica Welter








Study Reveals Unique Issues Faced by Deaf Victims of Sexual Assault



      According to a study funded by the National Institute of Justice, sexual assault victims who are deaf face unique issues not encountered by the hearing. When deaf people report an assault, they encounter stereotypes about being a victim and being deaf. Rape victims can encounter feelings of guilt and embarrassment because of the social stigma attached to rape. These feelings can be compromised due to the small and close-knit nature of the deaf community, which contributes to the hesitancy to report a sexual assault. The closeness of the deaf community can compromise a victim’s anonymity and take away their privacy. If the perpetrator is also deaf, then the deaf community will usually not offer support to the victim. Because of this, deaf victims can experience a profound sense of isolation. 

Resources  (2007, June). Retrieved from http://www.nij.gov/journals/257/deaf-victims.html
Posted By  Mary Stegall










                 In January of 2003 DeafHope was establish by Deaf women to help Deaf women, they strive to end not only sexual abuse but domestic abuse as well by using methods such as “empowerment, education, and services.” They hope to end these types of abuse by providing three levels, these include: “providing services to Deaf women and children who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence; by educating our community and service provider about domestic and sexual violence; and by providing statewide training and technical assistance to establish more Deaf-run services for Deaf survivors.” DeafHope created National Advocates on Deafness to Inform Network and Enrich, N.A.D.I.N.E, in order to educate Deaf women and raise awareness for domestic and sexual violence. This program was put together collectively by Deaf artist and actors in order to raise awareness and communicate these types of violence and are not topics that should be overlooked.


DeafHope. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.projectnadine.org/PN/DeafHope.html

Home. Retrieved from http://projectnadine.org/PN/Home.html


Posted By  Alexis S.









Monologue of a Deaf Woman



        Monologue of a Deaf Woman is a production performed entirely in Auslan (an Australian sign language) by director Medina Sumovic. Sumovic made this special production to educate the deaf and hearing worlds about her personal experience on how difficult it was to "come out" to her family about her sexuality. Sumovic chose Stephanie Linder to act as her in the production, she comments " Stef is from a deaf family and has deaf siblings. She attended an (integrated) deaf school and is a proud and confident lesbian as well."Sumovic's main concern is about how the film is orally interpreted to her hearing audience, the production is not easy to get if you are not deaf and she wants both groups of her audience to have the same kind of entertainment. 

Sumovic is now starting on other projects and she tells interviewers that she will for sure be working with Stephanie Linders again because she feels that they both relate to so many things.



Picture Retrieved from http://www.adelaidereview.com.au/arts/article/monologue-of-a-deaf-woman  


Posted By  Jacqueline Najera










The National Sexual Violence Resource Center




        The National Sexual Violence Resource Center is provides information to help Deaf women who have been victims of sexual violence. Nancy Smith, from Vera Institute of Justice, provides information about Deaf culture and how to help someone with disabilities or deafness overcome the sexual violence. Research shows that some women with disabilities experience increased risk of sexual violence compared to women without disabilities. About 76% of adults with cognitive disabilities have been sexually assaulted. Some perpetrators use tactics that expressly target women with disabilities and Deaf women. There are some places where these women can go once this abuse has happened to them such as, disability organizations, rape crisis centers, health care systems, and the criminal justice system. Women with disabilities and Deaf women have limited access to support and other services.  Some local resources include The ARC, Board of MR/DD, community mental health centers, deaf-specific dv/sa agencies, deaf and hard of hearing commissions, independent living centers, and University Centers for Excellence. Smith recommends getting involved with disability and Deaf organizations in order to properly help someone that went through sexual violence and has a disability. Smith’s key word is patient for it will take a while for these women to open and express their feeling in what happens. Some of the advice that Smith provides in helping out a victim is to welcome them with open arms and do not treat them differently just because you know that they went through sexual violence and has a disability. Smith emphasizes that the work must come from us in order to help these women get to recovery.


Smith, N. (2009 January). Sexual Violence Against Women Disabilities and Deaf Women: Needs and Remedies.

Retrieved from: http://www.nsvrc.org/publications/powerpoints/sexual-violence-against-women-disabilities-and-deaf-women-needs-and-remedie

Posted By  Beena Thomas








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