Twelve-year-old Malisa shares her story on disability and violence.

Malisa, a 12-year-old with hearing disability shares her encounter and story on how she escaped from being violated when she applied what she learnt from “ME Circle and the No, Go, Tell My Safety Network”. ME Circle teaches about boundaries, which belongs to the individual and it is their responsibility to ensure that no one comes into their circle (close to their body) without their permission. If anyone goes into their ME Circle without their permission than they will say NO, GO and TELL an adult they trust. Tell My Safety Network encourages the individual to tell their problem or issue to someone they trust.

One day, I was in a cab on my way back home from school in Lautoka, Fiji. Instead of taking me back home, the cab driver took me to a deserted house and left me there alone. I asked myself why someone would take to a deserted area. From what I learned in RFHAF, I knew that something was not right and I knew I had to act on it immediately. I remembered what I learned during my session at “ME Circle and the NO, GO, Tell My Safety Network”.

I made my escape, ran towards the highway, flagged down a passing taxi, and asked the driver to take me to Lautoka police station. Inside the police station, writing on a piece of paper, I asked the police to find my teacher (the person I trust from My Safety Network) so that I could relate to her what happened to me.

I have never been so scared in my life and I am thankful to my teacher and the volunteer educator from RFHAF for teaching the steps to take during this kind of situation, eventually saving my life.

I would like to thank originations like RFHAF for educating people with disabilities on CSE, SRHR and the possibility of encountering violence. It saved my life and I am certain it will save a lot of other people with disability in such situations.

We hope that this story will help raise awareness on people with disabilities (PWD) who are more prone to violence and how comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) plays an essential role in increasing their capacity to protect themselves.

 RFHAF partnered with the Ministry of Education of Fiji and the Fiji Western Disability Association to implement a project which provides CSE to children with special needs. This program is designed to help PWDs to come up with informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).