Intersecting Oppressions Shape Experiences of IPV Faced by Women with Disabilities

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“The way we imagine discrimination or disempowerment often is more complicated for people who are subjected to multiple forms of exclusion. The good news is that intersectionality provides us a way to see it.” – Kimberlé Crenshaw

An intersectional approach to addressing intimate partner violence (IPV) requires a strong understanding of how various forms of oppression interweave and impact the lives of individuals.

This infographic shares how an intersectional approach to violence against women with disabilities requires exploring the ways sexism and ableism interact with further forms of oppression like colonialism and heteronormativity. *

Ableism is a set of discriminatory beliefs that positions individuals with disabilities as inferior. It can result in violence that occurs at multiple levels (e.g. individual, institutional, state).

Ableism and sexism intersect to distinctly affect women with disabilities:

More than half (55%) of women with disabilities report IPV compared to 37% of women without disabilities. 

Women with disabilities are over 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual abuse by an intimate partner than women without disabilities (18% compared to 7%).

Ableism and sexism also intersect with further forms of oppression that shape experiences of violence and compound marginalization:

  • Colonialism
  • Physical and sexual abuse before age 15
  • Heteronormativity and cisnormativity
  • Classism

Without intersectionality, we only get part of the picture and partial pictures limit us to partial responses for survivors.

Implement intersectional analysis into your work to best ensure that prevention efforts and service delivery meet the needs of survivors.


Savage, Laura. (2021). Intimate partner violence: Experiences of women with disabilities in Canada, 2018. Juristat Catalogue no. 85-002-X. Retrieved from

* The term disabilities in the listed source includes those that are sensory (hearing or visual); physical (flexibility, mobility, dexterity, pain); cognitive (developmental, learning, memory); and mental health-related.


This collection of Learning Network resources is designed to synthesize and disseminate knowledge on topics related to Gender-Based Violence (GBV). These resources provide foundational GBV knowledge including commonly used language, important gaps and emerging issues, recent research, and important educational tools and resources.

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