Our project

NO MEANS NO aims to empower women with disabilities to live a life without violence, through the means of feminist self-defence. The project brings together seven partner organisations from Belgium, France, Germany and Poland.

Living at the intersection of sexism and ableism, women with disabilities are more often confronted with violence and discrimination than the general female population or men with disabilities. They report abuse that, on average, lasts longer and is more harmful than violence directed against other groups. Their access to support and protection is often fraught with obstacles, including professionals lacking specialist knowledge and, in the case of intimate partner violence, the victim’s dependency on the perpetrator. When women with disabilities report their experiences to the police, they are twice as likely as other women to receive unsatisfactory help. And in spite of all this, they resist violence and discrimination, often successfully.

NO MEANS NO strives to make the individual and collective resources and resistance of women with disabilities visible and to strengthen them. Over the span of two years (January 2020 – December 2021), we will take action in four fields:

  • More than 30 feminist self-defence trainers – with varied levels of ability – receive training on working with women with all types of disabilities. Lydia la Rivière Zijdel, an internationally acclaimed martial artist, self-defence trainer and disability activist, will share her experience and knowhow in five training modules.
  • The self-defence trainers organise, from June 2020 on, workshops for women with disabilities in their communities. These workshops can be proposed to disability organisations and to specific target groups, such as women with physical disabilities and chronic diseases, women with learning disabilities, women with hearing impairments and women with visual impairments. In total, we aim to train more than 800 women with disabilities.
  • To reach out to women with disabilities who cannot participate in the workshops, four formats of a safety guide are produced: a print version in Easy to read format, a video with sign language interpretation and subtitles, a screenreader accessible online version and an audiodescription. Each format will be available in four languages, respectively five sign languages. You can help us making these guides relevant to women with disabilities by sharing your success stories.
  • In order to raise awareness of violence against women with disabilities, the project partners organise events and activities throughout the project. Consult our agenda to see if there are any events near you.