*Disclaimer: While all stories are true, names and faces have been changed. We use images from stock photographs that are licensed for this campaign. Any person depicted is a model.
Janis was locked up in a mental institution for five years. Just for being deaf.
When Janis arrived at her local hospital, there was no professional sign language interpreter to help her communicate her needs. The staff condemned her as dumb, deaf, and illiterate. She was then locked up in a psychiatric institution where she remained for five years.
It was only when a psychiatrist finally sought help from a professional sign language interpreter that it was revealed that Janis was able to communicate and was, in fact, free from mental illness. Following this shocking discovery, Janis was eventually released. For five years, Janis lost her basic human right to freedom.
Janis was denied her right to communicate with the people responsible for her care. She was abandoned in a psychiatric hospital – despite not having been diagnosed with any mental illness – with no way of asking or understanding of why she was there, isolated from anyone that could help her, and without hope. She lost five years of her life, because no one at the hospital even knew she was deaf and she had no means to communicate her needs and wishes. All over the world, deaf women like Janis are abused, ignored, silenced and excluded. Globally, it’s women who are more likely to endure prejudice, violence and isolation because they are deaf. They are prevented from learning sign language and so cannot communicate their needs. They are denied sign language interpreters, so cannot seek justice. As a result, too many women like Janis lose their most basic human rights — including their freedom.
Deaf people all over the world are suffering injustices. This is because society believes deaf people – and sign languages – are inferior and don’t deserve equal rights.
Your donation will change this. You can make sure no more women like Janis will be abused, ignored, excluded and silenced for being deaf.