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What price can you put on love? Love should come unconditional and priceless unless you have a disability.
For those one in five that have a disability in Australia, this is a very real issue. Of those with a disability, 45% of them live below the poverty line which is sometimes hard to fathom in a wealthy country like ours. And often their partners or carers are amongst those on the poverty line too.
Often the person with the disability feels dis-empowered to financially contribute to the relationship due to their low income and often high expenses associated with their disability. It takes a special kind of partner to acknowledge that in the first place.
People with disabilities are already bombarded by society’s assumption that they are not equal to their able-bodied partners and unable to pay half of the bills and rent makes it harder to ignore public perception. The lucky ones have a supportive partner but many (disproportionately high) are single due to their disability. For people who are already struggling, making them dependent on the goodwill of someone else is dangerous and leaves them with the very real possibility of being subject to forms of abuse. This is particularly true for women with disability.
A landmark report by Women with Disabilities Victoria into women with disabilities’ experience of violence in 2014 found that we are at least twice as likely to experience violence as women without disability, with 90 per cent of women with intellectual disability having experienced sexual abuse. Overseas studies have found that women with disabilities are 40 per cent more likely to be the victims of intimate partner violence at the five year point than women without disabilities; this increases to 85 per cent likelihood at the 10 year point. One of the main reasons for conflict is usually financial matters.
Money isn’t everything and it certainly can’t buy you love. But money can give you freedom, independence, choices and a lot more security.
Living with a disability is more expensive. There are health costs, transport costs and rent can be more expensive as it is hard to find accessible housing.
The sacrifices that are made by the able-bodied partner to share their life and love with a person with disability is huge. They are bonded by the love and focused on each other’s well being and relationship rather than the material things that money just can’t buy.