(Musique + chalk noises)
Me, Isabelle, who am I? That’s a big question! Primarily I am a PhD student in community psychology, and a huge feminist for 6 years now. I’m really involved in the cause for women who experience disability. Aside from that, I am a lover of adventure, travel, I’ve always loved to go beyond my personal limits. As a woman with a disability sexuality and meeting other people has not always been simple for me. People consider us as disabled people and not as disabled women, as though we were asexual. In fact, the fact that we have a sexuality as a woman who experiences a disability is very, very taboo. At the level of society, people hardly talk about that, it’s not recognized, it’s even unpleasant for people, it shocks people. It’s really a shock for people to understand that, yes, we really can have a very blossoming sexuality.
I had my first sexual relationships very late. My first love and my first kiss, were… my first kiss was at 24 years old, whereas the majority of women have their first kiss at 12, 13, 14 years old… so that means that we arrive at an adult with less experience, less knowledge, and unfortunately it’s easier to live with different situations of abuse because we know sexuality less and we know our bodies less. We’re also, unfortunately… we have less self-esteem, so it’s more difficult to say what we like and what we don’t like. So, I find that it’s really difficult, the fact that we have less sexual experience, that they arrive later, that could bring abuse, unfortunately.
Often, when a person has a disability, people pass over the subject of female sexuality really fast. It’s placed to the side and definitely all aspects of enthusiastic consent, which is a pretty complex aspect, more complex than we think. Consent doesn’t just mean “yes” or “no”, it also means to be good with yourself, to be at ease with yourself and with another, to blossom, it’s not just to say “yes I want that.” At a given moment in a sexual act, it could be going too fast or too far and we can’t stop it in it’s tracks. But we can, at every stage and at any time of a sexual act we can really stop it in it’s tracks and say “That’s enough for me”.
When you have a physical disability like mine, your body is different and could have… in any case… for me what I have, I learned fast in my entrance into adult life, and in my life as a woman, that in knowing my body and its reactions that are unique to it, and that are its own, that I could have a real sexuality. In the knowledge of and in respecting my own body, that’s where I could have a sexuality. It’s by knowing myself, respecting myself and respecting my own body that I can live a sexuality. And I even think that it’s important to, in the first place, have a sexuality, with oneself before a sexuality with a partner. And so, that’s what I would like to say to all the women that have different types of disabilities, “have confidence in yourselves.” You have to have a strong enough self-esteem and find yourself beautiful enough to put your foot down and advocate for a beautiful sexuality. Because it’s not enough to have a sexuality, it has to be a beautiful, blossoming sexuality! And that’s what I want to say the most “Find yourselves magnificent!”, we’re all magnificent! We all have an incommensurable value, and we all have a body that is worth the trip. So carry your body with you, it’s beautiful, it’s pleasant, it’s different, and it’s in that difference that it’s magnificent, we’re all different and it’s because of that that people will love you.
These video have been produced by FQPN and realised by Rozen Potin. Responsible for the project: Charli Lessard and Aimee Louw. With the participation of Isabelle, Caroline and Hodan. Translation: Aimee Louw