Families of persons with Short Stature faces and experiences various challenges physically, socially and economically, but above of others, they are emotionally burdened and reads to deep sadness, depression, stress, stigma, anger, loneliness and discrimination from the society and their family members in general. That is why they need counselling so that they accept and fight for the right of their children and spouses with Short Stature.
It is said in the event prepared by Rwanda Union of Little People under the financial support of DRF/DRAF of counselling families (Parent or guardian) of Persons with Short Stature from Musanze and Nyamasheke districts and share the information related to sexual reproductive health right.
Parents/ guardians and spouses show that they face discrimination from their neighbors, families and society in general and it affect their family members who have disabilities because it makes them feel shame, burden and problems in the family.
“My daughter was always shame of her height and body shape. One day, she asked me why she is so short with those parts of her body. At that time, I didn’t know what to reply, but I told her that God created us differently. Some are short and others are tall, some are brown and others are black and white. Some are women while others are men. And I gave her an example that she is so short but fatty while I am toll but skinny. So, this moment, she knows that she has disability but also it is in the way of God’s creating. Simply, I make her understand that what important is that she has every part of the body and never understand people’s negative words toward her height”. A parent said.
“My daughter has Short Stature and I tried all my best to let her go to school. She was bullied by her colleagues saying that she is so short, she looks like baby, she cannot give birth and many other things that discourage her from going to school. When her little sister got married, she became jerous of her and she find a boyfriend who impregnated her just to know whether she can give birth as they told her that she is not as others. Now, she is a mother to a very beautiful daughter”. A mother to a daughter with Short Stature said.
BUNTUBWINANA M. Appoline, RULP Legal Representative said that it is okay to have short stature because it is God’s will, but it seems to be an issue in the society because “we experience stigma and discrimination”.
“Generally, society’s negative mindset toward persons with Short Stature is an issue that needs to be addressed as well because this is where we grow, get culture, friendship, raise thinking and everything happens from society. So, when they start to show you negatively that you are different, a burden or problem, unable, giving you negative names, etc; it become a problem. This is where bad believes and rumors started that they are half persons, cannot give birth, having sex with a Person with Short stature cure curse, back pain and HIV/AIDS which is wrong”. She added
For the spouses of persons with Short Stature, dating was not even a little easy because of the negative mindset of their families and society toward their fiances.
“My wife is with Short Stature. When I was dating her, no one supported me saying that she is a half person that we will never have kids but I neglected them. When I introduced her to my family, they asked me whether I am okay with my mind and I replied that I am fine. Rumors were said that she gave me money to marry her, but I was confident of her. I wanted a woman who will love me, bring peace and whom we will have a successful marriage. Today we are parents of a daughter and son and I love her so much as I see she is a person like others. I support her where she needs my support and it is vice versa. Simply, we love each other”. A partner of a woman with Short Stature said.
BUNTUBWIMANA concluded that parents/ guardians and spouses should be proud of their person who have Short Stature, show them love, let them go to school for children, giving them their related information at time, understanding their views and the family.
“Simply, let them have freedom, participation and independent in the family. Give them information related to sexual reproductive health and other advices as other children, support them, fight for their right and show personality as well. These will give you courage to end stigma into yourselves and discrimination from the surrounding society” She concluded.