Shared Vision Sacramento – Ensuring Freedom and Independence

A record number of people are expected to be traveling over the 4th of July holiday, be it by car, plane or rail. Maybe that trip is just across town or maybe it’s across the country, but having the freedom to travel when and where we want is something to be treasured. For people with vision loss who are living in abusive situations, such freedom and independence is out of reach.

A little over a year ago, Society for the Blind and WEAVE, Inc. – the Sacramento region’s leading agency serving people experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, partnered on a federal grant through the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW). We were awarded the grant to establish a model for providing services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.  No such model exists in the United States, and yet people who are blind or have low vision are 2.5 times more likely to be abused or assaulted. 

Last month, Brandie Kubel, an instructor at Society for the Blind, and I presented a national webinar for the OVW. More than 455 people from across the U.S. participated in the webinar.  Brandie and I shared information about unique challenges faced by people with vision loss who are with an abusive spouse or partner, and we discussed ways to support and assist them in finding and accessing the help they seek.

Executive Director Shari Roeseler and Instructor Brandie Kubel
Executive Director Shari Roeseler and Instructor Brandie Kubel

Some of the common ways people with vision loss are abused include physical violence or having their white canes, bank cards and/or medications withheld or hidden from them. Sometimes abusers disable or manipulate the person’s smart phone so they can track their movements. Leaving is significantly more challenging because the person is not able to drive or easily flee the abuser.

In the coming months, WEAVE and Society for the Blind will be outlining our plan to create the model, cross-train our staff, and develop a process to help other blindness agencies and domestic violence agencies create partnerships.

Shared Vision Sacramento is committed to ending abuse and giving survivors who are blind or low vision the freedom and independence to live their lives to their fullest potential.