Violence against women and HIV/AIDS

| August 24, 2015

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This week’s story from Tanzania focuses on domestic abuse. Our Script of the week makes the connections between violence against women, HIV, and AIDS.

Violence against women is extremely prevalent in all continents and countries. In many areas, close to 50% of women report having been the victims of violence.

Violence against women includes rape, coerced sex, and physical and sexual abuse, as well as harmful traditional practices such as female genital cutting (also called female genital mutilation) and forced early marriage.

These kinds of violence increase women’s risk of HIV infection both directly through forced sex and indirectly by instilling fear. Fear limits the ability to negotiate the circumstances in which sex takes place, and the safe use of condoms. Violence has negative impacts on physical, psychological and social development.

Many women experience violence following disclosure of their HIV status, or even following an admission that they have sought HIV testing. This violence may interfere with a woman’s ability to access treatment or adhere to anti-retroviral drug treatment.

As the script points out, there is a strong relationship between violence against women and lack of respect for women’s rights, including the right to education, the right to express themselves, the right to own property, and the right to freedom of movement. Violence against women is fuelled and condoned by values which refuse to grant women these human rights.

To adapt this script for your local audience, you might want to interview representatives of local and national women’s groups on the air. You could also include a phone-in segment on your program.