Violence against women and HIV/AIDS

    | November 25, 2013

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    Violence against women includes rape and coerced sex, physical and sexual abuse, and harmful traditional practices such as female genital cutting 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, which limits a woman’s ability to negotiate the circumstances in which sex takes place and the use of condoms. Violence has negative impacts on physical, psychological and social development.

    Many women report experiences of violence following disclosure of their HIV status, or even following admission that HIV testing has been sought. This violence may interfere with a woman’s ability to access treatment and care, or to adhere to anti-retroviral drug (ARV) treatments. Some men even help themselves to their partners’ ARV treatments.

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

    As this script points out, there is a strong relationship between violence against women and lack of respect for women’s rights, such as the right to education, the right to self-expression, 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, perhaps including a phone-in segment of the program. In 1999, the United Nations designated November 25 as the Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. You might want to have a series of programs connected with this event.