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INTERSECTION OF HIV AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN & GIRLS

DOMESTIC SEXUAL COMPLIANCE

“Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle."

- Alexander Solzhenitsyn

We hear a lot about sexual abstinence until marriage as the “only” protection from HIV infection but for many women, marriage is the highest risk behavior in which they can participate. Sadly, in many cultures there is no education to suggest such a thing and in many cultures, women live in fear of violence and cannot negotiate for protected sex. Sexual non-compliance is unthinkable. A condom request can be perceived as an admission of adultery. An HIV positive woman is accused of being the one who brought the disgrace to the family. She can be thrown out, stoned, or punished at the discretion of the “dishonoured” husband’s family. The woman is always blamed. In such societies, it is also possible that the death of a husband leaves the wife vulnerable to the sexual or marital desires of other male members of the husband’s family.


Domestic Violence is usually disguised & difficult to speak about

Women without rights often are subject to violent sex, which creates added receptivity to HIV because of internal abrasions, fissures and ruptures. In some cultures, forced anal sex, which is a highly risky vector for HIV, is used in order to avoid pregnancy. HIV often follows and spreads from trucking routes as truck drivers have sex with prostitutes, bringing the disease home with them. The same is true of men who leave the villages to work in the cities.

"The violence of love is as much to be dreaded as that of hate"
- Henry David Thoreau