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INTERSECTION OF HIV AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN & GIRLS

RAPE

"As long as there is rape... there is not going to be any peace or justice or equality or freedom. You are not going to become what you want to become or who you want to become. You are not going to live in the world you want to live in."


- Andrea Dworkin

Rape runs rampant between strangers and intimates. It happens in public parks, private homes, on dates, in marriage and in prisons. Young women and even baby girls are not spared. The greater the rate of HIV, the greater the odds of transmission, particularly in countries where the rate of HIV/AIDS is out of control or where myths exist such as those that wrongly assert that sex with a virgin can cure disease.

Rape is a tactic of war. Women are often thought by conquerors to be the rightful spoils of conquest. Sometimes the rapes are meant to demoralize, dehumanize or terrorize. In other cases the rapes are considered an instrument of ethnic cleansing. Serb soldiers raped Muslim women, Hutu soldiers Tutsi women. In rape’s wake women are left devastated. To add to their burden the weight of infection is almost inconceivable and though we still know little about this crossover, this is the way of war. To further add insult to injury and infection, in some cultures and religions the women are blamed for their rape and their husbands and families abandon them. In post conflict zones a new kind of rape occurs, The rape of the spirit, as women are forced to commodify themselves by trading sex for basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and other things that are necessary to keep a family together.


Women discussing rape in Cairo
(Center) Perveen Ali -- AMER UK