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regional overview: Linking sexual violence and HIV/AIDS
Lunga, SAFAIDS Executive Director
May 17, 2005
the Kubatana.net report on the forum
was made at The Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination
Service (SAfAIDS), Girl Child Network (GCN) and the Women's Action
Group (WAG) public forum on May 17, 2005. The forum was meant to
assess, plan and map the way forward in dealing with the ongoing
increase in girl child sexual abuse in Zimbabwe.
Violence and Human Rights
violence is a violation of fundamental human rights and has
a profound long term impact on physical, mental, social and
economic well being of women and girls.
violence involve the violation of their rights to dignity, sexual
and reproductive choices.
Sexual Violence and HIV/AIDS
violence plays a crucial and devastating role in increasing
the risk and vulnerability of women to HIV infection.
violence is both a cause and consequence of HIV infection.
pushing sexual violence and HIV infection
A region pervaded by a culture of sexual violence
- Some erroneous
traditional beliefs- perpetuate the spread of HIV, some dictate
that having sex with a virgin cures HIV; leading to child sexual
power in sexual relationships - create an environment of risky
sexual behaviour of HIV infection.
- Girl child
sexual abuse, politically instigated and other forms of rape
and sexual coercion often carried out without use of condom.
indicators of progress in promoting women's rights, the dismal
record in preventing abuse persists. Violence still pervades
society, with the region recording some of the highest rates
of rape in the world.
Africa is confronted with two epidemics HIV/AIDS and gender
based violence.The region has both the highest HIV infection
and sexual abuse rates globally.
- A rape
happens every 26 seconds.
- Rape is
so rampant that it has earned the status the "rape capital"
of the world.
- A woman
born in SA has a greater chance of being rapped than learning
how to read.
- 80% of
the victims are 12 years or younger.
- One in
four women face the prospect of being raped in their lifetime.
- In Namibia
a woman/girl is raped every 60 seconds.
- Since independence
incidence of sexual assault cases has increased by an alarming
the Namibian Government the youngest rape victim is 6 months
old, the oldest being 85 years old.
- 1 in 4
women report having experienced sexual violence.
- 60% of
murder cases are related to domestic violence.
- In Harare
a study at a sexual abuse project showed that 12% of the 13-16
year olds tested HIV positive.
- 95 % of
rape perpetrators are remanded out of custody and there is an
evident breakdown of victim-friendly courts.
- 14 girls
were raped and 28 indecently assaulted recently at Macheke Primary
School. Some of these are already feared to be HIV positive.
- In Botswana
statistics that at least 34 women and girls are assaulted every
- Of these
reports 60% of these are children under the age of 16. In a
country with a population of 1 million this figure is very high.
Botswana says most cases that have come to the courts directly
point to activities by traditional healers and are courtesy
to the myth that having sex with a virgin cures HIV.
from Swaziland indicate that in a year when 243 men were charged
only 35 were convicted .... Phumelele Thwala (1996) wrote "judges
will say that women tend to be over-imaginative and accuse men
unjustly or fabricate charges against men.
official in Botswana and Malawi have declared that husbands
"cannot rape" their wives as consent to sex is given
issues needing attention at this forum:
- How do
we avoid the repetition of cases like "Macheke"?
- Come up
with a plan of action to empower Girls and Women.
- While we
agree that there is a silent war going against women and girls.How
do we create a social movement against sexual abuse?
- How do
we create a supportive judicial system?
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