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Violence promotes spread of HIV

This assertion comes as reported cases of domestic violence increased from 3 193 in 2009 to 7 628 in 2010.
At least 2 536 cases were reported in the first quarter of this year.

Lindiwe Ndebele, a senior official with Musasa Project, said domestic violence was a catalyst in the spread of HIV.
“Domestic violence comes in many forms, one of which is sexual abuse in the homes,” Ndebele said.

“Sexual abuse is when someone forces themselves on the other person through the use of physical assault or threats.”
Musasa Project is an organisation that works towards ending gender-based violence (GBV) in the country.

Ndebele said in most cases of domestic violence, men became extremely violent forcing their wives to have sex with them.
The women are often powerless and cannot negotiate for the use of protection, she said.

“This then means there is a high risk of HIV transmission or re-infection if one of the two or both are already HIV-positive,” said Ndebele.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) also says violence against women plays a crucial and devastating role in increasing the risk of women to HIV infection.

It says that circumstances underlying the correlation between violence against women and HIV were a complex weave of social, cultural and biological conditions.

Ndebele said domestic violence was the most prevalent form of gender-based violence (GBV) in the country.
“Among all other forms of gender-based violence, domestic violence is the most prevalent,” she said.

“This is because it mostly takes place in homes and in most cases, it goes unreported.”
Ndebele said even society tended to turn a blind eye to the matter.

“One would find that a woman can be beaten to death by her husband, even when there are people in the community where they stay,” she said. “People tend to turn a blind eye and say the matter is between the couple in their home.”

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