Zim: Raped by my father and tested HIV Positive

Zim: Raped by my father and tested HIV Positive

Date: December 2, 2019
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By Faith N Tori

Matabeland North-Zimbabwe “My mother watched helplessly as my father coerced me in his sexual advances ,take off your clothes now he would aggressively demand .l will chop off your head with that spear(pointing to the spear which lay next to my mother),said Ntando.
Ntando 21, (not her real name) is a victim to Gender Based Violence together with her mother Ntombikayise (43) who were cowed into giving in with threats of being speared to death. Ntando was raped for six consecutive years and demanded she comes back every three days to have sexual intercourse with his father after she got married.
“I was raped by my father for six consecutive years in the sight of my mother who could not do anything because the animal my father had become was threatening to kill us if information about his sexual abuse ever came out” she said.
“Even after l got married ,he demanded that l come after every 3 days .At times when l would not go he would come and take me forcibly when my husband was there but l was silent because l feared for my life and my mother ‘s ,said Ntando.
“I got pregnant and my father was responsible for the pregnancy .Months later l fell sick went to the hospital and l was tested HIV Positive .I cursed the day l was born for l knew that my father had transmitted the virus to me, for he was on Antiretroviral Treatment .The matter came to light when l narrated the story to other villagers leading to the arrest of the serial rapist” ,said Ntando. Gender Based Violence contributes through multiple pathways to the rise in HIV prevalence among women and girls. The risk of contracting HIV is up to three times greater for women who have been abused than for women who have not. This is likely due to the aggressive nature of abusive sex ,which creates more opportunities for transmission and because abusive men are likely to engage in high risk behaviors including having multiple partners and sex without protection.
Matebeland North-Victoria Falls (Truck in Stop) She shakes her head and reveals her lewd yellow thighs to the pot-bellied truck driver who initiates to take a rest from a long journey .A hooter sounds and she walks towards the truck driver. Most sex workers are physically abused and raped by their clients. Oftenly, beaten up and dumped in the middle of nowhere and this endangers them. Mandipa (30) is a victim of sexual and physical abuse and she had this to say.
“In 2018 l was raped ,tortured and dumped in a bush in Matetsi where it’s a high zone for wildlife .I was at Victoria Falls truck stop and met a client who asked for my services, l went into his and seat on his bed in the truck and started talking on prices ,l highlighted that the price for using condoms was $10 cash and without condom was twice and he agreed then we drove for 10kms and stopped by the road side and he started to remove my clothes but l resisted and demanded he pays first but he became angry and started calling me with names and he locked the doors and raped me, she said.
“He did not use any condom and he was so aggressive and started beating me and then threw me outside his truck in a bush naked during midnight ,l tried to stop cars passing but no one could stop, said Mandipa.
“Sex work comes with so many challenges ,psychological ,rape and physical abuse .l have scars in my body (pointing around her neck),l do not see myself leaving this job because l am a breadwinner for my family ”, she said.
Unwanted pregnancy and STIs resulting from rape can lead to serious reproductive health threats for girls and young women. Additionally, despite great progress in reducing HIV prevalence in recent years, Zimbabwe remains one country heavily burdened with HIV with an adult prevalence of 15% (National Aids Council).
Preliminary results from modes of transmission study show nearly 4000 new HIV a year among female sex workers (with a prevalence of 57.1%) and 2000 new infections among men who have sex with sex (MSM) had a prevalence of 23.5%.
HIV prevalence among the wider communities has been linked to risks associated with forced sex ,a gender related consideration .People with disabilities are twice as likely to self-report having HIV as those without disability(Zimbabwe National HIV and AIDS Strategic plan(20152020) and order to mitigate the risk of sexual violence ,disabled women need to have greater independence. The violence on disabled women has a debilitating physical and emotional effect.
Zimbabwe has one highest HIV prevalence at 15.2% among adults aged 15 to 49 by 2018 (17.7% among females and 12.5% among males).Among prisoners ,HIV is estimated at 28% in 2015 with (28% male detainees and 39% female detainees).
Matebeland North-(Jambezi Township). Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in particular experience dramatically disproportionate burden and risk factors in Gender Based Violence relationships.17.1% women aged (15-19) who had sex in the last year did with a partner older than them. Further 41% girls report sexual debut before 18 years however exposing themselves to HIV.
In a Community dialogue and Focus group discussion in Jambezi, girls and young women highlighted that their peers dropped out of school due to pregnancy and early marriage.
“Some of my friends were married off last month and have not been able to sit for their final examination because of pregnancy. A friend was forced by his parents to get married to a older men because he has a lot of livestock ,said Sipho.
In a separate interview women lamented that they fear contracting HIV from their partners because of their behavior and refusal to get tested.
“My husband drinks alcohol and when he gets homes ,he demands sexual intercourse and when l refuse he says am depriving him of his right ,however its just not easy because he is reckless with his life ,he has so many girlfriends ,if only policy makers would help us put a law in place so that our husbands do not hinder our freedom, said a woman identified as MaDube.

A gender responsive approach is critical in addressing issues of HIV/AIDS and dealing with the epidemic in Zimbabwe where gender inequality is a key driver of HIV transmission and gender based violence.

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