Afr J AIDS Res. 2017 Sep;16(3):193-202. doi: 10.2989/16085906.2017.1349682.
Delivering culturally sensitive, sexual health education in western Kenya: a phenomenological case study.
While generic programmes have been created to raise sexual health awareness, these cannot always be applied to communities whose cultures and circumstances make them especially vulnerable to infection. Taking a phenomenological approach, this paper examines the circumstances of the Gusii people of Kisii, Kenya, and examines the specific challenges of providing sexual health education to the community as experienced by an ethnic Gusii woman, Joyce Ombasa. Joyce’s story reveals that the Gusii living in and around rural villages have several cultural characteristics that make them susceptible to HIV/AIDS and that render community health education problematic, especially if offered by a female educator of the same ethnicity. Women cannot teach men. Discussions of sex and condom use, and viewing the naked bodies of the opposite sex are taboo. Promiscuity is commonplace and there is a reluctance to use condoms and to undergo HIV testing. Female circumcision persists and there is a high rate of sexual violence, incest and intergenerational sexual intercourse. In addition, government policies and legislation threaten to exacerbate some of the sexually risky behaviours. Bringing HIV education and female empowerment to the rural Gusii requires a culturally sensitive approach, discarding sexual abstinence messages in favour of harm minimisation, including the promotion of condom use, regular HIV testing and the rejection of female circumcision and intergenerational sex. Trust needs to be built through tactics such as adopting a complex and fluid outsider identity and replacing formal sex education with training in income generating skills and casual discussions regarding condoms and sexual health.
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Qual Health Res. 2017 Oct;27(12):1828-1841. doi: 10.1177/1049732317720423. Epub 2017 Aug 2.
Powerlessness, Normalization, and Resistance: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of Women’s Narratives On Obstetric Fistula in Eastern Sudan.
Hamed S, Ahlberg BM, Trenholm J.
Eastern Sudan has high prevalence of female circumcision and child marriage constituting a risk for developing obstetric fistula. Few studies have examined gender roles’ relation with obstetric fistula in Sudan. To explore the associated power-relations that may put women at increased risk for developing obstetric fistula, we conducted nine interviews with women living with obstetric fistula in Kassala in eastern Sudan. Using a Foucauldian discourse analysis, we identified three discourses: powerlessness, normalization, and covert resistance. Existing power-relations between the women and other societal members revealed their internalization of social norms as absolute truth, and influenced their status and decision-making power in regard to circumcision, early marriage, and other transformative decisions as well as women’s general behaviors. The women showed subtle resistance to these norms and the harassment they encountered because of their fistula. These findings suggest that a more in-depth contextual assessment could benefit future maternal health interventions.
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Reprod Health. 2017 May 12;14(1):59. doi: 10.1186/s12978-017-0322-5.
Gender equality and human rights approaches to female genital mutilation: a review of international human rights norms and standards
Khosla R, Banerjee J, Chou D, Say L, Fried ST
Two hundred million girls and women in the world are estimated to have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), and another 15 million girls are at risk of experiencing it by 2020 in high prevalence countries (UNICEF, 2016. Female genital mutilation/cutting: a global concern. 2016). Despite decades of concerted efforts to eradicate or abandon the practice, and the increased need for clear guidance on the treatment and care of women who have undergone FGM, present efforts have not yet been able to effectively curb the number of women and girls subjected to this practice (UNICEF. Female genital mutilation/cutting: a statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change. 2013), nor are they sufficient to respond to health needs of millions of women and girls living with FGM. International efforts to address FGM have thus far focused primarily on preventing the practice, with less attention to treating associated health complications, caring for survivors, and engaging health care providers as key stakeholders. Recognizing this imperative, WHO developed guidelines on management of health complications of FGM. In this paper, based on foundational research for the development of WHO’s guidelines, we situate the practice of FGM as a rights violation in the context of international and national policy and efforts, and explore the role of health providers in upholding health-related human rights of women at girls who are survivors, or who are at risk. Findings are based on a literature review of relevant international human rights treaties and UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies.
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