Stigma of Victims of Sexual Violence ’ s in Armed Conflicts: Another Factor in the Spread of the HIV Epidemic?
Omba Kalonda Jean Claude*, Kittel France and Piette Danielle
School of Public Health, Research Center: Social Approaches to Health, Université Libre de Bruxelles, CP 596 - Road Lennick, 808, 1070 Brussels, Belgium
- *Corresponding Author:
- Omba Kalonda Jean Claude
School of Public Health
Research Center: Social Approaches to Health
Université Libre de Bruxelles
CP 596 - Road Lennick
808, 1070 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: 32 2 555 40 83
Fax: 32 2 555 40 49
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: February 25, 2013; Accepted date: June 25, 2013; Published date: June 27, 2013
Citation: Jean Claude OK, France K, Danielle P (2013) Stigma of Victims of Sexual Violence’s in Armed Conflicts: Another Factor in the Spread of the HIV Epidemic? Epidemiol 3:124. doi:10.4172/2161-1165.1000124
Copyright: © 2013 Jean Claude OK, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Sub-Saharan Africa most affected by armed conflict and sexual violenceused as weapon of war. This area continues to record more new infections of HIV/AIDS. Among these conflicts, the Democratic Republic of Congo is deadliest since World War II, it caused more than 5, 4 million victims, more than 1, 80 million women and girls have been sexually abused. Beyond the cruelty of rape and its consequences, the victims are stigmatized and rejected by their families and communities. Wanting to escape the stigma and discrimination, the majority of victims do not report violence against forgoing preventive and curative care. Our study shows that Stigma and discrimination of victims of sexual violence are associated with the perception of rape and rigid social norms to the detriment of women, the fear of contagion to sexually transmitted infections, as well as shame and guilt families and communities. These factors increase the vulnerability of victims; exacerbate the consequences of sexual violence by isolating and denying care and social support. They could promote the silent spread of the AIDS epidemic. This analysis suggests the need for an effective fight against stigma. It involves: i) advocacy, communication and social mobilization at the community, ii) training of medical staff including traditional healers to support victims, iii) strengthening the capacity and resources of the health system, and iv) promoting of change in society through the adoption of sound social values and the emancipation of women.