Preventing sexual violence against young women from African backgrounds

Prof. Donna Chung, Prof. Colleen Fisher, Dr. Carole Zufferey & Dr. Ravi K Thiara
Australian Institute of Criminology
Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice No. 540, June 2018

This study explored how young women from African refugee and migrant backgrounds understand and experience sexual coercion and violence.

Data was gathered from young women from African backgrounds and a wide range of agencies in two Australian states, Western Australia and South Australia, to better understand the extent of their awareness of and concern about sexual coercion and assault and document how agencies respond to these issues.

The paper concludes it is necessary to improve policy, practice, professional development and training to better respond to the sexual violence experienced by these young women, and raise awareness of the issue in their communities in a culturally sensitive way.

Exploring HIV risks, testing and prevention among sub-Saharan African community members in Australia

International Journal for Equity in Health, 2018, 17:62

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-018-0772-6

Abstract

Background

Significant health disparities persist regarding new and late HIV diagnoses among sub-Saharan African (SSA) communities in Australia. Personal/cultural beliefs and practices influence HIV (risk, prevention, testing) within Australia and during visits to home countries.

Method

A community forum was conducted involving 23 male and female adult African community workers, members and leaders, and health workers; facilitated by cultural workers and an experienced clinician/researcher. The forum comprised small/large group discussions regarding HIV risk/prevention (responses transcribed verbatim; utilising thematic analysis).

Results

Stigma, denial, social norms, tradition and culture permeated perceptions/beliefs regarding HIV testing, prevention and transmission among African Australians, particularly regarding return travel to home countries.

Conclusions

International travel as a risk factor for HIV acquisition requires further examination, as does the role of the doctor in HIV testing and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Further assessment of PrEP as an appropriate/feasible intervention is needed, with careful attention regarding negative community perceptions and potential impacts.

The ‘revolutionary’ programs giving hope to LGBT domestic violence survivors

Updated 

Studies show people in same-sex relationships experience domestic violence at similar — and possibly higher — rates as opposite-sex couples.

But until recently survivors have suffered in silence and worse, been ignored and misunderstood by the health professionals and police who are supposed to help them, because of the persistent stigma and shame surrounding LGBT abuse and misconceptions that especially lesbian couples are immune from it.

Study on mental health impacts of anti-gay religious prejudice should be a ‘wake-up call’ for faith leaders

ABC, 19th October 2017

Faith leaders who insist same-sex couples should not be able to marry — even those who also promote love and support for LGB people — may be causing serious harm to the mental health of LGB individuals, the author of a new study on the impacts of religious anti-gay prejudice has said.

In the new study, published this week in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, researchers from Macquarie University found both LGB and heterosexual people who were exposed to even subtle religious anti-gay prejudice, such as disapproval of same-sexuality among religious groups, displayed higher levels of stress, shame, depression and anxiety.

 

HIV infections in NSW have fallen to their lowest levels — except for one group of people

news.com.au, August 29, 2017

Many people born overseas seem oblivious to efforts to stamp out HIV in Australia. Marco Matillano, an Australian of Filipino descent who has had his own brush with HIV, thinks he know at least part of the answer — bashfulness when it comes to sex.

He said there’s an unwillingness for friends, family — and even people themselves — to discuss sexual health and there remains a lingering “shame” in some Asian people of being honest about becoming infected. This in turn discourages them from seeking out information on HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus.

Mr Matillano said information on the virus should be in different languages, be targeted more directly at Asian-Australians and not be judgmental or lecturing, as they get enough of that at home.

Shame, secrecy and silence hobble migrant women’s sexual health, new research suggests

Sydney Morning Herald, August 5th 2017

Shame, secrecy, silence and fear were keeping many new migrant women in the dark about their own sexual and reproductive health, found a recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Cultural and religious beliefs were major barriers to many women accessing health services, warned the researchers who held focus groups with 169 single, married, divorced and widowed women who arrived in Australia or Canada from Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, India and Latin America within the past six years.