Women Speak Out Against HIV Criminalization at Advocacy Conference
June 3, 2014
Two HIV-positive women who faced prosecution under HIV criminalization statutes focused on criminalization's effects on women at the HIV Is Not a Crime Conference. Tiffany Moore of Nashville, Tennessee, and Monique Moree of Summerville, South Carolina, opened their panel with a short snippet from the film, "Positive Women: Exposing Injustice." Filmed and produced in Canada, it features stories from women living with HIV in Canada and advocates for HIV-positive women's rights.
Monique Moree introduced herself as an advocate and author, while Tiffany Moore identified as the proud HIV-positive mother of a 4-month-old HIV-negative daughter. Moore shared that, when she was 15 years old, she was forced into the sex trade. And then at 19, after she was raped by men whose intent was to transmit HIV, Moore was charged with aggravated prostitution and forced to register as a sex offender alongside the men who raped her. "I don't understand how being HIV positive puts me in the same category as a child molester," Moore said.
Moree emphasized that women with HIV can often be held in abusive relationships and have no means of getting out. "We need laws to protect women. My kids could've been taken away from me," she said.
"It keeps women in a violent cycle," said Moore. Each woman was then asked to give one word that summed up her approach to activism. "Voice," said Moree. "Truth," said Moore. The two women were given a standing ovation before leaving the stage.
Mathew Rodriguez is the community editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
Follow Mathew on Twitter: @mathewrodriguez.
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