The First Ever U.S. "Day of Action to End Violence Against Women With HIV," in Images and Words
November 26, 2014
Seeking to "break the culture of violence against women with HIV and all women," the Positive Women's Network of the USA (PWN-USA) joined a dozen endorsing groups to sponsor the first-ever National Day of Action to End Violence Against Women with HIV on Oct. 23, 2014.
And in the meantime, here's a look at the day through words and images from PWN-USA leaders and allies:
I am no longer taking responsibility for your abuse. It's not my fault.
-- Jay Blount, Co-Chair, PWN-USA-San Diego
Our lives matter! Women living with HIV are the strongest women I know, determined to survive. What has happened to so many of us in the past drags us under the surf and drowns us ... help a sister out. Trauma-informed care, programs that identify PTSD and IPV, economic justice and protecting the rights of ALL women can change the world and MUST be a part of every program or funding opportunity.
-- Barb Cardell, Co-Chair, PWN-USA-Colorado
I have experienced domestic violence firsthand. I made the violence normal; I blamed myself for everything that happened, until I found someone who had the same experiences, who showed me where to get help. I have walked in the shoes of women survivors of violence; when they look at me and see the advocacy I'm doing now, they might think, "Maybe I can do helpful things for someone else, too."
-- LaDonna Boyens, Co-Chair, PWN-USA-Philadelphia
Women should be loved not hurt for disclosing their HIV status! I feel that sharing my status is the best APHRODISIAC there is. Being loved/in love should never hurt!!!!
-- Naimah Oneal, Co-Chair, PWN-USA-Ohio
I know a couple of women that have been violently beaten on dates with men once they disclosed their HIV status. One of these women was hospitalized from the beating; both women had undetectable viral loads, which studies show means they had virtually zero chance of transmitting the virus. Women who are with a partner that abuses them may feel stuck in the relationship for fear of having to disclose their status to possible new partners. HIV stigma and criminalization laws contribute to an environment that devalues the lives of women with HIV and puts us at risk of violence -- or even murder, like the recent case of Elisha Henson in Texas.
-- Olga Irwin, Outreach Coordinator, PWN-USA-Ohio
I have high hopes that we will succeed in shedding light on one of America's dirtiest behind-closed-doors secrets. Intimate partner violence (IPV) is not just a problem affecting resource-limited countries. It is a significant problem also in one of the richest, most scientifically developed countries with the best doctors and antiretroviral treatments in the world. The Bay Area of California will call out, and remember out loud, the names of women, including transgender women, that we have laughed and cried with through many seasons, whose lives were cut short by the violence within their homes, and who could not be saved by medication alone.
-- Loren Jones, Co-Founder, PWN-USA-Bay Area
Julie "JD" Davids is the managing editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
Follow JD on Twitter: @JDAtTheBody.
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