University of Sussex
Campbell Nee Kallay, Agnes Adama.pdf (3.53 MB)

Gambian women, violence and its intersection with HIV/AIDS: agency through feminist participatory research

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posted on 2023-06-09, 11:29 authored by Agnes Adama Campbell Nee Kallay
Research has identified a strong correlation between HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence, yet few studies centre the experiential knowledge of HIV sero-positive women and practitioners. This thesis, based on fieldwork conducted in the Gambia, is grounded in data on HIV positive women’s experiences of violence and practices of resistance, revealing context specific complexities and challenges. Data collection methods included diaries, focus groups and in-depth individual interviews with a participant group of sixty sero-positive women in six Gambian HIV Support Societies, and twenty field practitioners working in the areas of violence and HIV/AIDS. I argue in this thesis that there are intersecting underlying factors (patriarchy, gerontocracy and structural violence) that contribute to women’s experiences of violence and abuse that render them vulnerable to HIV. In addition, that alongside the more visible gendered violences which intersect with HIV/AIDS. Accounts of women living with HIV revealed that stigma is discreditable and discredited attributes. It contends that stigma should be seen as an ‘everyday’ practice of normalised violence, which has very harmful emotional, psychological, economic and physical effects. The research also suggests that violence against women in the context of HIV is not limited solely to male perpetrators. In the Gambia there has been limited success in the translation of women’s rights agendas into concrete and effective interventions, partly due to a lack of attention to socio-cultural context and the lived experiences of HIV positive women. The thesis concludes that culturally specific, integrated health and social justice approaches are necessary, which are grounded in women’s everyday practices of agency and resistance, and which in particular address the fear of dethronement (loss of power, privileges and prestige) amongst men and older members of society.


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