|Young Women: Silence, Suspectibility and the HIV Epidemic (UNDP, 10 p.)|
The urgency of the situation may well necessitate the use of sanctions. In this respect the law can be used as an agent of social change. For example, the introduction and enforcement of laws in Southern Africa requiring men to provide financial support to all children they father, whether within marriage or outside it, has led to a significant decrease in the number of such children.
Laws against rape and incest and family law relating to the age of marriage or divorce have been less successful where there have not been concurrent changes in social and cultural values. Communities must therefore accept and decide to enforce such laws and place pressure on their members to change.
In Uganda, recent changes in governmental and community attitudes brought about by the epidemic have led to military courts trying soldiers for rape, legal services being expanded for women who have been sexually abused, vigorous reporting by the media of sexual abuse in schools and teachers being sacked for unacceptable sexual behaviour38.