|Young Women: Silence, Suspectibility and the HIV Epidemic (UNDP, 10 p.)|
For women throughout the world, safety, that is, freedom from physical, sexual, verbal, psychological and other forms of violence, is an issue that dominates all others in their lives. The data on the extent of violence to women is quite appalling39 but little known or acknowledged.
Abuse in the childhood or early adult lives of young women leads to low self-esteem, little ability for self-assertion and the probability of increased abuse by others, all factors which have been shown to increase the likelihood of HIV infection. In men, childhood abuse also leads to low self esteem and to an increased likelihood of their abusing others39.
New women's crisis initiatives exist in at least 35 developing countries40. All of these are dependent on external support agencies for their financing. It is vitally important to support and expand programmes to lessen violence to women and to provide refuges for abused women. This can become a significant role for external support agencies.