Male Dominance Has Led to World's Highest Rate of HIV in Swaziland
Experts are pointing to polygamy, rape, sexual violence, and legal exploitation as the main causes why Swaziland, an African country that borders South Africa, has the world's highest HIV infection rate (39 percent). Alan Brody, a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative, concluded that the quick spread of HIV/AIDS in the country is due to men’s dominance over women and their use of laws, religious, and customs to justify their dominance, reports the LA Times. The ten countries with the highest percentages of adults living with HIV/AIDS in the world are all in sub-Saharan Africa, where patriarchy is deeply rooted.
Swaziland’s King Mswati III reinforces traditional gender roles for women in his society by participating in a traditional dance of chastity, the “Reed Dance,” which is a meat market for men and a channel for AIDS. It is customary for Swazi monarchs to select new brides and concubines at the Reed Dance ceremony where hundreds of young women dance bare-chested. In 2002, King Mswati was accused of abducting18-year-old Zena Mahlangu to be his 12th bride during the annual Reed Dance ceremony in September.
Meanwhile, Ann Veneman, outgoing US Secretary of Agriculture, has been nominated by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to head UNICEF, an international organization that has been a long supporter of comprehensive reproductive health and sex education and has been a major advocate fighting against the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan African countries like Swaziland. At a recent press conference, Veneman stated that reproductive health and sex education are not relevant to the missions of UNICEF.
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .
10/29/2014 Georgia Court Refuses to Recognize 40K Voter Registrations From Primarily People of Color and Young People - A state court judge on Tuesday refused to order the Georgia Secretary of State to add some 40,000 voters to the voter rolls, potentially disenfranchising thousands of African Americans and other people of color in the state.
Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR), the New Georgia Project and the Georgia branch of the NAACP asking the court to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process an estimated 40,000 "missing" voter registrations.
More than 100,000 voters were registered by the three groups, but about a third of those registered never made the rolls. . . .