From the front line – the impact of social, legal and judicial impediments to sexual health promotion, care and support

Published: August 1, 2008

From the front line – the impact of social, legal and judicial impediments to sexual health promotion, care and support for males who have sex with males in Bangladesh and India – a study conducted under the aegis of Naz Foundation International

Background: The study was conducted as part of a larger project to develop strategies to reduce impact of stigma, discrimination, violence, and harassment on HIV vulnerability of MSM. There was already significant anecdotal evidence indicating high levels of abuse, violence and rape of MSM, which was having a detrimental impact on sexual health, directly leading to increased vulnerability, obstructed grievance redressal, and created an atmosphere where prevention intervention became difficult, if not impossible. 

Methods: Action research involving field staff of partner MSM CBOs to collect data in two phases: [1] Qualitative data through FGD and in-depth interviews, explored the nature of violence and violation of rights [2] Quantitative by preset questionnaires to explore the extent, degree, & prevalence of violence and rights violation as identified through the qualitative phase. Sampling was based on randomised identification at a range of MSM meeting places. 

Results: High levels of violence, abuse, and stigma identified; Police, family, educational institutions, anti-social rowdies, religious leaders, sex partners, clients of male sex-workers, are primary perpetrators; direct nexus established between feminisation and discrimination in educational setting, leading to droput, poverty and sex work; family support lacking leading to high risk existence; violence leads to deep-seated psychological trauma impacting behaviour; 42% respondents reported they had been sexually assaulted or raped; 60% reported rape by rowdies; 70% of respondents reported facing beating, rape, extortion, blackmail from police; 75% of rape-victims were assaulted because they´re effeminate; 28% thought of or actually attempted suicide. But involving community in action research also trained them on rights issues, created rights advocates, and led to the establishment of policy advocacy units in the CBOs involved in the study.

Conclusions: Clear need for sensitisation training, advocacy, with police, judiciary, medical establisment, educational institutions, and family; Need for psycho-social support; advocacy for positive policies and repeal of bad laws.

-Abstract can be found at link below-

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