Tears characterise HIV seminar in Ho
Participants at a day’s HIV and AIDS sensitisation meeting in Ho, wept intermittently as women living with HIV recounted how their relations stigmatise and discriminate against them.
The hall became quiet as some participants removed their cloths to wipe their tears while others buried their heads in their palms and sobbed as the stories were told by the women who pleaded anonymity.
A middle-aged single-parent and mother of two, living with HIV, who limped into the seminar room, told the gathering that due to her condition, her younger brother attempted killing her to enable him claim her four-room residential apartment at Kpetoe.
She claimed her brother who had moved in to live with her described her as “sick and smelly” and could not be a member of the family.
The woman said on March 6, her brother forcibly entered her room, pulled her by the neck into a nearby bush, saying he was going to kill her but she was rescued by neighbours.
She said just as her rescuers left, her brother emerged from the bush to hit her from behind.
The woman said she fell into a gutter, and his brother taking her for dead left, but she was saved by a pastor who took her to hospital.
The woman said she later reported the issue to the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and Legal Aid Board who are working on the case.
She said even as the case progressed in court her brother continued to assault her verbally and physically, with threats to kill her.
Another woman living with HIV said her husband who infected her with the disease, died just after she gave birth to a set of twins.
She said after the burial of her husband, she is taking care of the children by herself.
The woman said few occasions when she visit her husband’s sister to seek financial support; she was chased out of the house with firewood and clubs.
Some other women living with HIV recounted how their husbands and families had neglected them and are wishing them dead.
Pastor Innocent Atsamegah Ahiador of the End-Time Message Church, Ho, described the stories as “very pathetic and touching” and promised to accommodate and feed the woman facing death threat from her brother over her house, until the determination of the case in court.
The seminar, under the auspices of FIDA and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women was aimed at increasing access to the property and inheritance rights of women living with HIV and AIDS.
Ms Benedicta Oboshie-Laryea, Programme Coordinator, visibly holding back tears, said there are several cases of men shirking their responsibilities to their wives and children living with HIV and AIDS.
She said the delay in court processes is demoralising women from seeking justice in court.
The participants were taken through the Intestate Succession Law and the property rights of women in relation to the law. GNA