Tell us a little bit about you and the work you do in the AIDS response both in Kenya and around the world?
I am Mayah’s mama, she’s my 4 year old daughter and I draw so much inspiration from being her mother. I intentionally live a life that will make her proud. She is the North in my compass. I am in school for I want her to see me going for my dreams so she knows she can get to the things she want to achieve.
I am the team leader and founding member of Positive Young Women Voices, a community based organization in Nairobi working to advance the gender equity and equality agenda while empowering young women and adolescent girls to live their full potential. I sit at the Kenya Coordinating Mechanism to the Global Fund representing communities and at the NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board. Ensuring that our voices are heard is the aim of my advocacy in these platforms.
How is COVID19 affecting youth leadership in the HIV response?
COVID-19 effects are being felt by all in the world. With most people losing their livelihoods and lives, these are hard times. The limited spaces and resources do not make the situation any easier as more of the existing resources are channeled to measures that tackle this epidemic. Young people are still not adequately represented in the decision making platforms and the possibility that our needs are being treated as homogeneous cannot be denied. I think young leaders are having it harder as the digital divide is limiting the opportunities to engage and to influence the work that is taking place. There is no guarantee if you were being funded, there will be renewal of the funding opportunities and if you were not, like us, the possibilities are slim and that is scary to the work that we do and if the gains made will be maintained.
Why does youth leadership in the HIV response still matter?
We understand our issues and needs better and our approach and ideas cannot be watered down. Our perspective is important in ensuring the programmes take into consideration our priorities. The burden of HIV is felt more by young people and especially adolescent girls and young women. If we are not shaping the response, it is bound to fail. We have made some strides in involvement of young people but still, we are a long way from doing right by this group.
What message do you have for young people attending AIDS2020?
I know it is not easy, you will probably have a hard time attending all the sessions as the time zones collide and access to internet might lock some of us out but do all that you can to ensure that your important voice is heard and your priorities included. Let us not get tired or give up. Hope to see you all.
My name is Sargis Ghazaryan and I am the Resource Mobilisation and Partnership working group lead for The PACT and I will be heading to the AIDS2020. Join me on the ROAD to AIDS2020.
This will be the first time I will be involved in a major AIDS conference hosted by IAS. I am eager to take part in AIDS2020 because I believe the conference is a great platform that brings together many young activists from across the globe working not only on just HIV but also SRHR. I think the conference allows different groups of people from different backgrounds and experiences to come together and help frame new ways of thinking to advance the HIV response. There are several components of AIDS2020 which I am very interested in such as comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), women’s empowerment and mental health. I hope to contribute to AIDS2020 with my experiences in SRHR and young people at the country, regional and global level.
I think there are many ways The PACT can contribute to AIDS2020, considering that now I am the Resource Mobilisation and Partnership working group lead, I will use the platform to bring visibility to The PACT agenda and collaboration. The PACT has a lot to contribute in terms of showcasing best practices and innovative solutions but more importantly how young people are key players in the HIV response. Establishing key partnerships is a priority of mine for The PACT and my involvement in the conference will provide a chance for me to network and bring visibility to our cause.
I believe all young people at the conference should really maximise the opportunity to gain new and valuable insight and absorb as much information as possible to take back home. I think the conference will help foster creativity and bring about new solutions for meaningful youth engagement. I am also the international coordinator of Y-PEER, and Y-PEER have also secured sessions and a booth at the conference which will explore issues related to young people and SRHR. I hope many people will take the opportunity to stop by and have a chat.
The COVID-19 pandemic has surely been a key focus of 2020 and I can only assume this will also be recurring theme and discussion through-out the conference. We as young people have faced many specific challenges because of the pandemic, and I hope the conferences provides an opportunity for us to share those experiences and to find practical solutions to address the needs of the community. I also would like to take back as much knowledge on COVID-19, in terms of best practices, and apply that to the work Y-PEER and The PACT does with young people. In a time like this it’s important for us all to unite and fight against COVID-19, but more importantly make sure young people are not left behind.
I look forward to joining you all on the ROAD to AIDS2020.
Sargis Ghazaryan - firstname.lastname@example.org
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has become a global health emergency, and we can already see the impact this has had on the HIV response. COVID-19 was first reported in Kenya on the 12th March 2020 and posed significant challenges for people living with HIV (PLHIV). The Kenyan government instituted several measures to contain the spread, including but not limited to, a nationwide curfew between 19:00 to 05.00, cessation of movement in and out of the most affected areas, in particular, Nairobi, which has seen more and more confirmed COVID-19 cases.
According to Kenya’s National Aids Control Council, 1.6 million people are living with HIV as of 2018. Kenya has an average HIV prevalence rate of 6% and is considered one of the six HIV 'high burden' countries in Africa. The western part of the country through Homabay, Siaya and Kisumu are the most affected with HIV with rates of 25.7%, 23.7% and 19.3% respectively. These statistics highlight the challenges a global pandemic, such as the coronavirus will have on vulnerable communities, including those who are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. The pandemic has since brought challenges in the fight against HIV/AIDs where evident disruption in services and access to information and commodities (food, water and health supplies) have been reported. This particular issue of misinformation perpetuates the negative stereotypes associated with understandings of viruses, specifically HIV/AIDS, but also results in higher instances for stigma and discrimination.
Since the world had shifted its focus onto COVID-19 and information concerning the pandemic, many news channels have limited the sharing of information about HIV/AIDs prevention, testing, and treatment. While at the moment there has been no significant research on transmission rates, especially with the coronavirus and people living with HIV, there has however been a rise of misinformation being spread suggesting PLHIV have higher chances of contracting the coronavirus.
There is a growing concern among PLHIV, with questions on access to essential medicine such as ARVs in a global crisis. With factories at a halt, reports have suggested shortage of supply for male and female condoms, HIV testing kits such as HIV rapid diagnostic kits, lubricants, and other essential medical supplies. With these concerns, organisations such as Maisha Youth began recruiting community volunteers to assist in the distribution of condoms and are working to support HIV and SRHR causes in the time of COVID-19. Likewise, many community based organisations have stepped up to provide information, as well as provide health related services where needed.
Recently the Ministry of Health Kenya indicated a significant drop in the number of people seeking medication at health facilities. Just like for any other health needs, this may suggest that PLHIV may be avoiding health facilities and clinics in fear of how the country has responded to COVID-19. Adherence to ARV's remains of critical importance for PLHIV, especially in these times, therefore, the importance of protecting people living with HIV should be of central concern alike.
We've made great strides, and today, HIV infection is no longer life-threatening thanks to advancements made in medicine, science and technology. That said, HIV should always remain a public health concern. Therefore it's essential that governments mainstream HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment amid the COVID19 response by also providing accurate and reliable information for PLHIV and those affected by HIV.
Written By: Fatinato Natse Contact: email@example.com
The PACT is BACK!
What is The PACT?
As the global coalition of youth-led and youth-serving organisations working within the sexual reproductive health and rights and HIV movement, The PACT remains important for young people and youth organisations today working on HIV and SRHR. It remains a strong working group of young people who share collective ambitions and priorities to advance the HIV response for all young people. The PACT continues to grow with new members and will build on from the incredible contributions made by previous PACT members. The PACT serves as a reminder of a unified youth movement in the HIV response. It's about not losing the gains and keeping the momentum going.
Recently there was no The PACT activity, what happened?
In 2019, The PACT underwent a transition phase, a reform process that overhauled the governance structure, setting forth a new strategic direction to reflect the needs and aspirations of youth-led and youth-serving HIV networks and organisations across the globe. The reform process started in late in 2019 and has recently been completed. During this reform process areas were identified from its previous governance structure and mandate to broaden the scope of its strategic priorities. While our priorities remain relatively the same, the new leadership team overseeing the PACT is committed to building a global governance space for youth-led and youth-serving organisations working in the HIV response, creating a space for different networks and coalitions to come together and advance the AIDS response for young people.
A noticeable difference in the PACT's original governance and the current structure would mean that young people have significantly more opportunities to engage in their respective working groups. In the past, PACT only had two positions, the lead and co-lead for each strategic priority. Therefore, only eight positions (excluding executive positions) were available. In retrospect, the competitive process of bidding for only a few roles meant that only a select few could assume leadership roles; thus, in turn, discouraging young people from wanting to engage with the PACT. The change in the governance structure would not only allow greater youth-engagement in the working groups. Still, it would also let the leads and co-leads of each working group to assume more significant leadership roles with more responsibility.
UNAIDS will continue to support the PACT as a strategic partner; a relationship that has not changed. Alicia Sanchez, the new Youth Programmes Coordinator at UNAIDS and Advisor to the PACT, will continue to advise and provide strategic guidance to PACT members. Despite the fact that UNAIDS does not, and never has had, any decision making authority within the PACT’s governance, UNAIDS has committed to supporting PACT with human resource opportunities and the strengthening of PACTs communications platforms.
The PACT has also hired a Communications Lead to support with communicating its strategy and work with both its membership and the rest of the world.
What does the new leadership and governance structure look like?
Chair of the PACT - Mo Barry (HYLF)
Vice-Chair of the PACT - Gareth Jones (Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights)
External Communications Lead - Eddy Rudram (Youth LEAD)
Advisor - Alicia Sanchez (UNAIDS)
Working Group Leads and Co-leads
So, what’s next?
The PACT new Steering Committee plans to achieve this following in 2020:
The PACT will be developing its Strategic Plan for 2020 and 2022, which will be shared with its membership.
The PACT is also active on social media, and you are encouraged to follow the PACT on the following:
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
For inquiries, you can contact us at:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.theyouthpact.org
With the ICPD25 taking place this week in Nairobi, we had the chance to interview Daglar Cilingir, a young SRHR activist currently working for Y-Peer on Monitoring and Evaluation.
Daglar shared expectations for ICPD25 as well as thoughts on the importance of this event. You can find the interview below:
What are your hopes for the ICPD25?
As a youth advocate, I have been working for sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people. ICPD is one of the main documents that we have been showing to other stakeholders to advocate for our human rights. We know not all the goals of ICPD have been achieved today and 25 years after, we stand for the rights we achieved at that time. I hope to have concrete commitments of all stakeholders to achieve the goals have been decided 25 years ago.
What you want world leaders to pay attention to?
There are many inequalities based on gender, income, accession, etc. The world leaders should focus on this inequalities and try to be sure that everyone is counted. They should listen the people who are left behind and create solutions for them. Different stakeholders should collaborate to achieve the goals of ICPD. World leaders should create bridges between different stakeholders and work for common good of all. Besides inequalities, there is an important climate change issue that should be focused on. World leaders are responsible of leaving young people a sustainable world in any sense. Physically, economically, socially and politically, world leaders should commit themselves to make our world sustainable for the next generations.
Why this conference is historic for youth and SRHR?
ICPD is an historical conference. In ICPD Program of Action (PoA); youth, UHC, SRHR are specifically mentioned. The summit that will be happening in Nairobi on 12-14 November is also very important and historic. Because the PoA could not be completed and we will gather with all the stakeholders in Nairobi to discuss the future actions that we all will be taking to achieve the goals. In the conference, there will be many young people from all around the globe. Young people are in the sessions as speakers, as moderators, as storytellers… We have many chances to explain ourselves and reach the stakeholders in the conference. We can create a real change which makes the conference historic.
What is next after this? How do we enjoy the agreed commitments translate into real action?
Next is working in the field, in national contexts. As young people and civil society, we should follow-up with the commitments made in the conference. There is an important chance to meet with world leaders in the summit. The connections that are established there should be sustained afterwards. We, as young people, will be marching for our basic human rights and after the summit, we will keep insisting on our rights to be realized. The promises will be followed up by civil society and UN agencies.
Young people at the forefront of advocacy for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Reproductive Justice.
By: Carles Pericas Escalé
Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR)
Mireia Amat, L’Associació de Drets Sexuals i Reproductius
Bruna Martinez, Amsterdam Youth Force
Ruben Pages, UNAIDS
“Young people have the fundamental right to participate in every process that affects or can affect their lives.”
While the principle above is something that decision makers seem to be more aware of than a couple of decades ago, there is still a long way to go until young people in all their diversity are taken into account when shaping public policies and programmes. Global decision-making spaces seem to be packed with tokenistic practices that far from promoting meaningful youth participation, turn young people into checkboxes.
Moreover, whenever there is an opportunity in place, young people still have to fight structural barriers that unfortunately perpetuate oppression on the basis of gender, place of birth, ethnicity, skin color and many other traits that shape individual and collective identities. All these limitations are also replicated at a national and local level, where most of the time youth still struggle to contribute to the political agenda and only those pertaining to more privileged groups get access to relevant spaces.
During this year’s World Health Assembly in Geneva, the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights organised for the first time a side event that addressed these barriers and put at the centre of the discussion the need to challenge privilege and hierarchy in global processes, particularly when it comes to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Plenty of youth-led organisations are at the forefront of the SRHR movement, yet we still struggle to get a seat at the table and be considered essential stakeholders. When Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are not upheld and respected, young people tend to suffer a big portion of the consequences (in particular those who are placed in situations of vulnerability).
To contribute to the discussion, we counted with the participation of three panelists: Bruna Martinez (Amsterdam Youth Force), Mireia Amat (Associació de Drets Sexuals i Reproductius) and Ruben Pages (UNAIDS) who, through their contributions, uprooted the main causes of inequality and provided tips and suggestions on how we can direct our efforts while keeping a holistic and intersectional approach. Charlotte O’Leary, IFMSA’s Liaison Officer to the World Health Organization was in charge of the moderation, adding valuable points to the discussion as well, while efficiently summarising the main ideas throughout the whole event.
During her interventions, Mireia highlighted their star project “Pren-los” (“Use them” in English), a Catalonia-based mentorship programme with the aim of creating meaningful youth engagement in advocacy for sexual and reproductive rights, starred of course by young people as the essential stakeholders of their own rights. Through the promotion of individual and collective agency, the final purpose of the mentorship is to contribute to the creation of a strategic youth space of political advocacy in Human Rights, specifically Sexual and Reproductive Rights both nationally and internationally.
<< Pren-los will hopefully succeed at transforming radically local and national institutions in Catalonia, taking, from that collective first person experience and knowledge, a starring role in the design of feminist public policies regarding Sexual and Reproductive Rights.>>
- Mireia Amat, Associació de Drets Sexuals i Reproductius.
Mireia finished with a quote by Salvador Allende: “Being young and not being revolutionary is almost a biological contradiction”. With that, she reinforced the role that grassroots self-organized youth movements have starred in the advancement of youth in socials rights as well as the commitment of young people to advance a feminist transformation and to promote direct and participative democracy.
Ruben contributed to the discussion by pointing out that all challenges that young people face to access HIV and SRH services have a common meeting place, independent of who they are or where they live. That meeting place is where inequalities, exclusion, violence and discrimination sustain the status quo, which prompts us to tackle the root causes that put people at risk.
<<Data is key. UNAIDS has revised its indicators to reflect a more comprehensive view of the barriers faced by young people, including in the context of spousal and age of consent to services, comprehensive sexuality education and youth participation in the HIV response>>
- Ruben Pages, UNAIDS.
As part of his interventions, Ruben also mentioned that supporting meaningful youth participation does not only mean inviting young people to meetings. It also means providing political, technical and financial support to young people, their organizations and networks to advocate, hold stakeholders accountable and inform meaningful policy-decision spaces at every level. Finally, he also gave some insight on the current internal efforts UNAIDS is taking to amplify youth voices and advocate for meaningful youth participation within the organisation.
Our third speaker, Bruna, briefly explained the purpose of the Amsterdam Youth Force, which amplified youth voices during the AIDS conference. Considering the many practical obstacles youth face when it comes to organizing at events like this, through the International Youth Force they decided to carry on their mission to meaningfully involve and support young people’s interests around the AIDS conference.. She started by emphasising the need to search for sustainable partnerships, which at the end of the day helped her organisation thrive and play a meaningful role during AIDS 2018. She followed her first intervention with important remarks on the need to apply transversally an intersectional lens and pointed out how within youth, people attending spaces like the World Health Assembly are still generally part of privileged groups. Bruna finalised by saying how essential it is that we work harder on ensuring young people are actually represented in all their diversity. Being autocritical and transforming our own organisations from within is definitely an important pillar to do so.
<< I don’t only use the term SRHR but I also focus on reproductive justice, as it addresses the structural inequalities that affect women’s reproductive health and choices and that are born from the hegemonic economic system>>
- Bruna Martinez, Amsterdam Youth Force.
Overall, the side event was successful at creating a sharing space where people felt comfortable providing tips, first-hand experiences and perceptions on how privilege and hierarchy could be fought, especially in global decision-making spaces. However, much remains to be done, we need to stop preaching to the converted and as difficult as it might be, take our presence to other spaces. The conversations that arose helped shape a narrative around intersectionality, feminism and social and reproductive justice. As young people, we need to build our actions around this discourse and make sure we transform decision-making spaces from within, not only during staple events such as WHA, but every single day.
ring last year, Watipa (commissioned by UNAIDS and the PACT as part of its #uproot agenda) carried out a study to better understand and document community-led interventions that aim to strengthen demand creation and uptake of HIV and sexual and reproductive health services, with a focus on engaging young people as beneficiaries, partners and implementers.
The full report highlights the role that young people have in demand creation, linkages to care and uptake of services for HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Lucy from Watipa had the chance to interview Allen Kyendikuwa, one of the key researchers in the study. Find out, in the text below, what Allen's insights on the finding of the study are:
Q: Can you please share a bit more information about the objectives and results from the study, including some of the insights you received from the interviews?
The study aimed to assess young people’s participation in community HIV responses, specifically demand creation, linkages to care and uptake of HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights services. It also aimed to document and showcase models of youth participation in community HIV responses.
Q: Can you tell us about some of the main results?
The results indicated that young people play an essential role in demand creation, linkages to care and uptake of services for HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights. It enhances the overall response to HIV and benefits the young people themselves.
Young people play a critical part in enabling access to HIV treatment and retention in care. Young people are actively involved in peer psychosocial support, peer-to-peer consultations, policy engagement processes, peer mobilization around specific campaigns and projects, and peer-supported hospital and care access.
Young people, including young key populations and young people living with HIV, also play a key role in primary HIV prevention, early testing and diagnosis. Peer education, outreach and community engagement are all areas where young people are informing and influencing their peers.
Q: Did you learn anything that surprised you?
This research found that there is a perceived value in young people’s participation in all stages of programme and policy design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Despite this, young people are often seen as being passive in the process and participating only as beneficiaries; their role as implementers was either overlooked or taken for granted.
Increased attention has been given to the need to disaggregate data to reflect the diversity of young people and the important role they play in gathering data to inform nuanced policies.
Participants in the peer interviews also encouraged donors to resource the time and involvement of young people so that they could be paid for their role in service delivery and not only be considered as volunteers. Concrete suggestions were given to donors to provide core funding to enable organizations run by and for young people to have some funding sustainability and support in setting up governance and organizational structures to facilitate a stronger and more long-term engagement in the local HIV response.
Q: You have done a lot of work at the national level. Can you share a bit more how youth organizations and networks support young people’s health and rights?
They support in changing public perception that young people as seen as being the problem to being the solution. Importantly, they develop leadership potential and community engagement, support policy formulations that enable the involvement of young people, increase the peer to peer information sharing, improve access to services, and can drive consensus towards a common language that amplifies attention to issues relating to young people from international declarations at the national level.
Q: What is your message to donors, policy makers and UN entities, on how they can support youth organizations and networks working on HIV?
It is important to enable opportunities for the participation of young people from a variety of backgrounds (including rural communities) in community-based responses. Project discussion fora, youth-friendly service access and policy engagement processes often are limited to major cities and can leave behind young people in rural or hard-to-reach areas.
Young people’s involvement in the HIV response is primarily siloed. The results from this study showed that young people’s involvement in community based response to HIV is both essential for the response to HIV as well as beneficial for the young people themselves.
Young people have proven to have great impact on the community responses and hence must be given a special package of criteria where young people compete freely within their capacities vs funding calls that have mega criteria requirements that are greater than their years of experience. Conditions for working with young people must inclusively consider partnerships on top of recipient status.
In 2017, under the #Uproot agenda, Youth PACT designed #Uproot report cards on the 2016 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS to assess how well a country is doing in achieving its commitments on adolescents and young people, included in the 2016 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS.
The report cards were developed through a youth lead process and is expected to be implemented at the country level by young people. The result of this report tool summarizes the steps taken by a state to achieve the commitments that it has agreed in the 2016 political declaration on HIV. The findings could be used to develop advocacy strategies to be used by young people to advocate with their governments.
The audit tool used to score the country contains five themes or categories: Laws and Policies, Participation, Partnerships, Beneficiaries and Leaders. The audit tool allows for both quantitative and qualitative data to be inputed, assessing if the country is on track or off track in achieving the commitments set forth in the 2016 political declaration on HIV. For the implementation the score cards in Asia, Youth Voices Count and UNAIDS Asia Pacific led the process in close collaboration with our implementing partners in the five countries. These are Myanmar Youth Stars (Myanmar), KHANA (Cambodia), Diversity and Solidarity Trust (Sri Lanka), Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS -APL+ (Laos), and Center for Human Progress (India).
After successfully undergoing an online training on how best to implement the score card, the youth implementers have worked hand-in-hand with UNAIDS country teams to invite young people and develop an engaging, youth-centered approach to the score card’s implementation. As of writing, only our colleagues in Myanmar and Cambodia have implemented the score card last April 22 and May 8, respectively. The other countries will soon follow their implementation.
To share some of the results and learning points from the scorecard implementation in Myanmar, some of the findings have concluded that myanmar is off track to ensuring enabling environment, including protective laws and policies to guarantee young people’s access to HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights and meeting the country’s commitment in the 2016 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. They have also derived from the consultation that young people, including adolescents are not significantly benefitting from the national HIV response and may jeopardize the achievement of the commitments agreed in the 2016 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS.
Youth Voices Count has learned through the implementation of the scorecards that young people of diverse identities and those most affected with HIV and AIDS, including young MSM, young transgender, young sex workers, young persons who inject drugs, young people in rural communities and students, have to lead in the response and monitoring of state commitments concerning young people and HIV/SRHR. This is one of the most effective ways to ensure that young people are at the forefront of the response and have full control of their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Justin Francis Bionat
Regional Coordinator of Youth Voices Count
Non-governmental organisations and government agencies in Zimbabwe are campaigning to Leave Noone Behind: End Violence against women and girls.
In Mutare, Women’s Action and Support Centre (WASC), a Non-Profit Making Trust has joined the bandwagon of organisations in combating gender based violence (GBV) against women and girls which is now rampant in the country.
In an interview with WASC Programs Officer Mr Tapiwa Chibodo in the eastern border city recently, he said they are going to do a door to door campaign in urban areas.
“In 2015 we campaigned against GBV by marching in the streets and last year we did a workshop. This year we have planned to do something new early December, preparations have been finalised to do a door to door campaign in the 16 days of activism.”
He added: “We did an assessment and observed that messages were not reaching other women, so we are confident that door to door campaign will leave noone behind,” said Chibodo.
He said the campaign will target all, especially women and young girls raising awareness on GBV issues.
“WASC is going to educate women on what is GBV because some women do not know what it means. There is need to educate them on their rights that are enshrined in the constitution, women should know that they are protected by the rule of the land,’’ he said.
WASC will raise awareness on the rights of women using posters which are going to be distributed in Mutare throughout the 16 days of activism.
The organisation has identified problems which poses GBV against women and provide solutions to such problems.
"We have identified that women’s lack of economic resources is one of the major contributors to GBV against women. So the organisation came up with strategies to economically empower women to combat GBV against them."
''There is a women’s fund program namely Chisipiti Oasis Women’s Fund which offers small capital funding to women engaged in small projects. It is available for women who do not meet prerequisites needed in accessing finances in the mainstream financial institutions,’’ said Chibodo.
WASC provides entrepreneurial skills training on demand such as financial literacy, sewing, baking, and braiding.
Farai Shawn Matiashe is a freelancer based in Zimbabwe who is passionate about writing about gender based violence and the abuse of commercial sex workers.