Being and feeling like a woman: Respectability, responsibility, desirability and safe sex among women of Afro-Surinamese and Dutch Antillean descent in the Netherlands

School of Anthropology, Oxford University, UK.
Culture Health & Sexuality (Impact Factor: 1.55). 08/2008; 10(6):547-61. DOI: 10.1080/13691050802003014
Source: PubMed


The objective of this study was to describe and understand gender roles and the relational context of sexual decision-making and safe sex negotiation among Afro-Surinamese and Dutch Antillean women in the Netherlands. Twenty-eight individual in-depth interviews and eight focus group discussions were conducted. In negotiating safe sex with a partner, women reported encountering ambiguity between being respectable and being responsible. Their independence, autonomy, authority and pride inherent to the matrifocal household give them ample opportunity to negotiate safe sex and power to stand firm in executing their decisions. The need to be respectable burdens negotiation practices, because as respectable, virtuous women there would not be the need to use condoms. Respectable women will only participate in serious monogamous relationships, which are inherently safe. Women's desire to feel like a woman, 'to tame the macho-man' and constrain him into a steady relationship, limits negotiation space because of emotional dependency. Respectability seems to enforce not questioning men's sexual infidelity. In developing STI/HIV prevention programmes this ambiguity due to cultural values related to gender roles should be considered. Raising awareness of power differences and conflicting roles and values may support women in safe-sex decision-making.

8 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Dit artikel beschrijft de evaluatie van Uma Tori, een soa/hiv preventie interventie voor vrouwen van Surinaamse en Antilliaanse afkomst in Den Haag, Amsterdam en Rotterdam. Er wordt beargumenteerd hoe verschillen in implementatie mogelijk samenhangen met effectiviteit. Dit artikel gaat ook vanuit de eerder uitgevoerde proces- en effectevaluatie in op mogelijke oorzaken voor de verschillen in het huidige gebruik van de interventie. Uit recent onderzoek blijkt namelijk dat Uma Tori in Rotterdam nog steeds gebruikt wordt en is uitgebreid naar andere doelgroepen. Maar in Amsterdam is dit niet het geval. De interventie was gericht op het vergroten van bewustwording van seksuele risico’s en machtsverhoudingen binnen relaties en op het verbeteren van vaardigheden om bewuste keuzes te maken voor veilige seksuele relaties. Effecten van de interventie werden gemeten met een pre-post-test design. Daarnaast werd een procesevaluatie uitgevoerd met behulp van logboeken, focus groep discussies en interviews. De uitkomsten van de effectevaluatie lieten positieve effecten zien op kennis, risicoperceptie, subjectieve norm, seksuele assertiviteit en intentie om veilig vrijen te onderhandelen met de partner. Na de interventie gaven deelneemsters van Uma Tori aan meer met hun partners te communiceren over veilig vrijen. In Rotterdam waren de effecten het grootst. Uit de procesevaluatie bleken aanzienlijke verschillen in implementatie te bestaan tussen de drie steden, zoals de wervingstrategie voor deelnemers, de beschikbare middelen, tijd en ondersteuning voor implementatie. Uma Tori is geslaagd in het mobiliseren van vrouwengroepen van Antilliaanse en Surinaame afkomst in Nederland. De onderzoeksresultaten laten korte termijn veranderingen zien op het niveau van cognities, intentie tot veilig vrijen en seksuele communicatie, wat uiteindelijk kan bijdragen aan hun seksuele gezondheid. De verschillen in implementatie en effecten tussen de drie steden, suggereren dat de effecten samenhangen met de kwaliteit van implementatie. Om effectiviteit te waarborgen is het daarom raadzaam om al bij de interventieontwikkeling veel tijd te besteden aan bevorderen van participatie van alle betrokken partijen en een goede implementatie op grotere schaal.
    04/2012; 89(3). DOI:10.1007/s12508-011-0058-5
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Newly single older women routinely have not been considered at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Divorce and separation have put many women back into the dating scene and into new sexual partner relationships. Recent studies have shown an increase in HPV, HSV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea infections in this population. Advanced practice nurses have a unique opportunity to anticipate needs and inform older women about safe sex, STIs and transmission, communication skills with new partners, as well as help them safely navigate through a turbulent time. A thorough analysis and review of this topic, with theoretical support, highlights this recently identified vulnerable population and identifies safe sex education strategies and interventions to increase health-promoting behaviors.
    The Journal for Nurse Practitioners 06/2009; 5(6-5):440-446. DOI:10.1016/j.nurpra.2009.02.015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose – This paper aims to examine the impacts of immigration processes on the HIV risk faced by mainland Chinese immigrants in Canada. Design/methodology/approach – Drawn from a larger qualitative study on the vulnerability to HIV of recent immigrants to Canada, the data presented were collected through individual, face-to-face, semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 34 mainland-Chinese immigrant adults who perceived themselves as facing sexual health risks (including HIV infection) through engaging in unsafe sex. Findings – Immigration processes have not only exposed these immigrants to a HIV risk that they did not face in China; they have also compromised their capacity to effectively respond to it. In light of various settlement difficulties, HIV risk is neither the only nor the most urgent challenge that they have faced in their post-immigration lives. Research limitations/implications – The HIV risk under discussion must be understood by situating it in the processes of immigration, settlement, and transnational connections, all of which have shaped not only the dynamics of HIV risk but, also, these individuals' capacities to respond to that risk. Owing to its small-size purposive sample, the results of this study may not be generalizable for Chinese immigrants in Canada as a whole. Practical implications – Greater attention should be given to the intersections between immigrants' vulnerability to HIV and settlement processes and to holistic approaches that take into account the changing contexts and dynamics of HIV risk. Originality/value – This exploratory study will contribute to knowledge of the HIV risk Chinese immigrants in Canada face – a little-known topic.
    02/2011; 7(1):5-15. DOI:10.1108/17479891111176269
Show more