Dispel the Virgin Myth in Zambia!!! sign now

Embassy of Zambia

2 Palace Gate


London W8 5NG

United Kingdom

Dear Sir or Madam,

As postgraduate students of International Criminal Law in the United Kingdom, we feel closely obliged to the promotion and protection of human rights. As such, we are in pursuit of a goal to trigger a positive change against inhumane treatment wherever it exists.

One of our projects concerns the so-called "virgin myth", the belief that an individual infected with the HIV/AIDS virus could be cured by having intercourse with a virgin. We have become aware that this myth is acutely prevalent in your country and we urge your governments action to dispel it.

Our research has yielded that the aforementioned myth is somewhat being addressed in your country, but that the mechanisms thus far have been neither implemented nor enforced uniformly across your country. The imposition of severe punishment upon rapists of female children is certainly necessary, but this measure alone is not very effective. We propose that this is because the nexus between more severe punishment and the dangerous inaccuracy of the virgin myth is not communicated to the population. Further, increasing prison sentences will fill prisons but will not necessarily protect innocent children.

We have organized this petition to give everyone around the globe who wants this practice to stop, an opportunity to demand of your Government an aggressive public awareness campaign throughout your country so as to educate everyone that sexual intercourse with virgins will only spread HIV/AIDS, not cure it, and that engaging in such a practice is a criminal offence. The campaign should especially target HIV/AIDS-infected males.

We also implore your government to take the following action:

(1) Provide law enforcement authorities in Zambia with appropriate training on womens rights, child rights and HIV/AIDS issues;

(2) Provide health care providers with training on HIV/AIDS so that victims are not stigmatized and assumed to have been promiscuous;

(3) Provide judges, lawyers and other judicial officers with training on HIV/AIDS and establish facilities for youth; and

(4) Ensure that young females and women are educated about their rights.

We welcome the efforts already made by Zambia, among them the antiretroviral treatment programme which has been going on since 2002 and which aims to diminish the number of new infections. We encourage such substantial efforts to be implemented at a larger scale because it is the untreated infection that seriously impairs the psyche and makes one so desperate for curing that even criminal, unsuitable, and absurd means are pursued.

We implore your action on this matter.

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Ora GibsonBy:
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Embassy of Zambia


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