Rape and other forms of violence were widely used as weapons of war during Liberia's 15-year civil conflict. Violence was embedded in traditional norms and behaviour acquired during the war, and it continues to cast a long shadow over the lives of women and girls.
With support from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, Action Aid Liberia is implementing a project Liberia's south-eastern counties to address violence and HIV. The twin pandemics are rampant in these largely rural areas, exacerbated by poverty, discriminatory traditional justice systems, and low awareness of protection laws and what constitutes violence against women.
To spark change at the community level, Action Aid uses a special participatory method entitled 'Societies Tackling AIDS through Rights' (STAR). STAR engages people and communities affected by HIV and AIDS and those living with HIV; they respond to the pandemic through mutual reflection, analysis, planning and joint action.