Archive for August, 2012

In Paul Farmer’s piece concerning structural violence, mainly in Haitian peoples, he begins by asking the question “how do we define suffering?” Farmer gives some general agreements of acts that fall under extreme suffering as well as assaults on dignity: painful illness, torture, rape, institutionalized racism and sexism. Acéphie is whom I would like to shed some light upon and bring her story to the relevance of female prostitutes in the Philippines.

Acéphie’s story is very similar to that of many other young women striving for survival. She died in 1991 after struggling with AIDS, her symptoms rapidly devastating following the birth of her first child. Her story, like so many other women of poverished upbringing, sheds a dark light on what women often must do to simply survive. Acéphie contracted AIDS in process of courtship attempting to obtain some type of economic stability. Shortly after her experience with the soldier who (dying one month after ceasing to see Acéphie) transmitted HIV to Acéphie, she became pregnant from another man. This man left her once he learned of her pregnancy. Too often we see women from small villages or states denied sexual health and education/information.

Ratliff in his article of Women As Sex Workers states that:

“Research and intervention programs for AIDS prevention place people within ‘risk groups’ to target specific populations that are believed to be more prone to contract and transmit HIV and other STDs. The ‘sex worker’ is one of these convenient constructions used to label women who exchange sex for money or other material gains.”

Though many women prostitutes in the Philippines willingly exchange sexual acts for money or drugs (and in some cases their freedom) it is nonetheless definable suffering. It is estimated that “nearly 4.8 million adults are living with HIV in Asia, approximately 34 percent of whom are women” ( The structural violence present, mainly in the Philippines, is that the government and/or state regulated police force is simply enforcing more violence and suffering onto women who already live within their own war. These women of the flesh trade are in a war of psychological distress both present and developing, the diseases contracted and exchanged on a regular basis and moreso the dignity that is lost among many of them. Women arrested serving 2 years in prison for doing what they know is the ‘only’ way to survive economically.

Just some words from the women themselves, check out VJ Movement for more information.

The question is…are these behaviors, these beliefs that selling sex to survive is necessary, the belief that a woman from a small village like Kay needs a man to support her only to give her HIV? What is it that embodies such beliefs into these cultures? What about your culture for that matter—what is the norm of behavior and beliefs in regards to prostitution, moreso, are unfavorable unions by poverty relative to what is “consensual sex” as Farmer states?



Just in case you read the posting prior concerning the article by George J. Annas titled…

“Human Rights and Health: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 50” pages 63-67(or any of the future articles discussed)…Please comment and I will get the article to you by way of email.


August 26. 2012.

Posted: August 27, 2012 in pOstEd WeEkLY

My thoughts today…

After reading through George J. Annas’ piece, Human Rights and Health: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 50, I felt not only torn but more so influenced to really think about the broad picture of health in relation to human rights. Being a psychology major I’m often finding myself reading about varied studies both past and present. Some of them positive with wonderful outcomes and mild costs, others seem much like horror stories. For example practices of Walter Freeman are more like something written up in the minds of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

In the section of Human Rights and Physicians (p67) we can see a clear differentiation between medical ethics and human rights. Annas even states that such a differentiation is difficult to enforce within the field of medicine and that medical ethics has now ‘transformed into medical law.

Article 5.

* No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 7.

* All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Referring to Walter Freeman’s practice of the frontal lobotomy in the field of psychological study we can see a vivid violation of the above articles as well as a lack in humanity. Though the goal was to control unruly patients “willing” to participate in Freeman’s surgical procedures, many endured what we can consider today as torture, cruelty, injustice and inhumanity, and basically just a clear violation of human rights.

Here’s my question: why is it that we as a country went without realizing the procedure of the medical frontal lobotomy was not recognized as a violation of human rights and medical ethics?

[Maybe] the Answer: Perhaps the only available answer to such a question would be that it was for the sake of science and knowledge. More importantly, if the Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948, how was it that only 4 years prior (between 1940 and 1944) over 600 frontal lobotomies were performed in the United States alone?

What are your thoughts?

 Below is the documentary of the practices of Walter Freeman.


happy remaining 6ish hours of your weekend,


happy thursday.

Posted: August 23, 2012 in whatnot and hooplah

I’d say good afternoon but it’s rather later than I thought, so Good Evening!

I’m Leslie and this blog will be for the purpose of sharing my own, personal, opinion and insight in regards to materials covered within and outside of my Anthropology 340 Global Health & Human Rights course during the current Fall semester at UNM. I look forward to posting often and creating a blogging environment in which myself and others can share their thoughts comfortably and with the understanding and respect of others.

A bit about myself…I am a Psychology major with a Concentration in Addiction Counseling at the University of New Mexico. My current minor is Evolutionary Anthropology and this course will be the last one required in regards to my minor. I live in Albuquerque, NM with my boyfriend, Cameron, and my dog, Jack. I work for UNM as well in the Communications Center working with student’s mainly concerning Financial Aid, Registration, and Admissions (among many other sectors of UNM). Once I graduate this upcoming year I am looking to work in a rehabilitation center to help those who are suffering from behavioral addictions and substance abuse.

I look forward to ranting about the goings on of the world to you and hope you will enjoy it too.