New saga of Myanmar victims: Wives of Tatmadaw

HIV test and treat female team bails out of Myanmar

According to Sandra Sandra Ellingsworth, a Sydney, Australia-based spokesperson for the RINJ Foundation, the group has pulled its HIV test and treat teams out of Myanmar, The group has been offering free HIV tests to women and children who suspect they have been infected by husbands or boy friends involved in the rape of thousands of women and girls and boys in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. The outcome of this has been the male contacts being brought to a clinic by their female partner or given a simple self test to be administered at home.

by Sharon Santiago

There is a whole new saga of women victims in Myanmar. But these are not Rohingya Muslims, they are the wives and girl friends of Myanmar soldiers.

They are the wives, girl friends and even the young sisters, according to anecdotal and test evidence, becoming infected with sexually transmitted disease by soldiers who raped the same girl or woman their unhealthy mates had raped thus infecting them. This refers to Myanmar soldiers raping Rohingya women in Rakhine  province of Myanmar, “sharing disease among each other after infecting their mates’ next rape victim”, is how Ellingsworth put it.

When asked about the outcome of testing in Myanmar, Ellingsworth said the outbreak over the past five years has accelerated.

“We suspect that soldiers were sharing several diseases including syphilis, HBV (Hepatitis B), HIV-1 and HIV-2. with their colleagues by raping the same women and children and sharing their own diseases across the spectrum of troops and their continuing replacements driving the genocidal attacks on the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar,” said Ellingsworth.

Photo Credit:  Adam Jones Tatmadaw (Armed Forces)  “Crush All Those Harming the Union” – Sign outside Mandalay Palace – Mandalay – Myanmar.  Harming the Union seems to refer to people considered to be of the wrong racial minorities.

“We have not done a detailed analysis of the spread patterns, and that may be impossible, as the primary goal was to get the spread under control. In any case, the Myanmar military knew eventually that we were there; they felt alarm that this could be an embarrassment for the Myanmar ‘Tatmadaw’ army; and had begun harassing medical frontliners, accusing them of being us,” she added. “They alleged they/we were attached to a group called the Arakan Army, which is a rebel militia seeking autonomy for the Rakhine State of Myanmar.”

“But that wasn’t our main reason for leaving. The military and the country has always been run by authoritarian generals who are in my opinion, murderous beasts. We did an evaluation and decided that our data indicated a dire problem; something like 12% of young people under 21 were infected with either syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital warts, HIV or HBV and that HIV was spreading wildly within the military families now, in most of the country. This usually indicates that the soldiers have been raping the same women and girls repeatedly. Rape often entails a transfer of blood and other fluids and no protection against infection.”

“We have seen this phenomenon before among militias in middle eastern Asia like Al Qaeda, Wagner Group, Slavonic Corps., Ahrar ash-Sham, the Nusra Front, Peshmerga, People’s Worker Party, ISIS, etceteras.

“Not so much in an entire army but say in small units, the spread of disease among the men who have had sexual relationships with the same persons usually points to rape if there has concomitantly been the takeover of a town or a village. They not named on a list but enumerated as a result of a proliferation of positive tests for sexually transmitted diseases among them and something is done to help unit leaders or health care providers within their midst to address the epidemic with treatments. Normally this is handled in silence.

“Some of these Tatmadaw men have been untreated, infected, carriers for years. They end up spreading their disease to their mates following the pillaging of a town and the raping of its people.

“Among the thousands of warring militias around the world, rape is considered a spoil of war and some kind of perverted ‘badge-of-honour’. In this day and age, the quality of recruits and the health care provided them is from the bottom of the genetic cesspool of humankind. We have run into the worst of the worst recruited by the Americans in Yemen. And the number of positive tests among militia members employed by the Americans near Manbij, a city in the northeast of Aleppo Governorate, was staggering.”

“Myanmar has a high growth rate of HIV infection, since 2016, among military service personnel. They brought their disease to Rakhine and ended up giving it to more of each other. That is our finding. Our work was done, so we left rather than get into more skirmishes with these men,” Sandra explained.

In Chin, Daignet, Mro, Rakhine, and Rohingya, there are racial minorities like the Thetkama who are somewhat like the Chatma, quasi-Indian or Burmese. The Tatmadaw  have been randomly imprisoning, raping or just murdering on sight any of these small minoriity groups they claim are invaders to their country, according to Ellingsworth and her colleagues.