Who decides to have sex? Exploring the perceptions of Timorese women and men through a reproductive justice lens

Journal article


Wallace, Heather Julie, McDonald, Susan, Belton, Suzanne, Isolina Miranda, Agueda, da Costa, Eurico, da Conceicao Matos, Livio, Henderson, Helen and Taft, Angela. (2020). Who decides to have sex? Exploring the perceptions of Timorese women and men through a reproductive justice lens. Culture, Health & Sexuality. 22(1), pp. 112-127. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2019.1578414
AuthorsWallace, Heather Julie, McDonald, Susan, Belton, Suzanne, Isolina Miranda, Agueda, da Costa, Eurico, da Conceicao Matos, Livio, Henderson, Helen and Taft, Angela
Abstract

Despite national policies to support sexual rights, Timorese women are constrained when making sexual and reproductive health decisions. Contextual understanding of sexual decision making is vital for effective engagement by sexual and reproductive health service providers with communities. An intersectional reproductive justice approach broadens the sexual rights lens allowing for an examination of multi-system factors impacting on sexual rights and health. Using the Matrix of Domination as a conceptual framework, we explored Timorese perceptions around decisions to have sex, and examined intersecting systems of oppression impacting on these decisions. Our study adopted a critical medical anthropological approach using ethnographic methods. A decolonising methodology aimed to make Timorese worldviews central to the analysis. Nine focus group discussions with 80 men and 17 individual reproductive history interviews with women were held in 4 of Timor-Leste’s 13 municipalities during October 2015. Findings suggest that decisions to have sex are framed in terms of wishes and rights; however, it was the perceived entitlements of men that were prioritised and predominantly men who made these decisions. Violence, coercion and unwanted pregnancies were linked to decisions about sex, and identified as potential consequences for women, impacting on women’s health and sexual rights.

KeywordsTimor-Leste; reproductive justice; reproductive rights; sexual relations
Year2020
JournalCulture, Health & Sexuality
Journal citation22 (1), pp. 112-127
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN1369-1058
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2019.1578414
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85062452186
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range112-127
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online26 Feb 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted31 Jan 2019
Deposited15 Jul 2021
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