December 1st is World AIDS Day. Now in case you’re wondering what this health observation is about, this event—which began in 1988—is held annually on the first of December and helps people around the world come together and take a stand against HIV, as well as to remember those who have passed away because of it (About, 2016).
According to the AVERT website, the first cases of AIDS began in 1981 with 270 AIDS cases, mostly amongst gay men, with which 121 of them died from. By the end of the 1980s, the U.S. had reached 100,000 AIDS cases, while about 145 countries reported 140,000 cases. By the end of the 1990s, there was over 307,000 cases reported, although it was estimated to be a million in the U.S. In the world however, it was estimated 8-10 million people lived with HIV (History, 2016).
Now today, as mentioned by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ AIDS website,in the US 39, 513 people were diagnosed with HIV, 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV (AIDS, 2016)and about 1 in 8 people doesn’t even know they have it (The Global, 2016) . In the world, it was found by the end of 2015, 36.7 million live with HIV/AIDS, while 2.1 million individuals have just contracted HIV (HIV, 2016).But there’s another reason why I am mentioning this….I just realized about two weeks ago I was sexually assaulted. I found it through a conversation me and my boyfriend were discussing about having sex and said when a woman has a penis (from a guy) go inside her for the first time, she will experience pressure. It then donned on me, that I had experienced from a guy I dated from January to February (I may talked about him many posts ago)! The thing was I told him, “no” many many times over for each time but he ended up declining my wishes each time and I ended up giving into him. This method that he used was called coercion. In this special case however, the assaulter uses this “to violate consent and gain control over someone”. Once they “break” the victim, the victim gives in. However, this does not mean the victim is saying “yes” on their own terms. As stated on the ConsentEd website, Coercion includes:
- Pressuring (e.g. repeatedly asking someone until they are worn down)
- Threatening (e.g. “I’ll break up with you if you don’t have sex with me.)
- Intimidating (e.g. smashing something when someone says “no”)
- Blackmailing (e.g. “I’ll tell everyone you’re gay if you don’t”)
- Guilt-Tripping (e.g. “If You really loved me you would have sex with me”).
I experienced “pressuring” and “guilt-tripping” from him and the way he did it was so, so…subtle. I know my experience isn’t like the ones you hear on the news where women are threatened with a gun or a knife to their chest or they were drugged or some guy grabbed them by their crotch. This was a guy I knew… who got me to perform sexual acts thay I told him I DID NOT want to engage with him. He convinced me that this (the sexual activities) is what I “wanted” what I and I should get more with other guys, so I experience more with him. And you know what the worst thing was? I actually believed him…well, more on the part that I wanted the sexual activity with him. Then on one event, I was laying down (on my stomach) his coach and with my pants down (he said he wanted to see my underwear). The next thing I knew, I felt this weird pressure inside me. The best way I can describe the feeling was like I was going to do #2, but instead it felt like #2 was going inside me. I turned around and was the guy sheepishly smiling as he was trying to insert the rest of his penis inside of me! Of course, I told him to get off and he actually did…surprisingly.
You know what it’s even the most surprising? I got a boyfriend! This guy I am seeing is the most sweetest, caring, awesome guy ever! And even luckier, I have a great little brother! How they responded to my story was very astonishing…they were very supportive. I thought they were going to shame me…that I should have known better, but they didn’t. In fact it was my brother who encouraged me to get tested for STI/HIV/AIDS Testing.
I have to admit I was weirded out how I had to get testing. I mean I never had sex before…well, until that part. So I went to my closest family planning clinic (I made an appointment) and got tested forever STIs and HIV. I was so pissed! I mean…. how could this happen?! Why did I have to pay the price to get tested, because some asshole decided it was okay to sexually assault me?! And I DID then think of all the things, I’d lose If I was diagnosed for HIV and/or STIs: Would I still be able to be with my boyfriend? Would we get married and have healthy kids together? Was I going to take medications for the rest of my life?! It wasn’t just enough that—that asshole was inside me and manipulated me to do things I didn’t wanna do, but now I gotta lose all the dreams and aspirations I had for myself?! I was f–kin’ pissed!!!! I’ve been trying my whole life to work on myself so, I can make up for my childhood as a result of growing up in a domestic abusive family in order to ensure myself and my future offspring will NEVER have to encounter that ever again.
The next thing I knew,I was in the doctor’s office. I had to do a urine sample for STIs and a small blood sample for the HIV testing. The doctor told me I would get the STIs results in about a week and my HIV testing well…in twenty minutes.
And surely enough, twenty minutes later, I got the results…HIV negative. Oh, thank God! Then as the week progressed, I got a negative results for any STIs! Yea!
In an article written by Dr. Dean Kilpatrick, about 40% of women who are recent sexual assault victims are more likely to worry about contracting HIV/AIDS, than the 10% of victims who had the event that happen to them much earlier. The same goes for the 43% of recent sexual assault victims who worry more about contracting STIs than the 19% percent of victims who had that event happen to them much earlier. As for the lower percentages of woman worry about contracting HIV/AIDS or STIs, can you blame them? Cause I sure can’t. I mean it has been 9 months since I have sexually assault and I was just trying to process just what the hell happened to me. If it wasn’t fact I talked my brother and he didn’t tell me to get tested, I might have not got tested at all. Even though I tested negative for both HIV/AIDS and STIs, I am glad I did get tested.
And this why I tell my story: if you or someone you know was sexually assault please get tested. Remember, 1 in 8 people don’t even know they’re living with it. I don’t care if the assault happened over 6 years ago or it happened 6 years ago do it. We didn’t deserve to have that event happen to us, but we do deserve to know overall health.
So, if you saw on the left side of my blog, I have new links one for sexual assault victims and their loved ones and the other to find the nearest clinic.
The first link from an organization called RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network). They are the largest American anti-sexual assault organization in the United States. The RAINN websites walks survivors through what they do after being sexually assault, both emotionally and physically. The online site also provides information to family and friends on how they should cope with their loved one’s event and how to support them too. RAINN also provides similar content in the Spanish version of their website, both providing 24/7 help via live chat or their phone hotline at 1-800-656-4673. If for some reason you cannot see this post later just click the RAINN banner and it will take you to their site where at the very top page you will see their “Get Help” live chat and phone hotline.
Lastly, you will see an AIDS Clinic Locator Widget also on the left column on blog similar to the one below:
Use is so you too can “Act Against AIDS” after a sexual assault or the sexual assault of your loved one (as well STIs).
For more information on RAINN in English or Spanish click on the links below:
About World AIDS. (2016) World AIDS Day. Retrieved from https://www.worldaidsday.org/about
Coercion. (2016) ConsentEd. Retrieved from http://www.consented.ca/consent/coercion/
History of HIV and AIDS Overview. (2016) AVERTing HIV and AIDS (AVERT). Retrieved from http://www.avert.org/professionals/history-hiv-aids/overview
The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic. (2016). AIDS.gov. Retrieved from https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/global-statistics/index.html
HIV In The United States: At A Glance. (2016) AIDS.gov. Retrieved from https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/statistics/index.html
Kilpatrick, D. (2000). The Mental Health Impact of Rape. Retrieved from https://mainweb-v.musc.edu/vawprevention/research/mentalimpact.shtml