Oh the feeling…gazing into each others eyes, butterflies in your stomach, the first person on your mind when you wake up in the morning, and all those other warm fuzzy feelings that people associate with love. Everyone wants to experience love. But remember, whatever your experience is with love, make sure it’s from a place of joy and not pain.
You see, I had it very twisted at one time in my life, I fell for the impostors of love. I mistook, misery and hurt for love. I thought control was love, I thought put-downs was love, I even thought physical abuse was love. I put my blinders on and dated those impostors because of the internal stigma that I harbored. I didn’t think no one would want to date me because I was living with HIV. I accepted the mistreatment and control because I didn’t think I was worthy. Even after being pushed out of a car resulting in bruised ribs and a broken spirit, I contemplating getting back with him. At that point I think my self-esteem was twisted and I didn’t see my value. Thank goodness my friend kept talking to me, “if you get back with him you might as well go to the roof of your house and jump off now.” I remembered the sadness in her eyes. I knew then that I had to do a lot of untwisting of my thoughts. I had to understand that my fear of losing my life should be much greater than my fear of being alone.
As a woman living with HIV, I am not alone in experiencing intimate partner violence. Studies have shown that women living with HIV are twice as likely to experience intimate partner violence and 5 times more likely to experience lifetime sexual assault than women in the general population. These statistics brings about a need for awareness of violence against women living with HIV, especially in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To spread that awareness, October 23rd, 2017 marks the fourth National Day of Action to End Against Violence Women Living with HIV. Why is that important you ask? Because women living with HIV suffer a lifetime of trauma and stress and are more likely to die from violence. https://pwn-usa.org/doa2015/doa2015factsheet/
It’s also important because women living with HIV are demanding that it be important, if we don’t, who will? It’s crucial that all women including women living with HIV no longer suffer or die at the hands of a violent partner. So, in October and every month and everyday, let’s all be more aware and don’t get it twisted love should never….ever hurt!
Quotes from Domestic Violence Survivors http://www.seethetriumph.org
“You are special and deserved to be loved, truly loved.”
“I’m strong as hell now. And no one will ever, ever hurt me again.”
“It’s hard at first…really hard. You may even question if leaving was the right decision. It was the right decision. After the shock, when the fog lifts, things will start to get easier.”
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233