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A Woman’s Pain in Intimate Partner Violence

As a woman, I lived through and survived intimate partner violence. I remember the day we met. He was so charming and sweet. After moving in with him, he was the perfect mate. Within six months, he started beating me every day. He sat in the parking lot of my job to see if I was leaving. When I arrived home, he had drugs sitting on the table. He prevented me from talking to my children and my family. He told me he was the only one that loved me, and he was protecting me from everyone. 

He told me he would kill me if I ever left him. I was afraid that he would act on his threats. Eventually, I had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized. The attending physician asked me if I would agree to take an HIV test. I said yes. The results came back positive for HIV, so I told him. He responded, “I told you I would kill you.” Upon my discharge from the hospital, I went back to him. I stayed for another six months and the beatings and my addiction grew worse. I finally left, and he came after me to kill me. If it hadn’t been for a friend, he would have succeeded in killing me. 

“The ongoing use or attempted use of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, economic, or other forms of abusive behavior with the intent to harm, threaten, intimidate, control, isolate, restrain, or monitor another person.”

My abuse and shame kept me away from my family and children for 15 years. During those years, I was homeless and addicted to drugs. I was a sex worker and went to prison. I asked my self how I allowed someone to treat me this way. My reason was I feared that he would do something to my children or family. 

For many years, I was abused by family and my mother. It does not just come from our mates; it also stemmed from an upbringing with abuse. No one believed me. I am sharing this story because intimate partner violence is real when it comes to women living with HIV.