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Sunday 26 February 2006
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Dangerous myths and damaged angels

Dear Diary

I learnt to masturbate when I was 5 years old. It was only when I turned 8 that I discovered I could do it on my own.

Lucky me. It could have been a whole lot worse had HIV/AIDS been around at the time of my sexual abuse. I should be grateful that my encounter was not as horrific as what is happening to little children today because of the myth that HIV and AIDS can be cured by having sex with a young child.

Far from lucky was that baby girl who was brutally raped and sodomised in 2001. Nine month old Baby Tshepang, a nickname meaning "have hope". What hope?

Maybe the hope of mothers that it will never happen to their children as they sit by idly doing nothing to force the government to educate would-be perpetrators about the disease and help dispel the myths. And maybe it's the hope of the mothers who turn a blind eye while their husbands and male relatives rape their babies in the hope of being cured of a virus they seem to know nothing about.

Tshepang's rapist, her mother's ex boyfriend, was sentenced to life in prison for what the judge called the most gruesome violation of human rights he had ever ruled on. The baby was so badly injured that she underwent several operations after the rape.

Blood tests indicated that Tshepang's attacker was HIV-positive. So why give her the name "have hope", when little is offered in the way of solutions by a government which promises to establish a task force to search for answers that might help toddlers?

More than 21,000 cases of child rape were reported to the South African police in the year that Tshepang was raped. And with this dreadful disease affecting 15.2 percent of the country's 46 million population, one has to wonder how many other AIDS-related child rapes have gone unmentioned.

One day my neighbour found her older brother fondling me and I was scolded and told it was wrong in such accusatory tones that I never dared tell anyone.

End of that story. For me anyway.

Lucky me. I should be grateful that my encounter was not as horrific as what is still happening to little children because of the myth that HIV and AIDS can be cured by having sex with a young child.

Forever Positive

Hayden Horner
[email protected]

Previous Entry :: All Diary Entries :: Next Entry
Diary Entries
HIV/AIDS Coping Mechanisms: "What would a mayfly do?"
Beyond the Borders of HIV/AIDS Treatment Strategies
HIV/AIDS Feminisation: A new wine in an old bottle
Antiretrovirals - The Wind Beneath My Wings
The Mis-education of HIV/AIDS Clinicians
HIV Prevention 101: Ignoring the Church's views on condoms
Stigma and HIV/AIDS: lethal bedfellows
In remembrance of our women and children
Maids, madams and the "terrible thing"
Internet love and inter-related HIV-prejudice
Previously eyes-wide-shut on HIV and religion
Love, lies and disclosure
Black pot and blacker kettle
Things better left unsaid on the bus
Food for thought while waiting to die
Test results not all good
Diary speaks back
The truth about disclosure

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