Blind Spots

My sisters like abusive relationships. No matter how many shattered phones, empty bank accounts, bruised eyes & egos they suffer, they keep making their abusers their #MCM.

The sisters I’m talking about don’t share DNA with each other. So I don’t think it’s hereditary. They both have other sisters that don’t tolerate the foolishness so I can’t necessarily say it’s environmental. But it scares me.

I was judging them for this weakness until I realized I had a blind spot of my own. Last week I accidentally discovered that someone I’ve been getting to know, has a whole wife and child they neglected to tell me about. I wanted to be big mad, but I realized I never asked. I guess I have this naïveté that unavailable men know their availability better than I, and would not approach me or entertain me if they’re unavailable.

This isn’t the first unavailable man I found myself thankful to have done no more than converse with in the short 3-4 years I’ve been living here. Both times, I knew internally something about our interactions felt; limited. This blind spot of mine is just as dangerous as that of my sisters’.

April is STD Awareness Month. In October I focused heavily on how Daddy Issues can attribute to Intimate Partner Violence, but we often avoid the awkward elephant in the room, STDs. A 2010 finding from the National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) indicates that 35.6% of women in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Additionally, it states “Women in relationships with violence have four times the risk of contracting STIs, including HIV, than women in relationships without violence.

For my sister who continues to return to the abuser who has blackened her eye and tore up her place, I asked what she had witnessed in the home. Our other sister, who grew up in the home with her, assured me their mother wasn’t physically abused, so she too is confused by her acceptance of such treatment.

My other sister I’m not so sure about. Maybe she keeps letting him back in for the kids. Maybe they both do.

I wonder if growing up around these violent relationships will make my nieces four times more at risk of contracting STIs, including HIV, by choosing men like their Daddies.

I know one thing. Unlike Tara & Amina, I’m not interested in sharing anyone’s husband and all of the possible STIs that come along with him.

I used to feel bad that I couldn’t convince my sisters to be strong enough to leave their abusers. I’m not so pushy anymore, but I’m even more concerned about their health than before. And definitely more aware of mine.

Whether your blind spot is unavailable men, or being too available to the same man who’s already hurt you; keep your sexual, physical and mental health in mind. Get tested.

When it comes to what goes on in your body, don’t be blind.

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