Patrick (named changed to protect identity) met a girl on the streets of Tintswalo, a rural township in South Africa, after visiting his uncle during the school holidays. He proposed his love to her, and she gladly accepted it on the spot. “She had all the beauty in all the right places,” Patrick said. The eighteen-year-old has never used a condom since he becoming sexually active at the age of fifteen. “Sex with a condom is like eating an unpeeled banana,” he explained, raising his voice. “Skin on skin is hot and heavy,” he continued.
According a counselor at LoveLife youth centre in Acornhoek, South Africa, Patrick is just many of the men who don’t believe in using condoms. “ Most people don’t believe in using condoms because they think they won’t catch the HIV/AIDS virus,” said Hosana Mnisi, seated in her counseling room where she tests people for their HIV status. “This is sad because we are losing many of our sisters and brother in the process. People want to believe that there is AIDS once they have proof and that proof comes after they test HIV positive.”
Statistics by the UNAIDS indicates that, South Africa has an estimated 5.5 million people living with HIV virus, the highest total of any country. About 1000 people die each day.
A month passed by without him laying eyes on his princess. Eventually, he went out with his friends on a boy’s night out, and he saw her shaking it on the dance floor at a tavern.
Patrick approached his girl and asked her to go home with him, but she refused. “Duties needed to be fulfilled, so I forced her by slapping her on the face and I pulled her outside of the shebeen (tavern),” Patrick said. He then went home with the girl and handled his business.
According to the police, Patrick’s actions could have landed him in jail. “In any situation where a by woman is forced against her will to have sex, it is considered by the law to be rape, but unfortunately some women don’t report such cases because this is usually done to them by their boyfriends or husbands, ” says Police Inspector Mathebula of the Domestic Violence Unit at Acornhoek. “If a woman says no, men must understand that she means no! This a huge problem around here because most men don’t respect their women!”
Research by the analysis of the South African police service Annual Crime Statistics report indicates that – in South Africa - a woman is raped every ten minutes, and that one is beaten up every four minutes.” Furthermore, Institute for Security Studies, one out of every three women in South Africa?? will be raped or suffer violent crime in their lifetime. Moreover, one out of every two women suffer from domestic violence. And if those statistics are not frightening enough, only 1 in 25 rapists is convicted.
The girl never laid a charge of rape against Patrick, but something else caught up with him. After a few days, he started to feel a burn on his manhood when he urinated. The pain become stronger as days went by, and he started to develop a discharge. Any move he made was like stepping on fire. “It was like someone was choking my manhood,” he explained.
Patrick was not keen on going to the hospital, saying that their medicine was not effective enough. He had a Sangoma (traditional healer) aunt, but he was too afraid to ask for her help. “It’s almost impossible to tell your elders that you are hitting it,” he said, laughing. “My aunt thought of me as this young and innocent young man who was still virgin as far as she was concerned, I couldn’t tell her that I was not all of that. Every parent thinks of their kids as these young and innocent beings, if they knew what we got up to everyday out there, they would faint.”
Patrick did not fool his Aunt Helen, the Sangoma. She saw through his funny walk, baggy pants and odd sleeping schedule. “I deal with his type everyday,” she said. “Western medication can control the pain from STI’s, but it can not completely cure it. Many people come to us because traditional healers have a cure for this kind of a problem.”
Eventually, Patrick gave in and asked for help, and his aunt gave him a 2 litre bottle of Muthi (traditional medicine), which he drank everyday for a month.
Revenge was all Patrick could think about when he thought of his girl who infected him the STI disease. He went in search of her until he found her. He conned her into going home with him to his uncle’s house where he locked his room, took out a hammer and hammered her ribs and used a plier to pull her fingers and toes. She cried and denied that she infected him, but he wanted to teach her a lesson. “No one messes with me and gets away with it,” Patrick said confidently.
It was Patrick’s mistake,? for he thought the girl would take it lying down, but she didn’t. The girl went and reported him to her bother. The brother several of his friends ensured that Patrick received a beating that put him in hospital. Until this day, Patrick is afraid to show his face in Tinswalo.