Ask a Geto Boy: My Boyfriend Refuses to Get Tested for STDs
Dear Willie D:
I'm a teacher at an inner-city high school who has been cursed out, pushed and had my life threatened by students, all in the past week. There is no accountability for unruly students, nor do incompetent teachers have to answer for underperforming.
I have tried implementing programs to assist my kids with learning and anger management, but my hands end up tied again and again by the principal and those with administrative powers, such as the superintendent.
The kids have issues, but most of them really aren't bad. They're just dealing with bad situations at home. Students have come to me with stories of sexual abuse, going to bed hungry, being beaten by their mother and shot at or pistol-whipped. Many of them have never met their fathers. So when I come into contact with them, I'm sympathetic and patient with the problems they face. But I'm not a pushover. I'm firm but I'm fair.
I love my students and have gone out of my way to provide money for field trips, food and senior fees. Many of them want a better life, but some of them are so beaten they seemed to have given up and lost hope. One student told me, why should he try to do the right thing when the government is building prisons with him in mind. How do I answer that, knowing he's right?
I told one boy to watch his mouth the other day and he promptly told me to kiss his you-know-what. I wrote him up, he went to the office, and before the bell rang for the next period he was sitting in my class cursing again. How am I supposed to have order in my class and teach the kids who are there to learn when I don't have any authority over my own classroom?
I'm contemplating a transfer to a school where I can just go to work, collect my check and go home. I'm tired of being a counselor, a boxing referee and a punching bag. If I leave, I know these kids won't have anyone in their corner fighting for them, but at this point I need someone to fight for me.
From what I understand, you had a similar experience growing up but you were able to make it through and do well for yourself. How did your educators reach you or did someone else inspire you?
Children do and say whatever you let them get away with. Growing up, if I thought I could walk into a bank, reach over the counter, take a fistful of money and get away with it, I would be the most decorated bank robber of all time. When I was growing up, it didn't matter how hard your life was at home. If an adult "thought" you were being disrespectful or heard you cursing, that was grounds for an automatic beatdown.
The person whipping you could have been your uncle, your grandmother, a neighbor or a stranger. Grown folks came together and backed each other to raise children in those days, so the adults who reared my generation didn't have those problems. Kids today don't fear anything because the adults don't back each other. In my opinion, many of today's adults are just spineless cowards.
My educators reached me with consequences and repercussions. When my high school assistant principal Mr. Horn expelled me for fighting two months before graduation, the head principal backed him up. There was no grievance hearing or debate. They made an example out of me, and the other would-be bad actors were put on notice and fell in line.
I'm not a proponent of beating children. I believe in setting boundaries, and when they cross those boundaries they should be penalized again and again until they get it right. That is the way it works in the real world, and that is what we have better be preparing them for because the real world will not be so sympathetic.
TESTING MY BOYFRIEND FOR STDs
Dear Willie D:
My boyfriend was a bit of a player when we met. Like most girls, I wanted to be the one to conquer the guy that all the girls wanted and make him settle down. Everything was good for the first couple of years. I felt safe with him and considered him to be a faithful boyfriend.
Recently he's been acting in ways inconsistent with being in a monogamous relationship. He has been staying out late at night, he's less affectionate towards me, and he has become argumentative. He also keeps his cell phone with him at all times, even when he's in the bathroom, which he never used to do.
Knowing all of this, I asked him to go with me to get tested for STDs, specifically AIDS. As expected, he was offended and told me, "If you don't trust me, why are you with me?"
That's a good question. Why do us women stay in relationships with men we don't trust? I no longer feel safe sexually with him and he refuses to get tested. Should that be a dealbreaker and a sign for me to move on?
Women stay in relationships with men they don't trust for the same reasons men stay in relationships with women they don't trust: good sex, money, the kids, familiarity, habit, etc.
Sometimes people become moody and aloof in relationships. It could be a sign that they're being unfaithful, but it could also mean a number of other things. For example, a person in a long-term relationship might feel burdened by accountability pressures in the relationship so to prove they're in charge of their own life they might purposely come home late or password protect their cellphone from their spouse.
Since getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases is so important to you -- and it should be -- it would have been to your advantage to get tested before you had sex the first time and the relationship got serious. That way you could have gotten an understanding out of the gate and agreed to get tested together once or twice a year.
Your boyfriend's actions are questionable, but his refusal to take an AIDS test is not proof that he's cheating on you or that he no longer loves you. Your distrust of him is as conspicuous as a lion sitting on your living room sofa eating a bologna sandwich. Move on if you wish, but before you, do know your status.
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