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My Views on HIV Criminalization

There are three problems with this. Firstly, HIV experts from around the world concluded that HIV criminalization does nothing to stop the spreading of the virus; instead, these type of laws actually undermine the public health goal of promoting HIV screening and treatment.

If this law should be implemented in Jamaica, people will be even more afraid of knowing their status by implying that sexually active HIV positive people can go to prison if the virus has been transmitted to another.

Secondly, the laws are unjust and counterproductive, stigma and discrimination already surrounds HIV so turning every sexual encounter by positive individuals into a possible criminal act will only add to more shame and stigmatization.

Thirdly, most irritant (to my mind), the laws are simply bad science; most have not been updated since the early 90’s and thus reflect an almost laughable misunderstanding of the virus.

Sex always entails some level of risk. A risk we all are responsible for protecting ourselves against. In a perfect world, the disclosure discussion would precede every sexual encounter, but this isn’t a perfect world.

We will not make it better by locking away people under obsolete law rooted in uncontrollable emotion hysteria, negative attitude and feelings towards homosexuality and junk science.

By: JCW+ Participant

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Letting Go of Shame

Sophie Strachen

Many of us were victimized, sometimes more than once. We may have been physically abused, sexually abused, or exploited by the addictions of another.
Understand that if another person has abused us, it is not cause for us to feel shame. The guilt for the act of abuse belongs to the perpetrator, not the victim.
Even if in recovery we fall prey to being victimized, that is not cause for shame.
The goal of recovery is learning self-care, learning to free ourselves from victimization, and not to blame ourselves for past experiences. The goal is to arm ourselves so we do not continue to be victimized due to the shame and unresolved feelings from the original victimization.
We each have our own work, our issues, our recovery tasks. One of those tasks is to stop pointing our finger at the perpetrator, because it distracts us. Although we hold each person responsible and accountable for his or her behavior, we learn compassion for the perpetrator. We understand that many forces have come into play in that person’s life. At the same time, we do not hold on to shame.
We learn to understand the role we played in our victimization, how we fell into that role and did not rescue ourselves. But that is information to arm us so that it need not happen again.
Let go of victim shame. We have issues and tasks, but our issue is not to feel guilty and wrong because we have been victimized.
Today, I will set myself free from any victim shame I may be harboring or hanging on to.

Letting Our Anger Out

Sophie Strachen

It’s okay to be angry, but it isn’t healthy to be resentful. Regardless of what we learned as children, no matter what we saw role-modeled, we can learn to deal with our anger in ways that are healthy for us and for those around us. We can have our angry feelings. We can connect with them, own them, feel them, express them, release them, and be done with them.
We can learn to listen to what anger is telling us about what we want and need in order to take care of ourselves.
Sometimes we can even indulge in angry feelings that aren’t justified. Feelings are just feelings; there is no morality in the feeling, only in our behavior. We can feel angry without hurting or abusing others or ourselves. We can learn to deal with anger in ways that benefit our relationships instead of ways that harm them.
If we don’t feel our angry feelings today, we will need to face them tomorrow.
Today, I will let myself feel my anger. I will express my anger appropriately, without guilt. Then I will be done with it.

Holding Your Own

Trust yourself. Trust what you know.
Sometimes, it is hard to stand in our own truth and trust what we know, especially when others would try to convince us otherwise.
In these cases, others may be dealing with issues of guilt and shame. They may have their own agenda. They may be immersed in denial. They would like us to believe that we do not know what we know; they would like us not to trust ourselves; they would prefer to engage us in their nonsense.
We don’t have to forfeit our truth or our power to others. That is codependency.
Believing lies is dangerous. When we stop trusting our truth, when we repress our instincts, when we tell ourselves there must be something wrong with us for feeling what we feel or believing what we believe, we deal a deadly blow to our self and our health.
When we discount that important part of ourselves that knows what is the truth, we cut ourselves off from our center. We feel crazy. We get into shame, fear, and confusion. We can’t get our bearings when we allow someone to pull the rug from under us.
This does not mean that we are never wrong. But we are not always wrong.
Be open. Stand in our truth. Trust what you know. And refuse to buy into denial, nonsense, bullying, or coercion that would like to take you off course.
Ask to be shown the truth, clearly—not by the person trying to manipulate or convince you, but by yourself, your Higher Power, and the Universe.
Today, I will trust my truth, my instincts, and my ability to ground myself in reality. I will not allow myself to be swayed by bullying, manipulating, games, dishonesty, or people with peculiar agendas

Being Honest with Ourselves

Sophie Strachen

Our relationship with ourselves is the most important relationship we need to maintain. The quality of that relationship will determine the quality of our other relationships.
When we can tell ourselves how we feel, and accept our feelings, we can tell others.
When we can accept what we want and need, we will be ready to have our wants and needs met.
When we can accept what we think and believe, and accept what’s important to us, we can relay this to others.
When we learn to take ourselves seriously, others will too.
When we learn to chuckle at ourselves, we will be ready to laugh with others.
When we have learned to trust ourselves, we will be trustworthy and ready to trust.
When we can be grateful for who we are, we will have achieved self-love.
When we have achieved self-love and accepted our wants and needs, we will be ready to give and receive love.
When we’ve learned to stand on our own two feet, we’re ready to stand next to someone.
Today, I will focus on having a good relationship with myself.

Taking Care of Ourselves

Taking Care of Ourselves

It’s healthy, wise, and loving to be considerate and responsive to the feelings and needs of others. That’s different from caretaking. Caretaking is a self-defeating and, certainly, a relationship-defeating behavior—a behavior that backfires and can cause us to feel resentful and victimized—because ultimately, what we feel, want, and need will come to the surface.
Some people seem to invite emotional caretaking. We can learn to refuse the invitation. We can be concerned; we can be loving, when possible; but we can place value on our own needs and feelings too. Part of recovery means learning to pay attention to, and place importance on, what we feel, want, and need, because we begin to see that there are clear, predictable, and usually undesirable consequences when we don’t.
Be patient and gentle with yourself as you learn to do this. Be understanding with yourself when you slip back into the old behavior of emotional caretaking and self-neglect.
But stop the cycle today. We do not have to feel responsible for others. We do not have to feel guilty about not feeling responsible for others. We can even learn to let ourselves feel good about taking responsibility for our needs and feelings.
Today, I will evaluate whether I’ve slipped into my old behavior of taking responsibility for another’s feelings and needs, while neglecting my own. I will own my power, right, and responsibility to place value on myself.

Recovery

 

How easy it is to blame our problems on others. “Look at what he’s doing.”… “Look how long I’ve waited.”… “Why doesn’t she call?”… “If only he’d change then I’d be happy.”…
Often, our accusations are justified. We probably are feeling hurt and frustrated. In those moments, we may begin to believe that the solution to our pain and frustration is getting the other person to do what we want, or having the outcome we desire. But these self-defeating illusions put the power and control of our life in other people’s hands. We call this codependency.
The solution to our pain and frustration, however valid, is to acknowledge our own feelings. We feel the anger, the grief; then we let go of the feelings and find peace—within ourselves. We know our happiness isn’t controlled by another person, even though we may have convinced ourselves it is. We call this acceptance.
Then we decide that although we’d like our situation to be different, maybe our life is happening this way for a reason. Maybe there is a higher purpose and plan in play, one that’s better than we could have orchestrated. We call this faith.
Then we decide what we need to do, what is within our power to do to take care of ourselves. That’s called recovery.
It’s easy to point our finger at another, but it’s more rewarding to gently point it at ourselves.
Today, I will live with my pain and frustration by dealing with my own feelings.

Sophie Strachan

Murderer!!

You mister murderer! I would like to know what you get from killing women and children?

You make me question why it is so hard for you to just kill yourself when you are obviously the one with the problem. I am not willing to have you go to prison to eat MY money!

How would you feel if someone kill your family or child?

Please have a heart and stop for a minute. Look back on your life and think before you act.

God is watching you!

Contributed, A mother