Where Do We Go From Here?

There aren't anymore news coverages. The candles that once flickered in the wind have since been blown out and discarded. Cicely has been laid to rest. The sensationalism of her death has now been replaced by headlines reading, "NFL and Referees Union End Lockout!", sending people into a frenzy to buy their favorite team jersey or shopping for the best football game spread known to man! While time has passed, many of us have not forgotten that eventful day which changed many of our lives little over a month ago....Where do we go from here? I asked myself this very question. So a decision was made with the help of the HIV community in Dallas to hold a community discussion entitled, "The Cost of Disclosure." The meeting focused on disclosure, stigma, HIV criminalization, reproductive justice and advocacy. As the meeting began, I looked around and saw there was standing room only. Many who were in attendence were people like Cicely, like me, voicing their concerns and listening intensively to the panel of experts hoping to find comfort in a world that criminalizes people because of their status...Huh, being an African-American woman, it brings back memories from long ago when Blacks suffered the same persecution because of the color of our skin. All driven by ingnorance...Stigma! As of this date, many emails and phone calls have been made to those who are of authority and those who are in postions to change policies have returned void. It's election year! So many issues have now taken a backseat, pushed yet again to the wayside and replaced with "Fundraising Galas" costing more than what common folk can afford and who will most likely not be in attendence or invited. Yet, I still ask, "Where do we go from here?" I don't have all the answers. I don't profess to. But what I do know is this, to not allow violence against women to be an acceptable occurance, fight to amend laws that will carry stiffer penalties for violence against positive and negative women and educating women on their reproductive health and rights. Don't allow another woman to die another senseless death. So again, I ask YOU now, "Where do we go from here?" Peace and Love!

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msplusamerica2011's picture

KeKe: When somebody is murdered its senseless. It is "alleged" Cicely told him she was positive after having sex. Let's understand these words are coming from a MURDERER! Cicely is not here to defend herself. We may never know the truth.

We forgot, this man is the one who should be on trial. Not Cicely and the only reason why she is because she was HIV positive and society has allowed the villianization of positive people to be ok when essentially we haven't done anything wrong or different.

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Negest J Rucker's picture

I am sorry, but I don't understand what you mean by criminalization of HIV positive people. If someone has a sexually transmitted disease and they knowingly engage in certain behavior that could cause someone else to be infected are they doing something wrong? Or are you saying that such behavior is OK? When we educate people to "know their status" are we in fact saying "know your status and keep it to yourself" or are we saying "know your status and discuss it with your partner".

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Keke's picture

I'm SO tired of ya'll saying a senseless death as if what this woman (Cicely) did was right or justified. She slept with a man unprotected and then told him she was HIV positive. That's not right and her family, people like you, and anybody else condoning what she did needs to realize that and accept it. I'm in no way saying what Larry did was right, because no one should play GOD and take a life; however if ya'll are going to try to protect her name (after she knowingly slept with someone unprotected) then at least try to understand why he did what he did.

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Angi's picture

Keke ... THAT MAN no matter what should have wrapped it up ! and on top of it all he is married ... please ! U can not put the blame on her for his own life ... Regardless when she told him u are too approach ANY sexual partner like they have H.I.V /A.I.D.S . I dont see anywhere this lady is condoning What Cicely did what I do see is a expression of a SENSELESS death which this was .. Larry FIRST off shouldn't have been cheating on his wife SECONDLY he should have wore a condom ... anyways any one taking another life is senseless .. If he used his brain there is a morning after pill for H.I.V ... R.I.P Cicely Bolden ... at first when I read her story I felt the same way as Keke but I had to sit back n think HE IS RESPONSIBLE for his own life .. granted IF IT HAPPENED the way he said it did .. Yes she is wrong but that didn't give him a right too take her life ! Through this whole ordeal I feel the most hurt for the children and pray that they heal from this ...

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jae001's picture

I am torn... I really am. It sickens me that this guy killed this woman. It really does! if anyone says she was asking for it is an Idiot. I am trying to get a picture of your opinion on criminalizing people that do not disclose their status.

But lets say she wasn't killed... humor me...
Lets say she was put in jail, for attempt murder... She would be taken away from her family because she didn't disclose. Lets go one further, say she infected him. . . I know its improbable, but it's not impossiable.
I know some women, some women that are our sisters here on A Girl Like me, that were infected by men that did it on pourpose, or because they didn't care. I feel that they need to be locked up for what they did. They infected somone on pourpose...
Should we be accountable for our actions? They had unportected sex with someone they trusted...and the person they trusted gave them this death sentance.
I don't have the answers... I am just wondering

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msplusamerica2011's picture

When I was 24 years old, I was in a relationship with someone who I thought loved me. So I thought. The funny thing is, he infected me. Did I ever think he should go to jail? No. He did eventually go to jail for 25 years for trying to molest my daughter. After finding out about my diagnosis and eventually finding out he was the one who infected me, I was not angry about my circumstance. I was more concerned that he could have infected my child. I was enraged at the thought of this notion.

After further education on stigma and ignorance, I've learned to look beyond behaviors. There are reasons why people do what they do. He didn't wake up one day and say he was going to be a child molester. Something happened in his life. Its tragic. As far as the infection, I'm sure he knew. He had been in prison before and they test before being released. Stigma keeps people from sharing their diagnosis for fear of not being loved and rejection. We cannot live without love.

Though I am not condoning his actions, I have to take personal responsibility in my own actions. I didn't know about his past and didnt ask. I just wanted to be loved by someone.

HIV criminalization laws need to be more specific about intent and not merely qualifying persons due to HIV diagnosis.

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Mismaymaii's picture

Hi Michelle, I love your post and I love the fact that you are not mad at the world for what this man has done to you and your daughter. He has changed your life forever, but you still seem to be humble. It is people like you that we need because there are those who are mad at the world. I applaud you and I hope that your good attitude can be an example for many!

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Connie's picture

I think where I have a problem is the callous and cold way he explained his decision to kill the woman he'd supposedly had affection for. He admitted to the murder and declared "she killed me so I killed her" Immediately he took her disclosure as a death sentence. This shows me that there are still so many facts around HIV/AIDS that have not been clearly understood in our (African American) communities. As someone mentioned earlier it very rare for a woman to infect a man and if her viral load was undetected the chances of her infected him would have been very low. I doubt that this man or scores of others know these facts. Ignorance killed Cicely......

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Mismaii's picture

This situation is sad and unfortunate! It is always easier to blame someone else for wrong doing, instead of looking at the man in the mirror. In the world today when you meet someone, you have to assume that they could be infected. It is unfortunate that Larry is in prison because of his cheating. He was married with a family and should have been home with them, instead of cheating on his wife. If anyone is going to cheat on their spouse, wear protection! If you are married and going to cheat, why even be married? I know we all make mistakes at some point in our lives, but a little common sense can go along way. As for Cicely, I am sadden that she was murdered and her children are the one's suffereing (Dunns wife & kids too), but people must not spread their disease on purpose! We have to love one another as GOD intended when HE made us. The bottom line is, you have to love yourself more and remember that trust is just a 5 letter word, so trust in yourself more then what you would do your partner.

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msplusamerica2011's picture

If someone has another form of an STD, are they also criminalized for transmission? Of course not. Does everyone share their STD diagnosis? Of course not.... I do not condone a person's action for not sharing their status, however, at times it takes two people to engage in sex and each role carries a responsibility to protect themselves and should not lie soley on the person infected. Everyone is not going to tell or get tested because of stigma.

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KeKe's picture

As I stated in my comment above....YES Larry should have been wearing protection, and yes he shouldn't have been cheating on his wife, and yes he was wrong for taking Cicely's life; HOWEVER, Cicely- was she wrong for even sleeping with a married man- YES, was she wrong for having unprotected sex- YES, was she wrong for NOT disclosing the fact that she had HIV PRIOR to having unprotected sex with this man- YES! Both were wrong in there actions and both have been punished in there own way. Cicely's actions were WRONG, deceitful and very degrading! She should have disclosed that information PRIOR to doing anything with anybody. The least she could of did was made him use protection since she didn't have enough decency to stop and say I have hiv and let this man make the decision of whether or not he wanted to take that risk. You can not go around playing with people's lives like that. Judging from her fb Larry most likely isn't the only one that she has done this too. She was hurt, mad, and ready for revenge. The fact still stands that Cicely had unprotected sex with this man while knowingly being infected with HIV. What I am gathering from this author (Michelle is that she feels that it's ok to have HIV and not disclose it because of what could possibly happen, BUT it's wrong for someone to react violently towards that person after such information is disclosed AFTER numerous times of unprotected sex with someone!? Seriously!? If you tell someone before you have sex or get intimate then they have nothing to be mad about and you did your part by telling them and now they can make there own decisions from there. But yes, if you decide that your going to have sex with them unprotected and THEN tell them, then yes things like this can and will happen. Again, I'm not saying what Larry did was right but I understand! I gather that this is a blog for women that have been infected (i'm guessing) and that you are all here to support one another on your new journey in life and I support and commend you for that. What I don't understand is how can you support the fact that Cicley's actions were ok and send a message to other's that you shouldn't disclose your status because things like this case can happen (which is exactly what your saying). Again, if you tell someone before hand they have nothing to be mad about. Cicely DID NOT disclose this information to this man and she paid the price for it. Had she told him BEFORE having unprotected sex with him there is no way this man would have stayed and slept with this woman unprotected!

@Michelle....I LOVE your positiveness and attitude towards your new life, but let's be honest here...you can not tell me that you were not angry and upset at this man and wanted him to suffer in some kind of way after finding out that he infected you? I also want believe that you were not always this positive about your new life because something like that takes time to get over and heal from. It's only natural for you to be that way (same as Larry); however you made a wise decision to not react on those feelings and use it as an opportunity to help others and to accept your new life and move forward. Unfortunately for Larry, he did not. Same situation different reactions. Peace and blessings to you all!

P.S.- In reply to your post to me...her best friend confirmed that yes Cicely did have unprotected sex with him "a few" times before telling him. Some of her other family and friends did as well, but in there words "that still didn't give him the right to kill her".

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msplusamerica2011's picture

I've never condoned Cicely's action. I don't know about her relationship with him nor was I in the bedroom every time they had sex. There are three sides to every story; Cicely's, Mr. Dunn and the truth.
My struggle with my own diagnosis was life changing. People weren't going to jail for infecting another. The thought never crossed my mind about sending him to jail because I didn't know he was the one who infected me until many years later after seeing him walk into a service organization who caters to HIV positive people. Even then I did not think he should go to jail upon finding out. It never crossed my mind to prosecute. Why? Is it going to change my diagnosis? History proves prison does not rehabilitate. And sending him to prison is going to do what?

They both were in a relationship that should have never been. They both held the same level of responsibility to protect themselves. I refuse to blame Cicely as the sole responsible party.

What I am saying is this: People are not always going to be honest about their status or other STD infection. It is up to us to protect ourselves by using condoms and knowledge of HIV/STD's. Shaming and blaming does nothing more than fuel stigma.

I don't put stock into what other people say about what happened. Everyone has an opinion and you know the rest of the saying.. What I do have is a platform to not allow what happened to Cicely happen again by creating discussions such as this.

If Cicely did not disclose her status, she did not deserve to die!

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msplusamerica2011's picture

The notion did cross my mind if my own daughter became infected by this man. I had to cease and assess, regain myself and seek out answers from other leaders in my community. If he had infected my child due to molestation, my heart said he needs to pay for what he did to my child not me. I had a choice. An eleven year old child does not.

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