(Trigger/Content warning: This post contains references to abuse that readers may find to be triggering.) I was just a teenager when my mother died. We both had AIDS, but I was stronger than she was. She was always sick even though she tried to fight. I was sick sometimes, but I was often well enough to attend school. But when my mother died, I could no longer attend school. I did not have money and no one wanted me to live with them because I had AIDS.
I decided to leave the village and move into town. I found a very nice family that let me work for them as a maid. The wife was a nurse and was educated about HIV/AIDS, so she was not worried about my status. The husband was a businessman and earned a good salary so they paid me well. The children were very sweet and I loved playing with them. There was a clinic only two hours away where I could get my HIV medication and did not have to travel for nearly a day like when my mother and I lived in the village. I missed my mother, but things were going very well and I was happy.
After I had worked there for about a year, one Sunday, my boss, the lady of the house decided to go to the market with the children. I stayed home to clean. Her husband was upstairs sleeping, so he did not go with them. She told me to be quiet so that I would not wake him.
I was quiet. But he still woke up.At around one p.m. he came out calling, asking me, "where are you?" I shouted, "I am here sir." He said, "I am hungry. Please make some food."
I prepared the food and brought it to him in the bedroom. I placed the food on the table and the next minute he was all over me.
When he finished, he said if I told anyone what happened he would fire me.
I was scared. I wanted to tell the wife, but what if she didn't believe me? I needed my job. I had no place to live and I had no family. I needed a way to pay for my medication. I had no choice but to eat the secret and remain quiet.
Unfortunately, now that it had started, it did not stop. He raped me many other times over the course of the next year - almost every time he and I were alone at home, which was often because the wife had to travel to her hometown several weekends a month to care for her elder brother who had become very ill.
I finally quit when I became pregnant by him. He wanted to force me to get abortion so that his wife would not know about us. I refused. I did not tell the wife what happened because she is a good woman and it would hurt her. I told her that I had found a boyfriend and wanted to leave my job to go be with him.
I have no family in this world except my daughter. She is beautiful. She does not have HIV.
I have had trouble finding work, but I will not give up hope. I will find a job, and I will send my daughter to school when she is older the way my mother sent me to school. And I will keep taking my medication so that I can live and she can finish school and have a better life.