Dazed and Confused
Thank you for your contribution to the discussion of HIV disclosure, HIV criminalization and responsibility.
In the Toronto Star published on September 20, 2013, Rick Vanderlinde (Barrie Advance) reported the prison sentence J. M. received for aggravated assault.“Justice Mulligan convicted her of one count of aggravated sexual assault on August 16th because she did not use a condom when she had sexual intercourse with a man in the back of his service van two years ago. She also did not warn the man that she was HIV-positive, the judge found. The man did not contract the virus.”“During her trial, court heard Murphy’s viral load was medically undetectable and she was extremely unlikely to infect her partners.”
Let me review this one more time because having thought about this story, at length it remains baffling. “The man”, whose name will remain protected, because it is his legal and moral right, stopped on his way to work for a quickie in the back of his van with a woman he did not know, then continued on his way. To his surprise he later found out the woman was HIV positive. He did not concern himself about risk to his partner, sexually transmitted infections, did not use a condom and then pursued criminal charges for aggravated assault against J.M. who is now serving a 39 month jail sentence, minus the 15 months she has already spent incarcerated.So the basic take home message this story conveys is, that it is socially acceptable and legal for a married man, (or anyone else for that matter), to stop on his way to work, for a little delight, have anonymous, unprotected sex in the back of his van, ask no questions and assume no responsibility for his actions. His only obligation is to pursue a prison term for J.M., whose name and photograph was in the newspaper and made very public, because she allegedly placed him at risk. Although it was stated in court that J. M. was not a likely medical risk, based on scientific evidence, this piece of information did not appear to be a factor as she serves her sentence.
If J.M. had disclosed her status in advance, or insisted on using a condom, would “The Man” have rejected her and moved on to find someone else who claimed to be “clean?” Perhaps he just did not care in the moment because afterwards he could ensure that justice was served if he were deemed at risk. Justice certainly was served on J.M.