Jean Gasho: Being hurt does not justify disclosing someone’s HIV status on Social Media
By Jean Gasho | Just Jean |
Yesterday a woman who is a well known social media comedian with almost 100 000k followers on Facebook who goes by the name Mai TT came on social media to do a Facebook live, where she was crying because someone had sent her pictures in her inbox about her ex-husband’s wedding.
In her emotional Facebook live video, watched by over 70 000 viewers, she broke down and opened up about her harrowing journey, how she had met her ex-husband as a single mother, how she helped her ex-mother in law who was very poor, how she was ill-treated by her ex-mother in law, and most shockingly, how her ex-husband infected her with HIV, also obviously disclosing that he was HIV positive.
She also went on to give the full name of the ex-husband’s new wife, claiming that she was 100 percent sure the new wife had no idea her husband was HIV positive.
As the names where disclosed, I went on the Facebook profiles of both the named ex-husband and the new wife, and lo and behold what I saw was not what I expected from what I had heard in the live video.
I saw a healthy looking goodly young man and I saw pictures of man who seems to dot on his daughter.
In pictures of his new bride, I saw a very beautiful young woman who looked equally innocent.
I just saw a happily newly married young couple, wearing beautiful matching African attire, yes I mention the African attire because it was the highlight of the story.
When you watch the video, it may sound like the beautiful African attire the newly weds wore is what actually triggered this unfortunate incident.
Now all over social media, I saw this young couple being vilified and called names. I saw the young man being called murderer and all sorts of names.
I couldn’t help but wonder, hang on a minute, there is something really wrong with this. Mai TT sounds deeply hurt. Watching the video was truly disturbing. But I think it was very wrong of her to disclose another person’s HIV status to the world. Surely that could be a criminal offence.
If the ex-husband had knowingly infected her with HIV, why not report him to the authorities for such a cruel crime. Why wait on his wedding day, to disclose such information to the world, not the police.
I have to be very honest in this, her retaliation was equally bad.
Some years ago, after I split up with my ex-husband, he opened a blog about me and in an act of revenge, he chose to mock one of my relative who was HIV positive. He also put up her pictures and full name, revealing her HIV status.
It was truly evil and at some point Vimeo and Google intervened and took down the content, as it was defamatory and damaging.
I have seen this trend with Zimbabweans on social media, when they are hurting, they retaliate and use social media to do the worst.
I have been through this where someone came on social media to expose my relatives HIV status, and it was a very cruel calculated act of revenge that can never be justified.
Now back to the story of Mai TT, I find it very hard to totally sympathise with her though I do to some extent. I feel very sorry for her. It’s hard to see your ex husband moving on and happy when you are not. She’s obviously a woman hurting.
She has lived positively with HIV for years, knowing that it was her ex-husband who allegedly infected her.
She chose not to report her ex-husband for allegedly knowingly infecting her because she loved him, (her own words) and forgave him.
She then went on to brand herself as a comedian, in which her theme in her comedy is loving her HIV infected husband, whom she even refers to in her comedy as Baba TT.
She does comedy skits about her husband being a serial womaniser whom she stands by, honouring him even in his cheating.
She has gone on to make the most of her story through her comedy, receiving Awards and praise from most of her followers.
So in reality, her story has worked quite well for her.
So I don’t understand why today Mai TT has chosen to come out and publicly shame her ex-husband on his wedding day that he infected her with HIV.
She also spoke a lot about how she bought the ex-husband clothes and provided for him during their marriage, is that not what normal couples do.
I don’t understand why Zimbabwean women make a big deal about buying a man clothes, always counting the cost after a break-up and wanting to be paid back. I don’t see men coming out telling the world about every little present they bought us after a breakup.
I may be wrong but it sounds to me like a perfect case of a bunny boiler, that if she can’t have him no one else should.
HIV is no longer a death sentence, people marry and go on to live happy long lives. So this young man can’t be expected to be single for life just because he has HIV.
I hate to say this, but I believe she’s still madly in love with her ex-husband, as she always portrays in her comedy skits.
She’s hurt but she loves him, this is why she chose his wedding day to ‘expose’ him. I believe she did this so the young man and his new bride will be shamed and attacked by her many followers, which is what has happened. I believe this was her act of revenge.
She has actually contributed in stigmatising people with HIV in Africa, that they should not marry and can’t find happiness. Because if her ex husband had not married, we would have never heard about his HIV status.
I think it’s such a shame and I sympathise with all parties involved, especially the new wife, who is one of the main victims in this story.
I also sympathise with the child involved, for she had to sit in the car and listen to her mummy tell the whole world that both her parents are HIV positive.
There is a reason why medical conditions are strictly confidential. No one should have their medical condition revealed to the world without their consent. No one should have their spouse’s medical condition revealed to the world without their consent.
There are proper channels to go through if you have been infected by someone knowingly. Just blurting it out on social media to the world is not acceptable, especially when there is no evidence and it’s just your word of mouth.
In conclusion, I’m very disappointed by this woman I saw as a role model to many Zimbabwean girls and women. Zimbabwe has over 1 million people living with HIV, and I think it’s about time the country has some laws and regulations about revealing other people’s statuses on social media. Being hurt is not a good enough reason to disclose someones HIV status to billions of people on Facebook.