When I was 20, I was sexually assaulted by a friend's then boyfriend. Several months after the incident, I found out that he was HIV+. I was still a virgin and and so very afraid. I never reported the crime.
On Jan 22, 6 months after the assault, I went to the Planned Parenthood in downtown Houston. I was terrified, uninsured, and alone.
Unbeknownst to me, Jan 22 is the nationally recognized anniversary of Roe v Wade. In the one block walk from the parking lot to the clinic, I was yelled at by a group of anti-abortion protesters. I made it safely inside, where the desk woman saw me, shaken, got me a small glass of water and a walk-in appointment.
The nurse who took my blood for the test walked me through the test and the steps, and held my hand while I cried and told the full story for the first time to anyone. She told me that it wasn't my fault. I wasn't stupid. And that I was safe. She made me feel safe. She gave me a list of counselors who could help me, and would see me with no insurance and very little money. Then she told me that she would follow up with me in a few days when the test result came in.
The same nurse did call me. My results were negative. I will never forget how cared for I felt that a woman who had taken my blood had made a point of making sure *she* was the one who called me, and not someone else. She made a point of asking if I was ok, if I had called a counselor, if there was anything else she could help with.
Many years later, in another state, as another person, I don't even remember her name. But I will never forget her kindness to me when I needed it. Thank you Planned Parenthood, for caring, and helping.
I stand with Planned Parenthood.