I wonder if it’s ironic to Buddhists that Tiger Woods waited until the start of the Year of the Tiger, to make his public apology to America. Woods said he had veered from the Buddhist teachings his mother raised him on, including humility and cultivating strength to overcome temptations. But, Buddhists know it’s hard to cage a tiger. Woods isn’t just a tiger in name; he was born in the Year of the Tiger, which comes around every 12 years.
People born in the Year of the Tiger aren’t real tigers. They embody symbolic traits of the animal. Humans born in the Year of the Tiger aren’t expected to kill like the cat they represent.
However, it’s interesting how Woods seems to have enjoyed tracking down new prey for infidelities. He seemed to venerate toying with women, as if he were a feline playing with his food. Woods admits his sexual seductions were strategic, intentional and copious. He planned his hunts.
Regardless of whether he heals his marriage, overcomes his desires and gains back his fans and endorsements, one glaring omission needs to be addressed from Woods’ long list of confessions. It’s the issue that matters most. Not once did Woods take responsibility for the physical harm he introduced to his family when he introduced other women to his proclivities.
According to the American Social Health Association, Americans are overwhelmingly diseased with sexually transmissible infections, and most don’t even know it. One in five people in the U.S. has an STD of some kind. One in five Americans has genital herpes, specifically, yet 90 percent of those with it are unaware they have it, and 500,000 new cases of genital herpes occur each year. At least 1 million Americans have HIV, with 45,000 new AIDS cases reported per year.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and chlamydia are the most common STDs in the U.S. More than 5 million Americans are infected with HPV each year, and cervical cancer in women is now conclusively linked to HPV. At least 15 percent of all infertile American women are infertile because of damage caused as a result of untreated STDs, yet less than half of adults ages 18 to 44 have ever been tested for an std other than HIV/AIDS.
Two-thirds of Hepatitis B (HBV) infections are sexually transmitted and HBV is linked to chronic liver disease and liver cancer.
Clearly, the risk of contracting an infection from a cheating husband is real. The long-term effects of which, can kill. Some HPV strains cause cervical cancer, while HBV can cause liver cancer. HIV/AIDS is fatal at worst and medically costly at best. Herpes, HPV and HIV are permanent viruses that cannot be cured. Each permanently limits your freedom with future sex partners and can influence your safety in a multitude of situations, including likely transmission of the viruses from a mother to an unborn child.
To me, this sounds reckless. Reckless endangerment “is a crime consisting of acts that create a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. The accused person isn’t required to intend the resulting or potential harm, but must have acted in a way that showed a disregard for the foreseeable consequences of the actions.”
Woods has gone beyond breaking his wife’s heart and his family’s trust. He’s threatened the physical well being of his wife, the mother of his children and jeopardized the health of any child she has in the future.
The first question out of any woman’s mouth when she discovers her partner has cheated should be, “Were you safe?”
Safety is a whole new issue. Too few people use condoms, and condoms are not foolproof in preventing diseases. How many of us have justified a condom as protection from our unknown std status and that of our play partner, only to have that condom slip off?
I, personally, know of people who have unknowingly had an STD only to find out when their partner developed symptoms and they both tested positive. I, personally, have known people who have lied about being STD-free, when they weren’t, because they feared rejection. I was personally cheated on by my ex-husband who never used barriers with his many conquests or with me. By the time I found out, he had been cheating for years.
In the case of Woods, how realistic is it that a man who enjoys the risk of cheating will take the precaution of using protection? When I asked my ex-husband if he used condoms, he smugly said he didn’t need to because he slept with women who didn’t sleep around. Even women who don’t sleep around can have STDs. It takes only one exposure for most diseases to take hold. And, how ironic is it when a liar believes no one could ever lie to him?
I was terrified that my ex-husband’s selfishness may have cost me my life. I waited with fear until all my tests came back negative, and I am forever grateful I never conceived a child. I can’t imagine the strain of raising offspring linked to an untrustworthy man. Woods has asked for his fans to forgive him, for the media to allow his family the room to heal, and for the grace to move beyond his mistakes. Most people agree, in his recent press conference, he displayed real emotions and suffered through believable admissions of dishonoring his family, business partners and friends.
It was a nice, tight, rehearsed package of public relations savvy. It conveniently left out his responsibility to keep his family safe from harm in the first place. His foolish choices could have caused real, permanent and unnecessary physical damage. For all we know, they already have. Despite his guilt or shame, it’s undeniable that his actions are criminal. I’d venture to say, this Tiger could kill.
Tryce Czyczynska is the co-founder of 51%: A Women’s Place Is In Politics and host of “Coffee & Conversation with Cool Women.” She is an SDNN contributor. Follow her on Twitter.