Since December 31, the murders of three women, all with their lovers implicated, have made headlines.
In response, two women told THE WEEKEND STAR their stories of surviving abuse.
Eight years ago, Pauline* had to defend herself after her babyfather attacked her with a cutlass during an argument.
“That day was like a nightmare fi me! Yuh see when me look pon me hand, I was so frightened … me feel like me breath did a go stop when me see blood a run,” she recalled. “Me big finger did hang off … dem did afi pad it up and den stitch it up. Me get a chop pon me right hand and one under me arm to me back. Di mark dem deh yah same way,” she said.
She added, “Me did go hospital and me come out back the same day cause me did wah go stay wid me pickney dem! Me tell dem seh me nah stay in deh.”
Pauline says she empathises with the families of the three women.
“That coulda be me … me feel it every time me hear a next woman dead. If woman out deh a live like dis, dem need fi leave. Too much a we a dead off. Pack up and leave and report dem,” she said.
Mary* said that God gave her the courage to run away from the three-year relationship she had with the father of two of her three children.
“He was the sweetest person. We would go on dates and he took really great care of my daughter that wasn’t his. But everything changed after I got pregnant and had my second daughter. The first time he hit me it was because I refused to iron a shirt for him,” she said.
Mary said that he drove so much fear into her, that she refused to speak about the violent encounters with even her closest friends.
The final straw was when he shot her, mere weeks after she gave birth to her third daughter.
Mary had gone to run errands, and when she returned after the one-hour deadline he had given her, he accused her of cheating.
“Next thing I know I was on the ground and my stomach was burning really bad,” she said. Mary said that as she lay in shock, bleeding profusely, a friend stopped him from shooting again.
“I heard him telling his friend that the gun accidentally went off. He began crying and was begging me not to die and was telling me how sorry he was. But on the way to the hospital he told me to tell the doctors that I was shot at my gate by a robber and out of fear, that’s what I did,” she said.
Her deranged partner came to the hospital the day after her surgery and demanded that she sign herself out, declaring that she was ‘not that sick’.
“He packed up my belongings and said I must go and tell the staff I was going home. The same night he demanded that we have sex and he was so rough that the stitches almost broke away,” she said.
Mary could take no more and planned her getaway with a relative. A week later, her partner sent her to buy groceries.
“I told him I was carrying my big daughter to help me with the things and I used the money that he gave me for groceries and we left (to stay with the relative). Even when I was on the bus, I kept looking back because I somehow felt he was trailing me,” she said.
Mary said that she didn’t want to leave her other two daughters but felt she had no other choice.
“I never returned to the area until about three years later when I heard he moved to another community. He had left the kids with his family so I got to see my girls,” she said.
With the assistance of the police, Mary was able to regain custody of her children and has been living in a different section of the island since.