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The different voices of domestic violence speak out

By By Lorraine Waldropt-Ferguson

"I have been abused for as long as I know myself. My father used to beat me with a guava whip and my mother used to hit me with anything in her hand from a pot spoon to even a frying pan. I never thought that I would end up with an abusive husband but I did. The first slap made me believe that I did something wrong because that was my belief when I was a child. But after countless slaps which put me in hospital I knew that the beating wasn't for wrongdoing. My husband was an alcoholic and he beat me when he was drunk. I love my husband; after all he is the father of my three children. He doesn't want to hit me. The lash comes when he drinks. When he is sober he is normal. We could laugh and have a good time together but once he take two drinks my coo coo cook. Everybody tells me to leave but up to this day I never leave yet. I think licks is just part of life, my life. I learn to shield myself with a pillow or something so that I don't end up in hospital and, well, my husband doing counselling. I think he will change soon but in the meantime I will fight the fight with him because life goes on and everybody has some cross to bear in this life!" *Jessica, age 40

"Anytime my friend call me and tell me her boyfriend hit her or beat her to a frazzle, I don't respond. I used to respond before. Years before I used to jump in my car and go running to her. I used to console her, take her to the hospital if need be and give her advice. Yes, advice to leave that good-for-nothing woman-beater! He doesn't give her any money when he works or takes care of their daughter and he abuses her children from a former relationship. Now tell me why she with him again? I used to counsel her day and night and I even gave her the hotline for Domestic Abused Women. Up to this day she still with the man. She never left him. Licks after licks after licks and she still with him. Just imagine after everything she has been through she wants me to see them together and lime with them and smile with him as if nothing happened. There was one occasion when I came to rescue her from his blows and I pushed him off her and threatened to slap him. Do you know what she said? She said that I attacked him and that violence towards him is not the answer. Now tell me, is violence towards her by him the answer? I think that she has her answer and that is to live in abuse for the rest of her life but guess what? This isn't my reality so whenever he decides to use her as his punching bag again I just not coming to her rescue. I done, case closed. If you make your bed then lie in it!" *Maylee, 34

"Why they lock up meh husband? He is my husband you know not some convict. He is a good man. Yes he hand hot and he like to hit but that is because he have a hot temper. Alyuh doh understand he. I understand he because I is he wife. He stressed out that is why he beat me up the time when the police come. The next time it was a sweet lash; it start off as kicksin, he like to slap me when we making love and then well the moment get the better of him. The other times he always had a reason; he wouldn't hit me just so. Why they lock him up? They shoulda try to help him. He doh have nobody but me eh no. He does work hard too, that is why I does cook and clean for him. We have business together. You see all these things in this house? We take them on higher purchase! So now that he lock up who go pay for for them? Who putting food on my table? Alyuh didn't think about that? Alyuh studying my safety, I is ah big woman I could take lash. My father used to beat meh mother and she never dead. Steups..Why they lock up meh husband?" *Nathy, age 50

"I slapped a man yesterday and I shouldn't have. He was hitting a woman in City Gate and something sparked in my head and I went crazy and the outcome was a slap. Now that the situation resolved and the man not pressing charges (my friends told him I had issues), I am looking back at the situation and I know why it happened. My father used to beat my mother. He would lock the room at nights and hit her and I would hear her screams. I tried to convince myself that it was nightmares but my family's nightmares were real. Those left a scar in my mind. I never got married and I can't exist in any relationship with any man. I am aggressive towards men. I grand charge, I am assertive and paint this 'strong-woman-hear-me roar' image but deep down I hurt. Some women choose abuse for the sake of keeping a marriage and home together, 'all for the sake of the children', but they don't realise that it actually does more harm than good. My mother was a regular at the hospital and my brother paid his dues in prison for assaulting my father on more than one occasion and well my sister has chosen an 'alternative' lifestyle because she can't stand the presence of the opposite sex. I hope that other people don't share the same saga as me. I think my only resolve is counselling, I really hope that my counsellor is a woman!" *Rebecca, age 21 "I saw the programme on TV where someone was talking about domestic abuse. My friend had the audacity to tell me that I fall in the category of the domestically abused. I asked her if she was crazy. I mean, my beau and I have our issues but he has never hit or lay a hand on me. She must be mad. Me? Domestically abused? She told me that verbal abuse is abuse. My boyfriend sometimes tells me degrading things but I think he does that because he is insecure but not because he is abusive. He takes very good care of me and we have fun together. In everyone's relationship there is a time when one party loses it. I don't think there is any couple in T&T who never got vex or quarrelled. Of course when my boyfriend curse and ridicule me it can be embarrassing but afterwards he is back to normal. Once he doesn't physically assault me it's not abuse. My friend is out of her mind, I am not a victim of domestic abuse!" *Caren 19

"If this woman hit me one more time I will go ballistic. She keeps hitting me when she vex and keep saying I push her to slap me. I am the calm one and she the aggressor but one of these days I will trip. When I tell my partners that she slaps me they start laughing and rolling on the ground. They say I am a victim of domestic abuse. They say it as a joke but I think this situation serious. I reported her abuse once to the police and the police officers catch real kicks on my head. Steups...I can't fight her back; I am too strong for her. I think I might just find a new girlfriend yes, it's the better thing for the both of us right now!"*Roger, 42

"I didn't mean to hit her but I think I have a chemical in my head that goes off into a siren and then I see red. It happens when I see and hear that she was with another man but me. I can't stand to see her with a next man. She is the friendly kind, the kind who like to giggle and flirt. I know her well; they were the same qualities that attracted me to her. But tell me why the hell she just can't settle down with me. We have five children. Why does she think she has to bubble, palance and wine all over the place to be happy? Why she can't come home and relax with me. It's those times that I have to buss a lash on her to discipline her. Her quick tongue makes me beat her even more. She should just stay quiet when she getting her licks. The lipstick, the tight clothes... Carnival time I turn into beast because is fete after fete after fete. I does work hard when the day come everything she ask for I does give her even the spandex outfit she wear to the party I mash up the other night. I just thinking about this woman and I feeling to fight. Steups...I think I either need help or to leave this relationship Either way I have to stop!" *Patrick, age 28

"I am a successful woman with money, cars, a mansion and three beautiful daughters. I married wisely to a rich man who looks great. I look great. I have no problems. A little slap here and there, sometimes a push, it's just his way of showing me that he is a man. Every woman needs to know when to speak and when to keep her mouth shut. I have everything I want so the abuse doesn't matter, its just the price of a beautiful fairy tale life that only few us can enjoy!" *Elizabeth, age 57

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