“When I hear the verdict, not guilty, it sent me in a rage. You know, I was afraid to go forward with this case, reason being when the time come I would get no justice and so said so done. I now have to live in shame. I shame as a woman for a man to do all those things to me…and the jury did not believe me and now I am like a liar and have to live in shame.”
These were the words of a young woman who believes the system mistreated her after a 12-member jury found the man she said had violated her in the worse possible way two years ago, not guilty. She was battered and bruised; there was evidence of this on her body. There was also evidence of the man’s semen on her body when she escaped from his car and sought refuge from a patrol. But it was an uphill battle to get the police to launch an investigation and it took some time before he was charged. However, while she won the battle she eventually lost the war.
She wanted to share her experience and did not mind speaking to me as we have developed a relationship over the past two years.
“I am ashamed too because those 12 people know my name, they know where I am working; they know where I am living and I had to stand there and tell my story and I felt so embarrassed,” she said.
“I felt bad because when, you know, I reach certain parts and I tell them what he do me, the court marshal turn and look at me with he face like ‘that is so nasty’.
“But I still go through with it, before the day to testify I couldn’t sleep, I can’t eat, I just reliving the day. When I told it in court there was so much emotion, was like I couldn’t stand.
“And then to hear people come and just lie one me. The lawyer telling me how I is a popular girl and everybody know me. And he bring guys in the court to embarrass me telling the court that is a normal thing for me to take car ride from strangers because they use to give me drops when is all lies.
“It was not easy at all, them talking me down saying that I felt rejected and alone because he lef me and I say if he lef me nobody else could get me so that is why I say I get rape, you believe duh?
“I would put me self through all of duh, is like I throw down me self and hurt me self. The lawyer mek I feel so bad, it really hurt me.
“I just don’t know how the jury believe those things. How?” she asked the question not expecting an answer but paused before speaking again.
“But I really thought I woulda get justice. Now which man guh want me? And still me ain’t get no justice after telling them everything.
“After I went back in court in the afternoon he and he girlfriend deh crying but when the jury say not guilty if you see how he smiling and then laugh.
“And I felt that was the end of my life, I just pick up me bag and walk out the court. I cross the road and not evening looking where I going because like I just want to get knock down and dead. I honestly wanted to kill me self and so I just call me child father and tell he to look after me son.
“I went home and I drink some tablets I buy and then I cut me wrist. I never do that in me life but I do it. When I wake up I in deh hospital and they stitching up me hand, is like he [her child’s father] went and check on me and find me like that,” said the mother of one and once again she lapsed into silence.
“Everybody telling how I shouldn’t hurt myself, but they don’t know what I am going through,” she said, revealing that she has received some counselling.
“You know I am trying to keep a certain standard of life and then he rape me and do all dem nasty things to me and I don’t get justice.
“All them unfair statements in court you mean the jury couldn’t figure out them things is lie man?
“I believe the judge believe my story but it was not for her to say guilty or not guilty. They asking me about the clothes I was wearing, is nah for the police to tell me I have to give them the clothes?
“They believe his story over my own, it really hurt me and it still boiling over in me. Now the public see me as a liar, the comments on the story.
“My name is like the biggest topic in the village, my whole character just went down in the blink of an eye. And I am still not over it as yet. I am still pissed as hell.
“I don’t know what went wrong, it just take me down, down. If I had somewhere to go away far out of Guyana I would have gone. My name already done here,” she said.
“Imagine I had to fight to get him charged because they woulda never charge he but it was all a waste of time.
“To tell you the truth I was like over it and forgetting until the day the police come and tell me I have to go to court the next day and testify, I was shocked and from the day until now it is like is today he rape me.
“I live alone, I don’t able man. Since the story happened, it is like I don’t able, it is too much for me. When I am at work it don’t bother me too much because my time does be occupied. But when I am home it is bad because I have no one to talk to me,” she explained.
“And if you see how the boy and he crew celebrating, I just hope and pray that he don’t do it to somebody else because he get off.
“I still can’t believe they believe his story,” she repeated. “Even a lil child coulda see that was a lie.
“The system just really mess up. I believe the judge believed me and it was the jury, it was very sad that they did not believe me. The jury look like educated people, how could you make that decision?
“You know why? It is because none of them went through what I went through. I think they don’t need to have jury in these cases because they not listening to you. They just disgrace me name in the courtroom, saying how me and he deh and how is somebody set me and he up to deh.
“The prosecutor ask them, he friends them that he bring to lie, if they ever see me and he go out together they said no. She ask them if they ever see a photograph of me and he together and they say no. So when she ask them how they know we had this relationship they say they use to see when I calling he.
“Now the jury nah guh ask themselves how these people know me number to know is me went calling he? Ow man, they couldn’t see was lie?!
“Another thing, some of the jury people did laughing when I talking. When the woman, who say he not guilty, get up to ask question she was smiling you could see it. She ask me if it was normal for me to take drops from people I don’t know and if it was normal for me to be on the road at that hour.
“But she don’t know my life she don’t know why I had to be on the road at that time and is not like he was a stranger, stranger I know he by seeing he and he stop and offer me a drop.
“But the thing is when she asking the question is right though she smiling.
“I was like, seriously, this is not a laughing matter. When she said not guilty she was smiling, and all of that just eat me up. She think I went there to laugh and skin me teeth, they just judge me unfair.
“It was unfair, I wasted so much time to hear that he get free and he walking all over celebrating and I end up being the bad one after it all.
“I am still trying, although it is hard, I am still trying. Right now I am just trying to ease a lot things and a lot of people. When I was in that situation then I know who is for me and who is not for me, certain people you have to drop them.”
She then attempted to explain why she tried to take her life.
“I really could not take it, I never try something like that but right now like I can’t sleep. Every time I am alone I just thinking about it, and the memory just coming back.
“But you know I telling me story because although I went through this, I could still be a role model so I am going to try, I just know what I have to do from here on, just live and show them that I could rise and don’t turn out to be bad.
“I will make it, you can’t break down yourself and mek people feel that this is it, he would win again. He know exactly what he do, you know, he know,” she said quietly.
The telephone conversation was over at this point. We will continue to talk and hopefully she grows from strength to strength.