I almost didn’t make it to the New Year. Not because of any gun-related thing, but because minutes after 11 pm, last year, New Year’s Eve, while my family was busy getting ready to go see the fireworks, I was locked in my bathroom, with a belt wrapped tightly and firmly around my neck. The other end of it was fixed firmly into position on the grill inside my bathroom.
Allow me to apologize, before going any further, if I’m already being too graphic, but I just want to get this out there.
My therapists (yes, more than one) all agree that finding ways that are readily within my means to air my thoughts out is something I can do to cope, and I could think of no better way, of all the ways I’ve tried, than writing anonymously to the Western Mirror. I don’t know, maybe this might help someone.
I’m 20 years old, and last year September, as I stared down the barrel of a gun, I wanted to live so badly, that I was willing to do whatever it took to survive. As a young woman, I have always wanted to do my very best in school, and though it took a lot to even get into college financially, I’m happy that in the end, it all worked out. My first year went well, and before that tragic incident, I was looking forward to improving on my success.
I’m a commuting student of a popular university here in Jamaica, and because I couldn’t afford boarding fees, I decided that the best option was to live close to campus. I’ve been careful enough my whole life, and with few reports surfacing regarding the dangers of living off campus and by oneself, I didn’t imagine that the worst could have happened.
I was at home studying for an exam, and I really don’t know what happened. I must have forgotten to bolt the door or something, but I remember right before I began to feel sleepy, I heard my door smashed open. Two men, both wearing masks, rushed in. The whole experience remains a painful memory, and I’m having problems remembering the little moments in between, but I recall one of them asking, “nuh ya so di bwoy live? Weh him live?” They both had what looked like shotguns, and I honestly was frozen. I literally couldn’t move. One of them pointed the gun to my face and pulled the trigger back. I remember him asking me about someone whose name I had never heard in my life. I was trembling and having a panic attack, but still managed to say I don’t know who they were talking about.
“Ay gyal u ago dead tonight.” Those were the words that instantly saw me begging them not to kill me. Then, the unthinkable happened. One of them went back and closed the door. “Dawg, wa u deh pon?” was the question he posed to his friend who still had his gun pointed at my face.
Without reliving those details, I was raped. By those two men. In just one night, as I was preparing for my exam, I was violated in the most inhumane way possible. Lord knows I wished he had pulled the trigger on me after. Why? Why was I left to live after such an ugly hate-filled act? Who was I going to tell? I didn’t show up to my exam. And after spending almost the entire day afterwards hurt all over and broken, I had decided to take my own life. But I’m not sure why I hesitated. There are marks all over my skin, and I haven’t looked in a mirror since. I’m afraid of what or who I would see staring back at me.
I didn’t tell my mother, and neither did I tell my brother, who I’m close to. They convinced me that I could manage that life living off campus, and I didn’t want them feeling like they were somehow responsible for it. My life felt like it was destroyed that night.
Only one of my closest lecturers know of what happened, and now you do too. The only reason I’m still here, is because I want to prove to my mother that her investments in me weren’t for naught, and to prove to myself that I could have been someone my absentee father would have loved dearly if he had stayed around. I wanted to find him, and I wanted to run to him, and I wanted him to protect me. But he wasn’t there. I didn’t think I needed my father at any point in my life, but after what happened, for some strange reason, I wanted to talk to him more than anything.
Fathers are important. If only most of them knew that. I’m alone right now, and had it not been for my brother knocking on my bathroom door on New Year’s Eve, today, the Western Mirror would be posting my obituary. Maybe one day you will. But for now, I’ll go on living, trying to find some purpose again.
If you’ve been in a position like I was that night, be brave enough to talk to someone about it, and be kind enough to believe you deserve help.
Thanks for listening.