Portmore rape victim relates her ordeal

BY KEVIN JACKSON
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 15, 2017

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It happened on a Monday night in August this year. Mary (not her real name) had just left her job at a popular fast food establishment in Portmore, St Catherine, and was awaiting transportation to take her to the Portmore Mall.

But once she got into a taxi that plied the popular '20' route in Portmore, it was a journey she would never forget.

“I got into the taxi just after it drove up right beside me. There were two passengers inside the car —a man and a woman and the driver. I felt relieved because I had been hearing stories of women being taken away and raped by taxi men in Portmore,” Mary confided.

With her voice cracking and tears welled up in her eyes, the 19-year-old sometimes had difficulty relating her ordeal during the interview with the Jamaica Observer. She had turned down the request but was convinced by a friend who assured her that her identity would be protected.

“When the man and the woman got off at their stop,” she continued “it was me alone left with the driver. He detoured and went through a section of Portmore and then he went near the backroad. I said 'driver, you are going the wrong direction. Why didn't you drive down past Edgewater? Is where you taking me?' He didn't answer. He wound up the windows and kept driving faster. I asked him why he was taking me away and he remained silent.

“I started to scream but the more I screamed, the faster he drove. So much was going through my mind but I knew I had to get away some way, somehow. I felt helpless,” she said.

As the car drove through the hilly terrain in Portmore, her screams continued. The car came to a stop in an area flanked by sea and lots of vegetation.

“It was so dark and the only thing I could make out was the sound of the sea. I barely could see through the thick bush. But as I tried to get away, the man put a knife close to mi neck and threatened to kill me. Mi almost pee up miself.

”Him tell mi say him a go rape mi and ask mi if I used condoms when my boyfriend having sex with me. The way mi so nervous mi tell 'im no. Him say him not using any either, he's going to have sex with me 'r....' ”

After a brief sigh she managed to compose herself as the interview continued.

“I begged for my life. I told him I wouldn't tell anyone and that I would just forget about it, like nothing happened. Him say him naw tek no check. Him squeeze mi neck and tear off mi blouse. I had on a jeans pants and him use the knife and cut it offa mi. Mi scream so till mi throat get dry. The man a go tell mi say mi can gwaan scream 'cause nobody naw go hear mi. That time mi say, lawd mi dead now.”

She said she started to fight him but gave up when he twisted her arm and tried strangling her. While being raped, she said a silent prayer asking God to let her live.

“The whole time mi a pray a ask God to make him stop. Mi just couldn't deal with it any more. Mi did give up. But him let mi go. Him tell mi to run, but mi never even know where I was. Mi wrap the cut-up jeans around mi waist and mek a big run. Bottle, splinter, stone, all kinda tings mi step pon inna the dark but mi just did want to get away,” she recalled.

After running in bushes for almost 15 minutes, she saw a light which led to a street corner. A car drove by and she screamed for help.

“Is a lady was driving by and she stopped when she see me run out from the bush and asked me what happened. I was in distress and I didn't want to see any doctor, worse — I didn't want to look at any man.”

After some convincing by the woman, she was taken to a doctor. Although in shock she managed to recall her ordeal to the doctor. Her family was contacted and they came for her at the doctor's office.

“My family didn't want anyone to know what happened so we keep it very close to family. If the people in my community find out, them woulda chat from now till a mawning,” said Mary.

Since her ordeal, she has received counselling and has relocated from her community to rural Jamaica.

A taxi driver was nabbed by the police during a sting operation in Portmore a few weeks ago.

Although that police operation has occurred, Mary said t she still feels afraid sometimes, while hailing the work of the police in the investigations.


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