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Things to do in Dominica: Papillote Wilderness Retreat

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Main feature: Botanic Gardens
Difficulty: Easy
Cost to enter: Free (see below)

Papillote Wilderness Retreat, Dominica

Papillote Wilderness Retreat is a true oasis and a unique establishment in the Roseau Valley. Take a walk through its botanic gardens, you will soon realize that Papillote is a compilation of the best that Dominica has to offer.

Papillote (pronounced PAP-ee-ott), was founded in 1969 but has its roots in the post-emancipation era of the 1850s. The retreat is named after two freed slaves, Pappi and Alliot, who settled into subsistence farming in the area.

The establishment has gone through many changes since then. It was once a farm, snack bar, restaurant and a nightclub. After Hurricane David, current owners Anne and Cuthbert Jno Baptiste transformed Papillote into a luxuriant tropical garden.

Where is Papillote Wilderness Retreat?

Papillote is located on the edge of the Roseau Valley village of Trafalgar, at the foot of the hill that leads to Trafalgar Falls. It takes less than 20 minutes to get there if driving and you’ll find the entrance on your left.

There is no charge to enter the property, but you will need to pay to use Papillote’s amenities and to take advantage of the establishment’s services. I’ve included a schedule of Papillote’s price list near the end of this blog post.

On location

Tour guide Jimmy was assigned to show us around the 4-acre gardens and he did a fantastic job.

He wasted no time and informed us that every garden area was part of a numbered system, from 1 to 32. He pointed out dozens of plant types, told us their names and even shared with us how some were used as medicines or in foods.

Anne is curator of the garden and she is very proud of the White Bat Flowers. They are very rare and originated in the tropical regions of Southeast Asia. In fact, Anne owns the only two on the island!

Papillote Wilderness Retreat, Dominica
Left: This pool is known as the Iguana Pool. Can you see why? Right: Tacca integrifolia also known as White Bat Flower at Papillote. © 2016 Yuri A. Jones Photography

Summing Up

A variety of services are available at Papillote Wilderness Retreat. Check them out below:

Service Fee
Interlude for a Day (guide garden tour, luncheon and a bath in hot mineral pool and private waterfall) US $65 per person (call to reserve)
Bath in mineral pools EC $20 per person
Massage US $80 per hour (call to reserve)
Guided tour EC $26
Self tour EC $13

The restaurant at Papillote accommodates both reservations and walk-ins, but it’s always safer to call in advance (767-448-2287).

German-trained physiotherapist Ariane Magloire performs the massages at Papillote. She is quite busy and only sees clients on Fridays, so call to book your spot.

Visitors love Papillote. Here’s one review:

“Interlude for a day!”

Thank you to all the great staff at Papillote! The food was amazing, the service gracious and Marcel’s tour was superb! Our group all enjoyed every aspect of the tour and lunch and to top it off with a long soak in the spa pools only capped an excellent adventure!!! Thank you for a wonderful day in your gorgeous retreat!!!

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Things to do in Dominica: Cold Soufriere

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Main feature: Sulfur Pools
Difficulty: Easy
Cost to enter: Free

Cold Soufriere, Dominica

The name Cold Soufriere says all that you need to know about this little-known natural attraction. Imagine the hot springs at the Soufriere Sulfur Springs, only much colder!

Yes, these sulfur springs come with the same smell of rotten egg and bubbling pools of water, but the water (or in some cases, a tan, clay-like substance) is cold to the touch.

Where is Cold Soufriere?

Cold Soufriere is located in the collapsed volcanic crater of Morne Aux Diables (roughly translated as Devil’s Mountain), in the far north of Dominica. It is clearly marked and located along the Northern Link road on the way to Pennville.

The drive from Roseau to Cold Soufriere is no more than 90 minutes long. Simply drive up the West Coast Highway, through Portsmouth and take a right at the roundabout near Purple Turtle Beach. Then follow the main road (which turns into the Northern Link Road) until you get to a wide open clearing and a sign which bears the name Cold Soufriere.

 

Along the way you’ll have an opportunity to see Portsmouth and The Cabrits from a distance. What a beautiful sight! You’ll also be able to see Marie Galante on a clear day. This was our view along the link road:

Cold Soufriere, Dominica
Marie Galante or Guadeloupe…? I can’t tell. Either way, these are our French neighbors to the north. © 2017 Yuri A. Jones

On Location

A short (but steep) drive from this viewpoint, is the crater of Morne Aux Diables and our destination, Cold Soufriere. We descended into an open plain, surrounded by mountains covered in green vegetation, without the faintest idea that we were actually driving through a volcano!

The walk to the site is approximately 15 minutes long. We trekked through woodland vegetation and observed swamp-like vegetation as we got closer to the bubbling pools.

Tidbit: the pools are bubbling but aren’t hot because the magma that usual heats these pools is too far below the Earth’s crust for the heat to carry to the surface. However, sulfur and other gases are escaping through these vents, causing the pools to bubble up!

Cold Soufriere, Dominica
As you can see, this pool is bubbling, but it’s actually cold! © 2016 Yuri A. Jones

Cold Soufriere itself is an area of exposed rock surrounded by a dense forest of Kaklen trees (their roots are above the ground, and reminiscent of Mangrove trees.)

This is what the terrain looks like at Cold Soufriere:

Cold Soufriere, Dominica
The terrain is a mix between sulfur stained rocks and a mat of soggy grass surrounding the pools. © 2016 Yuri A. Jones

Tip: The clay-like substance found in the pools is infused with sulfur and other minerals and is said to be good for the skin. Folks regularly paste in on their faces, like a mask.

Summing Up

When you get there, go ahead and explore a bit. Follow the stream that leads north and you’ll find more bubbling pools and a lot of that healthy clay substance.

Be safe though! The rocks may be lose and the ground is quite soft.

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Things to do in Dominica: Sultan Falls

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Main feature: Waterfalls
Difficulty: Easy
Cost to enter: EC $10 per adult

Sultan Falls, Dominica

Sultan Falls is a series five waterfalls located in Sultan, near Dominica’s interior. It is a popular tourist site, however, a quick Google search turns up at least three versions of the name:

  • Salton Falls
  • Soultan Falls, and
  • Sultan Falls

They are all pronounced the same way, so I’ll stick to using the last version in this post and throughout the website.

Where is Sultan Falls?

Sultan Falls is approximately 35 minutes outside of Roseau. I drove up Imperial Road and when I got to the roundabout at Pond Case, we took a left toward the settlement of Warner.

This area is known as Sultan and you’ll come to a large sign on the left-hand side of the road after driving for about 5 or 7 minutes.

On Location

The site is run by a friendly family who charged me EC $10 to access their land. After paying at the reception area, I drove down a rough concrete road for 5 minutes and stopped at a crude parking lot.

It was obvious that a lot of excavation work had been done to make the site more accessible. I cannot imagine what getting to the waterfalls was like before the paved roads and marked paths.

To get to the waterfalls from the parking lot, I walked down a rough dirt road for about 5 minutes. At the bottom you could either go up to see Waterfall #1 or down to see Waterfall #2.

Sultan Falls, Dominica
Left: A five to eight minute hike up hillside brings you to this waterfall and pool. Right: A three minute walk down through the creek brings you to a wooden platform and this main area. © 2016 Yuri A. Jones

The lower area features a wooden viewing platform with benches, however I walked down to the river bed to capture the image above (right). From that vantage point I could see another waterfall high up on the cliff-side, with no obvious path to it. I didn’t venture further, but one could spend hours exploring the riverbed and looking for the remaining waterfalls.

Summing Up

I met up with one of the landowners as I was driving out and she was happy to talk about her work and the waterfalls. She told me that during the tourist season, many folks hire tour guides (usually her grandson) to take them to ‘hidden’ falls.

Be sure to do so if you’re interested in seeing the remaining waterfalls for yourself! Here’s a glowing visitor review:

Hidden gem nearby hugely popular attractions

Located near Emerald Pool, Spanny Falls, and Jacko Falls, this hidden gem is arguably the best of them all […] The road down toward the falls can be a bit dicey, so if you’re unsure it is best to park up top and walk down. There are improvements being made to the road as we speak, so this might not be an issue when you visit. There are ten or more falls on the property, but there are two easily-accessible falls: upper and lower. Both are beautiful, but the upper-falls were absolutely amazing and made photos that look like magazine covers.

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Things to do in Dominica: Spanny Falls

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Main feature: Waterfalls
Difficulty: Easy
Cost to enter: EC $5 per adult

Spanny Falls, Dominica

Where is Spanny Falls?

Spanny Falls requires a 35 minute drive out of Roseau, up Imperial Road and onto the relatively new Dr. Nicholas Liverpool Highway.

It is not marked on Google Maps, but on your way to the site, you’ll pass Jacko Falls and the Nature Island Adventure Tours headquarters (both on the right). Spanny Falls, however, will appear on your left-hand side.

Spanny is actually the name of the gentleman who owns a bar along the main road (aptly named Spanny’s Bar). He and his family tend to the grounds and maintain the trails.

On Location

There are actually two waterfalls, but only the first is readily accessible right now. In fact, Spanny himself advised against venturing beyond the first waterfall.

At EC $5 per adult, I found Spanny’s cover charge to be very reasonable. After paying him (and taking a shot of spice rum) we began walking the easy trail.

The walk from Spanny’s Bar to the first waterfall lasts for approximately 20 minutes. It is easily accessible by people of all fitness levels and you should definitely bring the kids.

Spanny Falls, Dominica
Left: the trail is well kept and fit for people of all ages. Right: the first waterfall and its pool are fit for bathing. Dive in!

Due to the trail’s condition, you could still visit Spanny Falls if it is raining heavily. The track will be muddy, but it is unlikely that you’ll encounter other hazards. As always, exercise caution at all times.

Summing Up

Spanny told us that he planned on doing some work on the trail to the second waterfall. I look forward to capturing images there soon!

If you’re visiting Dominica, Spanny Falls should definitely be on your list of things to do. Here’s what one visitor had to say:

Beautiful, breathtaking, terrific falls and pool

Falls are breathtaking in the middle of the rain forest, so much to see on the way there. Falls are small in nature but the pool below to go swimming in and the cave next to it was just as nice as what you see in Hawaii, definitely worth the longer drive from downtown Roseau and walk. – Tammy (Baltimore, MD)

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10 Best Reviews About Dominica’s Amazing Underwater Life

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Diving-in-Dominica

As the Nature Island of the Caribbean, Dominica is mostly known for its mountain peaks shrouded in mist, numerous rivers that turn into plunging waterfalls and therapeutic sulfur pools. But did you know that Dominica is just as beautiful underwater as it is above?

In this article I will share with you 10 great reviews about Dominica’s underwater life that will make you want to book your next vacation right now!

Diving in Dominica

1OriginalDiving.com

Gus (Buddy Dive master and Captain) in the water after Tropical Storm Erika. Photo credit: www.bluewaterdivetravel.com

Over 13 years ago, three friends founded www.originaldiving.com and their team has been providing dive enthusiasts with amazing experiences ever since. On their trip to Dominica a few years ago, they were amazed by the underwater life. I was proud to read this line:

Over the last 15 years I have seen my fair share of bleached beds of dying corals and the lack of life it had once supported. Dominica’s reef, though lacking of anything much larger than a parrotfish or torpedo ray, accommodates a fascinating variety of crab, shrimp, starfish and eel; the yellow-headed jawfish; frogfish; leaf fish and ancient soft corals that could be as old as 150 years old.

The divers were also impressed by Dominica’s move toward sustainable energy and applauded the efforts of Secret Bay and Rosalie Bay Resort for sticking to an eco-friendly theme. This prompted the diver to conclude:

I believe that Dominica will hold out far longer than other neighboring islands and that it will remain as a naturally preserved wonder of the Caribbean for some time; due to the population’s pride and their determination to responsibly share their treasure with the rest of the world.

2Dive.in


Torben and Nicolai Loenne launched Dive.in about 8 years ago, but the two have decades of diving experience between themselves. The website has since grown tremendously and employ active divers to share content and experiences.

Their article about Dominica was written by Torben who said:

With its beautiful marine life, untouched habitats, and populated marine reserves, diving in Dominica certainly deserves to be considered the world’s best […] Dominica’s waters remain a magical showground for diving. Not spoiled by industrial development or pollution, diving conditions are superb.

The guys recommended six popular dive sites – Rina’s Hole, Dangleben’s Pinnacle, Scotts Head Pinnacle, Toucari Bay, Crater’s Edge and The Suburbs – but strongly emphasized the ease and beauty of Champagne Reef.

I was even more pleased to find a few reader reviews as well: Lilly said, “We where there a few years ago. Went whale spotting, so so amazing, the kinds loved it. It was before I learned to dive so that we leave for next time. When snorkeling on the reef and that was great as well! Beautiful country!”

And Ben said, “We go there [Dominica] almost every year (last year was an exception). The last few years we [have] been diving with Dive Dominica – they are really great. I’m a safety freak and I feel safe here. Great guys on the boats and good dive staff. Just a small recommendation too a fellow diver.”

3Caribbean Journal

Photo credit: www.caribjounral.com

Caribbean Journal is an online resource dedicated to tourism and traveling in the Caribbean. Every so often, their team releases list such as 5 Budget All Inclusive Holidays in the Caribbean or 9 Caribbean Islands You Should Visit Right Now.

These lists are loved by many because in one short reading, you can learn about an island’s rank in an area that you’re interested in, such as affordable vacation travel or choosing your next vacation destination.

I found one list that made my heart smile because Dominica was featured prominently ahead of so many other regional options. Our island, specifically the Anchorage Hotel, made it to the 20 Best Dive Resorts in the Caribbean, and the editors had this to say about diving in Dominica:

Dominica is one of the Caribbean’s underrated diving destinations, frequented by those in the know. Now that we’ve told you, head to the Anchorage, the island’s signature dive hotel (and go whale watching on your break).

4Scubadiving.com

Photo credit: www.fortyounghotel.com

The Scuba Diving magazine is published 8 times per year, and the online arm of its operations is a treasure trove of information about diving, gear, training and special deals. They have been in the business a long time, and I’d like to think that they know their stuff 🙂

Their article about Dominica from two years ago make no mistake about how much Patricia Wuest (the article’s author) loved her visit to the Nature Isle:

What makes Dominica special? Start with its stunning, lush and protected natural park system; hundreds of streams and countless waterfalls; and thriving coral reefs.

Patricia was impressed that Dominica had prime diving sites all along its west coast, but she was most awed by those near the Soufiere Scotts Head Marine Reserve:

Spectacular is a word that’s overused but it applies here. The ancient volcanic action that gave birth to this beautiful island also created its reefs. Pretty coral gardens lead to exciting walls and pinnacles are the visible spiky tops of an ancient volcano […] All we can say is that the trip is well worth it.

5Keri Wilk

Keri Wilk has been diving since he was 8 years old and was officially certified by 12. He joined his older brother’s company – ReefNet – and then formed his own – Rotorpixel – and now, with 20 years of diving experience under his belt, he’s taking others on expeditions around the world.

Here’s what he had to say about Dominica:

With volcanoes, waterfalls, rainforests, hundreds of rivers, and endemic flora and fauna, it’s no surprise that this 300 square mile island has earned the nickname “Nature Island”. And, that isn’t even taking the marine life into account! Diving on the west coast is among the best in the Caribbean!

Keri has had a great track record over the last two years – he has spend 44 days at sea and 36 of those yielded whale sightings. What’s more, on 21 of those remaining days, his team had a lot of success tracking a number of whales and spending the majority of their days diving and interacting with the sea mammals.

If you see this in time, you can apply for Keri’s 2017 whale-watching expedition to Dominica here.

6SnorkelingOnline.com

Snorkeling at Champagne Reef, Dominica. Photo credit: www.mami-eggroll.com

SnorkelingOnline.com has been around for about 9 years, but its parent company is almost 30 years old. They’re one of the world’s largest retailers of snorkeling equipment and gear, so I think they are more than qualified to rate diving in Dominica.

In a recent list of seven worldwide destinations for salt water snorkeling, the website featured Dominica as one of the few locations where one can experience warm water snorkeling. They said:

The Commonwealth of Dominica could be considered a hot spot for snorkeling. This is due to the fact that it is volcanically active. There are nine active volcanoes there and you can grab your snorkel gear and head over to Champagne Beach and snorkel through the geothermal vents found there which keep the water temperature at about 82 degrees. The vents release streams of warm bubbles so it is often described as snorkeling in champagne.

7Islands.com

Islands.com is the online arm of popular travel magazine, Islands. The company’s mission is to inspire travel to islands all over the world, not just in the Caribbean. It is this global focus that makes Dominica’s inclusion on a recent list so important.

A recent article ranked the top 25 best islands destinations for snorkeling, and guess who came in at number seven? Dominica! Again, Champagne Reef is featured prominently as one of our best snorkeling sites:

A freshwater sulfur spring at the site sends out streams of warm air bubbles into the Caribbean. Not only does this sea of seltzer tickle as it bubbles up from the reef, but the vent also attracts unusual critters, from flying gurnards to Caribbean reef squid.

8Caribbean Journal

Caribbean Journal makes our list again because of Dominica’s placement on its Best Islands for Snorkeling in the Caribbean list from 2016. The Nature Isle joined regional favorites such as Tobago and Bonaire, and once again, Champagne Reef was the main site of reference.

Dominica is one of the Caribbean’s under-the-radar diving destinations, and it’s equally true for snorkelers. The biggest pull for snorkelers is the amazing Champagne Reef destination, so called for the geothermal vapors that give the feeling of snorkeling in bubbles — another bucket list experience for Caribbean travelers.

9AllThingsCruise.com

About 8 years ago, Tim and Linda O’Keefe launched AllThingsCruise as a central repository that could answer the thousands of questions they had received over the years about cruises. They constantly fielded questions such as: “how do I find the right cruise, the right ship, the right destination?” And “which is the right and best shore excursion?”

The website has grown into a hub of cruise passengers, explorers, travelling families and all kinds in between. With more than 450,000 annual visitors, the website carries considerable weight in the cruise research industry. That’s exactly why I was happy to come across Tim’s article.

With 22 different kinds of cetaceans roaming through its waters, Dominica has rapidly become the Caribbean’s whale watching capital […] Everyone on our boat becomes charged as several people point to a short plume of spray a half-mile from us; our boat was already heading for it […] Amazingly, we quickly locate two more small groups of whales before returning to the Anchorage Hotel, sighting a total of nine whales that morning.

10DeeperBlue.com

DeeperBlue.com was started by Stephan Whelan in 1996 and focuses on providing amazing content about three main areas of diving – freediving, scuba diving and spearfishing.

The company has an active following of more than 200,000 users, so when seasoned diver, Louisa Collyns, wrote about Dominica in November 2016, many people in the industry started listening. This article sought to inform the world about Johnny Deep’s freediving courses and in general, diving in Dominica:

Not only does the island have the ideal conditions that we free divers are searching for: easy access to unlimited depth from shore, predictably calm, current-free and warm conditions in the water; it also boasts incredible natural beauty, friendly locals, and offers many activities for freedivers and non-freedivers alike.

Louisa wrote specifically about two camps that Johnny hosted in Dominica and she was clearly impressed with Dominica as a diving destination. In between the camps, the team explored Dominica and they fell in love with scenery such as Trafalgar Falls and Emerald Pool.

The freediving conditions were perfect, and the island beautiful with so much to explore […] Johnny has more exciting training opportunities coming up, so stay tuned. I think everyone who attended the camps would return for more. I know I will!

The diving camps were the lead-up to the Blue Element Freediving Competition, which is the first of its kind in Dominica and the wider Eastern Caribbean.

Summing Up

These 10 reviews, coming from people who are more than qualified to rate underwater experiences, all rank Dominica high among its peers in the areas on scuba diving, snorkeling, whale watching and freediving.

With those endorsements, you can’t go wrong. Book your trip and come experience diving in Dominica!

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Rave Reviews: Pagua Bay House

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Pagua Bay Pool

Pagua Bay House & Oceanfront Cabanas

From Christopher M. Gurnee (stayed February 2017, traveled as a couple)

Pagua Bay House
Photos of Pagua Bay House: Cabanas 1 and 2 (top), Gardens (middle one), Cabana 6 (middle two), Pool Deck (bottom)

We just got back from a week of an absolutely outstanding stay in Dominica. It was our first visit and from the time of booking my room to the day of departure, Rick, Alicia, Sheldon, and the rest of the staff at Pagua Bay House, did everything to make sure we had the time of our lives (without being intrusive).

It was our 25th wedding anniversary so I booked the Ocean Suite 6 for our romantic getaway. It was perfect.

The outlets are UK (but they have converters if needed and a hair dryer is included in the room… although remember the climate, so I wouldn’t waste too much time with the hair – my wife gave up the second day). USB jacks on the back of each bedside lamp was perfect.

Sheldon was great about helping us set up our daily itinerary and we could generally count on Alicia to come by at breakfast to see how we were doing and give additional pointers about the island (kind of like having your own “Julie” with an infectious bubbly attitude).

Listen to her and let them cater to your needs… you won’t be sorry!

Oh, and about that one review about the loud ocean keeping her up… how to put this nicely, you know, ocean sounds are generally one of the main settings for relaxation sound machines right?

Things to consider though. Considering the location of the Pagua Bay and your planned excursions, you will be traveling quite a bit to wherever your itinerary takes you. While there are some nice small hikes around the general area (as well as some tubing down the Pagua River) most of the really cool hikes, beaches and water activities will be about a half hour to an hour or so away which means a car if you’re adventurous or having someone drive you.

The other downside of this “proximity to other things” issue is where to eat (especially dinner) if you’d like to try other places other than the restaurant at Pagua Bay. That being said, Pagua Bay does a great job with tasty and diverse menu items, but it is nice to get around to other authentic Dominican food.

Of course one of the biggest advantages of the locale is the proximity to the airport since you will likely be taking an early flight on your return (and you will want to get there at least 2 hours before).

Aside from that, Rick and Alicia have done a remarkable job building a sanctuary from the rat race and have put great thought in the layout of the rooms with each located apart from each other enough to feel the in your own little world.

They lent us chairs for the beach, fins, and daily beach towels. Wi-fi was available throughout and working TV with a plethora of channels to watch if that’s your thing. Truly, this ranked in our top 5 and the service was top shelf!

This review and the photos were sourced on TripAdvisor.com, the world’s most trusted website for travel and hotel information.

Hotel’s Profile

Name: Pagua Bay House and Oceanfront Cabanas
Location: Pagua Bay, Dominica (10 minutes away from Douglas-Charles Airport)
Contact: (767) 445-8888
paguabayhouse@gmail.com
www.paguabayhouse.com
 Description: Six cabanas each with ocean views and upscale amenities, including Wi-Fi. Choose between air condition or enjoy being caressed by the natural, cool sea breeze while sitting by the infinity pool!
Rates: Starts at US $230 per night
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9 Easy-To-Do Activities in Dominica

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Easy activities in Dominica

First off, let me say that “easy” does not mean less fun! Dominica is well known as the Nature Island, and to some visitors, thoughts of long, arduous hikes are what come to mind. Well, we do have many of those, but we are also happy to offer numerous easy activities in Dominica for folks who want a low impact vacation.

So if you’re in Dominica for a few days and you’re interested in enjoying a laid back holiday, these nine activities are perfect for you 🙂

1Explore the Roseau Market

This busy, riverfront farmers market is the best place to get fresh produce (vegetables, spices, etc), local meat, traditional meals, hand crafted souvenirs and a host of other items. The Roseau Market also doubles as an open air supermarket and you’ll find all variety of local manufactured items available for sale.

Cost: Access to the Roseau Market is free

When to go: The Market is open throughout the week but comes alive on a Saturday morning

How to get there: Travel North along the Dame Eugenia Charles Blvd, past the ferry terminal and you’ll enter the Roseau Market soon after.

2Swim with the bubbles at Champagne Reef

Champagne Reef is one of Dominica’s premier diving sites and has been rated as one of the best snorkeling locations in the Caribbean. The area was given its name because of the underwater geothermal springs that release gases into the water. These hot gases form thousands of small bubbles which give you the feeling of swimming in a large glass of champagne!

Cost: Varies depending on the tour operators. US $12 to rent snorkel and fins at Champagne Reef

When to go: Year-round, but the best times are between December and May

How to get there: Champagne Beach is 20 minutes south of the capital, Roseau. Just follow the main road through the villages of Newtown, Loubiere and Pointe Michel.

3Stand on the edge of the world at Scotts Head

From the very top of Cachacrou, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the village and the surroundings © 2016 Yuri A. Jones

Scotts Head is a vibrant fishing village to the south of Dominica. It overlooks the Soufriere Bay which is protected as the Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve. To get the best views, you’ll need to walk up the hill, via a worn footpath. The trek is short, but somewhat dangerous, as loose pebbles may cause you to lose your footing. In less than 15 minutes you’ll have a 360 degree view which includes the village, the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Cost: Access to Scotts Head is free

When to go: Year-round

How to get there: Scotts Head is approximately 1 hour south of the capital, Roseau. Just follow the main road through the villages of Loubiere, Pointe Michel and Soufriere.

4Go Bird-watching along the Syndicate Nature Trail

Top: a bird waiting for his share as we ate at the visitors center; Middle: many farmers along the Syndicate route grow coffee beans like these; Bottom: the Gommier tree are giants of the rain forests and can grow to 120 feet tall © 2016 Yuri A. Jones

Syndicate Nature Trail is a part of the national park known as the Syndicate Preserve and sits at the bottom of Dominica’s tallest mountain, Morne Diablotin. Home to our national bird and its cousin (the Sisserou and Jaco parrots), the one mile loop trail is an easy hike through the rain forest which provides a diverse sample of Dominica’s flora and fauna, including 51 species of birds.

Cost: Non-residents require a site pass (US $5 or US $12 for a week long pass); Free for residents

When to go: Year-round, but be mindful of the weather and the trail gets muddy during and after heavy rainfall

How to get there: Drive north along the West Coast Highway until you get to a Syndicate Nature Trail sign after the village of Dublanc. Take a right onto a narrow farm road and continue driving (approx 5 miles) until you get to the visitor center.

5Surround yourself with history at the Cabrits

Top: this is one of the signs located along the trail at the Cabrits; Middle: remains of the English garrison, this is the Commandant’s Quarters; Bottom left: the main corridor at the Cabrits trails; Bottom right: a half-buried cannon along the East wall at the Cabrits. © 2017 Yuri A. Jones

The Cabrits National Park sits on Dominica’s northern-most peninsula and protects tropical forests, coral reefs and wetlands. The main attraction at that site is the beautifully restored Fort Shirley, which was the headquarters and main defense post of the British army garrison in Dominica. However, if you’d like, you could explore the less-visited trails and structures that surround the main fort.

Cost: Non-residents require a site pass (US $5 or US $12 for a week long pass); Free for residents

When to go: Year-round, but be mindful of the weather and the trails gets muddy during and after heavy rainfall

How to get there: Drive north along the West Coast Highway until you get to the roundabout just beyond the Purple Turtle Beach at Portsmouth. Keep driving North (that means staying left) and you’ll get to a reception area with a parking lot. You’ll then have to walk up a cobblestone roadway to get to Fort Shirley.

6Float Up the Indian River

The Indian River is Dominica’s mini-Amazon. It is our widest river, teeming with life and lies in a coastal wetland dominated by the spectacular buttressed Bwa Mang trees. Boatmen in hand-oared river boats will take you up slow-moving river at a leisurely pace, so that you can appreciate the the many types of flora and fauna along the swampy river bank. This river ride and the local bar found upstream were featured in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and the round trip can last anywhere from 1 1/2 to 5 hours.

Cost: Non-residents require a site pass as the river is part of a national park; both residents and non-residents must hire a boatman or tour guide in an oared boat. Their prices range from US $20-$40 per head. KHATTS offers a Cabrits National Park and Indian River tour for US $65 per person.

When to go: Year-round

How to get there: Drive north along the West Coast Highway to the town of Portsmouth. You’ll find the river mouth in between the settlement of Glanvillia and downtown Portsmouth.

7Look up at twin waterfalls at Trafalgar

Trafalgar Falls is one of Dominica’s most visited sites and is located at the edge of the village of Trafalgar. A pleasant, 10 minute walk takes one from the visitors center to a view platform with a panoramic view of the twin falls. Affectionately known as “Father Falls” (on the left) and “Mother Falls” (on the right), they plunge approximately 125 ft and 75 ft respectively.

Cost: Non-residents require a site pass (US $5 or US $12 for a week long pass); Free for residents

When to go: Year-round

How to get there: The drive from Roseau to Trafalgar last approximately 20 minutes. Leave Roseau via Valley Road (going East) and drive through the neighborhoods of Bath Estate and Silver Lake. At the first fork in the road, keep to your left and drive past the village of Fond Canie. At the next fork in the road, simply follow the signs, keep right and drive through the neighborhood of Shawford. From then on, stick to the main road and you’ll drive through Trafalgar and eventually get to the falls.

8Walk through a 4-acre garden at Papillote

Top left: this White Bat Flower is one of only two in Dominica, the other one live at Papillote as well; Top right: a bed of Anthuriums adorns the path in the garden; Middle left: this concrete path leads to the lower section of the garden and L’iviere Seyo; Middle right: Damsel Falls is usually just a trickle and got its name for the couple who lived below it and died in a rock slide; Bottom left: this is one of three pools at Papillote. Don’t let its color fool you though, it is not sulfur, but it is warm; Bottom right: Ginger Lilies are found throughout the Papillote gardens

Papillote Wilderness Retreat is Dominica’s first eco-inn and was established in 1969. The hotel is well known for its 4-acre botanic gardens, curated by proprietor Anne Jno Baptiste. Over the last 45 years, Anne has traveled the world in search of unique plants to replant and nurture at Papillote. As a result, she now has dozens of species on display and takes visitors on tours of the property. Surrounded by such beauty and strolling along at your own pace, one could easily spend hours exploring Papillote.

Cost: There’s no charge to enter Papillote, but the cost of each service varies. A guided tour of the gardens costs US $10. Or you could take advantage of their Interlude for a Day, which includes a guided tour, lunch and access to the pools and waterfall all for the charge of US $65.

When to go: The eco-inn closes its doors for about month at the end of the Summer, to complete renovations and prepare for the high tourist season in October

How to get there: Follow the same directions as given for Trafalgar Falls above and you’ll get to Papillote (near the hydro power station) just before you climb the hill to enter the Trafalgar Falls visitors center.

9Fall asleep in a sulfur pool at Tia’s

After three days of fun but slow-paced activities, the best thing you can do is soak in a sulfur pool. Entrepreneurs in the village of Wotten Waven offer this amenity in various ways, and we’ve highlighted Tia’s Hot Spa in this article. He offers bar and restaurant services, public and private sulfur pools, and he even rents bamboo cottages on the property. A sulfur bath will cleanse your skin and soothe your soul. It’s one of those “must do” activities in Dominica.

Cost: EC $10 gets you a bath in a public pool for as long as you like. There are two private pools available and a bath in one of these costs EC $10 per half hour.

When to go: Tia usually closes the spa during the summer for a month or so. He uses the time to do repairs and upgrades on the property.

How to get there: Leave Roseau via Valley Road, heading east into the Roseau Valley. Drive through the neighborhoods of Bath Estate and Silver Lake. When you get to the first fork in the road, take a right and head down into the neighborhood of Copthall. Drive through Copthall, keep on the main road and you will eventually get to Wotten Waven. Tia’s Hot Spa is the first group of structures in the village proper, and many signs will tell you so.

9 Easy Activities in DominicaSumming Up

These nine things-to-do aren’t the only easy activities in Dominica. I’m sure I can find nine more, so look out for a future blog post with a similar title! However, this article is a good place to start if you’d like to book a relaxing, low impact vacation.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with you friends online! 

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DHTA appoints new Executive Vice President

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Kevin Francis, Dominica
Kevin Francis, new Executive Vice President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association. (Photo credit: Diamond Pixels)

Roseau, Dominica – The Board of Directors of the Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association (DHTA) appoints new Executive Vice President (EVP), Kevin Francis.

The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA), a membership-based tourism development organization serving the industry for over four decades, announces the appointment of Kevin Francis, as Stephanie Astaphan’s successor, as the Executive Vice President of the DHTA.

Arienne Perryman, President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association

“We are thrilled to announce this appointment,” remarked Arienne Perryman, DHTA’s President. “Kevin will bring leadership and creativity to the DHTA and its Members, with a deep sense of commitment to the hospitality and tourism sector of Dominica and the region by extension.”

Kevin’s background includes marketing and customer relations. He graduated from the Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas where he pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing. Francis served as the Brand and Trade Coordinator at J. Astaphans and Co Ltd, where he coordinated outside events and promotions, market research, formulated strategies to increase market share and saturation, and worked directly with distribution customers to increase stock turnover amongst other duties. Francis will assume his role as Executive Vice President as of March 1, 2017.

“I am extremely delighted to work along with the Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association (DHTA) to help, represent and be the unified voice for, it’s over 100 members in the Tourism industry, remarks Kevin. I consider it an honor to be part of such an innovative organization and plan on using all our information, and personnel resources to help increase visibility for the organization, its values and its members.”

The Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association is a non-profit organization providing centralized and innovative information, advocacy, and leadership for the tourism industry in Dominica.

 

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Weekly Roundup: Jan 29-Feb 4

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“Waitukubuli” by Hello Margeaux

This 4 and a half minute video is another submission to the Dominica Film Challenge held in 2014. Producer, @Hello Margeaux, explored Dominica for a week and came up with this clip, featuring our beautiful island. If you like what you see, please like, share and comment!

Posted by Embrace Dominica on Thursday, February 2, 2017

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Weekly Roundup: Jan 22-28

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This is Dominica

This video from Van Ditthavong features the award-winning photographer and film-maker's documentary on Dominica called "This is Dominica." The film was part of his submission to the island's "Dominica Film Challenge" in 2014. It's a beautiful piece of work and deserves to be shared. Like, comment and share if you agree!

Posted by Embrace Dominica on Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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Weekly Roundup: Jan 15-21

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DOMINICA: Geography Now

A few months ago I got a Facebook message from Paul, who introduced himself as the host of the YouTube show "Geography Now." I'd never heard of it, but continued to discuss his upcoming episode on Dominica, and was happy to answer his ten or so questions to the best of my ability. I think he did a decent job of portraying Dominica in a factual albeit comical way. What do you think?? Tell me in the comments below! Share this video if you like it!

Posted by Embrace Dominica on Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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Weekly Roundup: Jan 8-14

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Fresh Seafood!

Visit Keepin'it Real, Toucari, Dominica where your food comes from the sea, to your table, FRESH! Question: how do you like your lobster prepared? Tell me in the comments below!

Posted by Embrace Dominica on Friday, January 13, 2017

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Weekly Roundup: Jan 1-7

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Having fun with sheppee fun tours...one love Dominica. .wild fun.....2015..

Posted by SHEPPEE FUN TOURS FAN BASE on Saturday, November 28, 2015

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#LévéDomnik: Untold Stories of Abuse (Part 5)

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16 Days of Activism is an international campaign to end violence against women and children. It began on November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and will end on December 10 (Human Rights Day). For more information on the movement, see the official UNiTE website.

Here in Dominica, the campaign has taken social media by storm, propelled by Delroy Williams, Khadijah Moore and their team of advocates.

Mimicking a similar movement in Barbados, the local movement can be recognized by the hashtag #LévéDomnik. The hashtag, which when translated from Créole means wake up Dominica or stand up Dominica, is expected to encourage women, girls, men and boys to wake up, stand up and raise their voices against sexual harassment, molestation, all forms of assault, rape, domestic violence, etc.

The stories that follow were shared with the advocates and now I’m sharing them with you. The anonymous contributors were brave enough to share their experiences, so in support of this campaign, let us share this blog post with our friends and family.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

#LévéDomnik #16DaysofActivism

**

A poem that summarize what I and many other are going through.

Silent Cry

I wanna cry, I just wanna stay in bed all day and just cry.
Maybe if I cry I’ll feel better but for now I don’t and I just wanna cry.
It hurts, it hurts really bad and all I did was cry.
He said “I won’t hurt you” but he did and all I did was cry.
He said “this is the last time” and I knew he was lying but all I did was cry.
I tried to tell but I was too scared so I cried.
I saw my dad do it to my mom, when he was done she cried.
She held me and said “its OK your daddy love you.”
I didn’t understand it, if he loved me why did he hurt me so bad but all I did was cry.
Mommy didn’t say anything when he did it to her so I couldn’t say it to anyone, so all I did was cry.
And now you have given me the platform to do more than just cry,
I’m not done crying because the pain is still there but I’m not just crying, I’M TELLING!!!!! #Levedomnik

**

I have so many stories to tell…

At age 4, I was living with my mom and she had a boyfriend, but I never really trusted him, tho I didn’t know anything at that tender age. I was walking to the back of the house and he was standing in a corner by the step and ‘pssst’ at me.

When I looked his way, he was showing me his private part. Strange how I would remember this from this tender age but these are things I will never forget cause they scarred me.

At 8 years old I moved to live with my aunt and her sister husband would always come around early in the mornings and come in to my room and show me his private part and ask me if I wanted to touch it. I never told anyone because I was scared.

Whilst growing up older men kept on disrespecting me and showing me their private parts and I would never talk about it because I was always scared of people not believing me and putting a bad image on my name.

I started having sex at a very young age because of the way people treat me, and I wanted to know what it really felt like. I moved from home to home to home when I was younger, my parents were never really there for me, so I was looking for love in all different kinds of men.

By the time I was 18 I had already been raped 3 times by 3 different men. I only reported one but when I was asked to go to court I was scared because I didn’t want any public humiliation.

Some man working in the Financial Centre promised to pay my tuition for college. He is very well known and also married we had sex a few times. When I stopped having sex with him because I know it was wrong, and I was fed up, my college tuition was no longer being paid for.

I have to live with these scars for the rest of my life… they just never go away. I’m 23 now and still can’t get a hold of these things.

**

Hey Case, I’ve now built the confidence to speak.

It’s been about 3 years since this last left my tongue. He was my one of my subject teachers and all I asked for was to help me install Windows 7.

He invited me to his home in Roseau and of course I went innocently. I mean he was a nice teacher, always making us laugh and I actually understood what he taught. When I arrived he offered me something to drink and a place to sit.

First he started complimenting me on my looks, and how quiet and nice I was in class. I smiled and said thank you. He started playing with my hair and then leaned in to kiss me. I froze, everything around me froze and the next thing I remember was feeling his hand under my dress, touching my vagina.

I could not react negatively or positively, I just froze. He just stopped after a while, finished on my computer and then I left.

It’s not as bad as what I’ve been reading but it’s never been the same after that. And to think all I wanted was windows 7. I never said anything cause I was already a big girl by then and I thought I would have just wasted everyone’s time.

The opportunity to type this out makes a huge difference in where my mind is at, so thank you. I am no less of a woman.

**

Second time around

I was at a party… was drunk and ended up falling. Two guys whom I thought were my friends picked me up as if to help me. Brought me outside and I felt safe. My head was down… when I looked up, one of them had his penis out in my face telling me suck it. Pushing my head.

I screamed asking him to stop he said, “long time I know you want that.”

His other friend gave up and told him, “let’s go. Leave her.” It was then I knew I couldn’t trust anyone. Still see them and feel messed up because these guys came to my home, laughed with me, called themselves my friend. Smh!

**

I’ve been looking at all these posts…

And to see that I am not alone is both sad and encouraging. I still remember so clearly what happened to me 17 years ago, a moment that would change my life forever. I was only 8. I had school in the afternoons. My father worked nights and would come home in the mid mornings to rest.

One morning his phone rang and he called me to get it. He asked me to place it back on the charger when he was done, and I stretched my hand to get the phone. He pulled me towards him and pushed his tongue in my mouth. I was so frightened and afraid I quickly pulled myself away I said, “this is wrong what are you doing?”

He didn’t stop. He placed me on the bed to sit and took out his penis. He asked me to rub it I didn’t understand what was going on. I was afraid of what he might have done if I didn’t do what he said. He then laid atop me and began rubbing himself on my crotch then, ejaculated in his hands (I am aware now of what he did).

I felt so sick and confused. He told me I shouldn’t tell my mother because she would never believe me. But I did because I thought she could help me… She didn’t believe me and called me a liar.

Months went by then he started again… Now he was pulling down my underwear and rubbing his genitals against mine and ejaculating on my stomach. And the sick part is it started to feel good.

He used to ask me if I loved him and tell me that he loved me, and cry when he was coming. I didn’t understand what was happening I was now 9. I felt so numb. I told my best friend in primary school. She cried and told the teacher.

The police got involved. I was taken to the hospital. They said I was still a virgin but it’s obvious I’m being messed with. My mother stepped forward and said I play with myself all the time. That response was like a knife to my guts. How do u choose a man over your child? He introduced me to sex…

My self esteem even today is so low… In high school I became promiscuous. Sex was like a high for me… And it’s sad I think if I wasn’t abused I’d still be a virgin. I knew nothing about sex or was interested in boys.

My father destroyed me… Every time I hear the song ‘Daddy Don’t Touch Me There’ I feel like people are looking at me. I get nauseous. How did the person who was supposed to protect and defend me end up being the one who harmed me?

I wear a smile because it fools everyone.

gender-exploration
Gender Self-Exploration Tour at the Dominica State College. Photo source: Khadijah Moore

**

I’ve kept this inside for 17 years…

Until recently I met a young man who has completely changed my life.

I don’t remember the precise age it started. I just remember it did and it ruined a great part of my life. My neighbor was my cousins godfather and she would come over to play. There was a galvanized barricade separating the two yards and one day while she went over to their yard I waited at the barricade and her godfather kissed me. Put his tongue in my mouth.

I must have been six. I believe that was the moment that I became stained. I became a bullseye. A target for every pedophile and pervert.

The crushing of my spirit came when I was eight. It was the day after August Monday. My mum, lil sis and I had gone out with some close cousins and friends to the beach on August Monday. My mum’s good friend was there as well. He has a daughter about 2 years younger than I. The next day my mum asked me to wash his cooler and take it back to him just a few houses over before she went off to work.

I woke up and and after having some breakfast, did as she instructed. I brought the cooler to him. He then asked me if I wanted some mangoes, to which I said yes. The mangoes were conveniently located upstairs. We got upstairs and he took me to the room to get payment for his mangoes. He took my pants off. Placed me on the bed and started eating me out. I lay there. Scared. Not understanding completely. Staring at the ceiling.

He then got up. Told me to put on my pants so we could go. Then he told me to wait a while cause he just seen my dad drive past. Next thing we were leaving the room and he shoved me back in cause a lady from down the road came to get some mango under the tree.

When she left I was given my mangoes and sent on my merry way, being reminded to tell no one. This man continued to peruse me vigorously from the age of 8-16 when I moved away. I was scared shitless of him. I felt trapped. I would lock myself up in the house whenever I was home alone. I was caged. With no one to talk to. He hurt me. Took everything from me. I still say up to this day I have to kill him.

My life was ruined by this man. He took everything from me at 8. I grew up with no self esteem. No self worth. No confidence. I had been an A+ student. As I got older and began approaching my teens and began understanding it, all my grades started plummeting.

I struggled with myself. I blamed myself. I was so ashamed. I tried to kill myself three times by overdosing on pain pills and strangling myself. I did things to get in trouble at school. Negative attention was my friend.

With my body evolving, maturing he became hungrier. I was weak. Pitiful. Valueless. No one knew anything. He was the predator and I was the weak prey. He got what he wanted when I was 16.

He saw me outside with a boy (who also took advantage of me) late at night just talking and threatened to tell my mum (who was ruthless and would have maybe crucified me) unless I gave him sex. He bent me over right there in the yard and put his penis into me. Forcing me repeatedly and then came into me.

Somewhere within me though I found some courage and told him I’d tell my mum what he did to me at 8 if he told her and that’s how I managed to breakaway a bit.

I then moved and wasn’t near him anymore. I felt like trash after. I went to school feeling dirty the next day. I started behaving recklessly. Love meant sex. Many sex partners. I was always searching for something in sex that I couldn’t find. Even approaching adulthood sex was never satisfying. It was a chore. Any man could have me. I was nothing. I was nobody.

We spent summers with my dad’s family growing up. It was always the happiest part of the year. Until one summer while we were at my uncle’s house, I woke up (pretended I was still asleep) to the feeling of someone touching me. I was about 11-12 and my cousin was 15-17. He got on top of me and pulled my panties down a bit and was rubbing his penis on my vagina.

He ejaculated onto my thighs and then cleaned it up. I never moved. Never made a sound. Luckily we were leaving the next day. He and I are “friends.” He doesn’t know that I know everything that happened.

My English lecturer in college pursued me aggressively. He was married and would send me unwanted pics of his penis and videos of him masturbating.

A prominent doctor in the daytime. A dirty habit in his back pocket. Got seen by him at the casualty and he asked me to come to his office for a follow up. I was 16 then. He took care of me and assured me whatever I needed he’d help me.

I was so stupid. So naive. So worthless due to being a teen with multiple sexual abuses and child abuse at home, I took to it. He helped me with school. Gave me spending monies. Then it was time to pay up when I was about 19.

He’s my cousin. So close to the family. Married. Beautiful kids. People used to whisper about us. Saying we’re “fucking” cause of our closeness. Because you can’t behave differently. You can’t let no one know what’s going on. Everyone blames the girl. “She wanted it.” “She was always by them.”

But little did they know. I was being held down and forced upon. I was being hurt. My hand clasped and wrist squeezed while being told to sit on it. There was no one to turn to for help.

It doesn’t only happen in Dominica. It’s like these men can sniff out victims and use the low self esteem to their advantage. I moved to the USVI a few years ago and I met this man while trying to pursue my career path. He was supposed to be an advisor. Someone to help us.

He started texting me being friendly. Asking when we were gonna have a drink together. One night he texted me about getting a drink. I had already been having a few with friends and inebriated me responded. The details aren’t quite clear in my head.

Parts are blacked out but I remember being picked up from work. I remember being forced to drink more in the house. And I remember waking up naked at 7:30am in a bed and house that wasn’t mine. I was freaked out and terrified.

I seen the messages later that day. I blamed myself. I was scared to go back to that office but I had to. I had gain the courage to make a choice to escape. To get out of there.

Through multiple encounters with sexual abuse I was at my lowest in life. Not having anyone to talk to. Failing. Imploding. Exploding. Outcast. Lost. Frustrated. Shameful. Confused. Depressed. Suicidal. I gave up on God. I just wanted to die. I felt like I would never be good enough for a man. I was an old dirty rag. I’d never find a husband. Sex wasn’t pleasurable.

I cheated in my relationships cause I could never find the sexual gratification I was searching for. Being sexually abused as a child ruins that child. I am a product of such abuse. But thank the heavens I am strong. I overcame. I met someone who has helped me. He saw me at my lowest in a drunken night when I broke down and sobbed. Cried for hours about how I was broken and he’d taken everything from me.

He let me cry then wiped my tears and showed me that I was not that person. He’s my someone who helped me to get this weight off my chest which has weighed me down for 17 years and I am only in my mid- twenties. He accepted this past without judgment and has helped me stop being a victim. And instead choosing to be a champion. A survivor.

You guys are doing a good thing. Reading these stories are a weird kinda of comfort to those of us who also lived through these situations. It helps in know that you’re not alone and we are strong.

**

When I was 17 I was raped by a friend of mine…

I was sharing an apartment for the job I worked with two guys… they were both my friends. One had gone home for the weekend. The other one was supposed to be home had come back earlier that day while I was out.

He was drunk and he told me he was swef. I told him what did that had to do with me… you have a girlfriend. He said is me that he wanted it from me and he laughed. I thought he was joking until I heard the door lock, the lights turned off and the sound of the key being flung somewhere.

I panicked tremendously. He held me down, arms against my chest as he lay down on them and removed my pants and told me to be quiet. I was kicking and screaming by then. He didn’t care.

He did what he came to do and then when he was done he asked what all the fuss was about and turn on the light to look at me. I was bleeding. He laughed, retrieved the key from out of the cupboard where he had put it and unlocked the door, then left.

After couple of minutes I got up took a shower everything hurt so bad that I started crying again. Packed my bags and left. I screamed, I cried, I shouted… no one came, no one cared. Next day I asked a neighbor if he heard any screaming in the next side he said yea but he thought it was some movie that was playing.

I nearly burst into tears… Told my mom a year after.

Then I started working at a bar and every time the guy got drunk he’d always try and touch me inappropriately. The second bar I worked for I was sexually harassed by my boss always telling me stuff or asking me to stay late or sleep over and I’d always declined.

One day he tried to rub himself against me stating he was hard and it was my fault for being so beautiful. I nearly stabbed him and I quit. I told a friend but my boss told me that even if I told police that I was being sexually harassed he could just say that the way the bar is, it’s not registered so he could simply say I was coming at his home n help him and I wasn’t working for him.

At 19 my cousin decided that his eye had finally passed on me and I looking too good to leave alone, so he decided to kiss me and trying to touch me up… I was shocked I never expected that from a family member. I told another cousin who told me to stay far away from him.

The thing that burning me is I told my mom about the rape and you know what she told me? “Don’t tell anyone.” They’d ask her why she wasn’t there and that I always have to find a reason to destroy her life when she start to make one.

I’m still afraid of boys. I’m 21 and I still am afraid if a guy approaches me… If he leans in to close or brushes me I’ll flinch. If they come to close I panic and bolt. I mean I have male friends but I keep them at a distance. I don’t want it to happen again.

Growing up in a home where your dad beat you cause you looked like your mom. Your mom was never home. You move out and get raped, sexually harassed at work and even family try to use you.
Sometimes it’s just too hard… To hold on… I tried to commit suicide once or twice but nothing happens just ended up in the hospital the first time…

I’m sorry for the people who are going through this. Nobody really know this except for the people close to me. Though some say I’m lying and I wanted my thing so they give it to me. Please post anonymously. Too many judgmental people and bullies.

**

My Story

Can you imagine what it feels like to be hurt by the one who is to protect you? You were supposed to protect me!!! Instead, you ripped my virginity away!!!

DADDY, How could you? Did it occur to you that at that time I was only a 6 year old? But you are my father, you would know? Wouldn’t you? Did it occur to you that this would be the driving force which drove my mother over the edge? She trusted you to protect me!!

Why did you do it? Why did you betray me??? Do you know the effect this has had on my life? Do you know the emotional pain this put me through? Do you know how insignificant and inferior I felt? Do you? DADDY?

What could have possibly pushed you to hurt me like this? Do you know the tapes which played over and over in my mind? “You are no good/you were the one who made him do it!!”

I blamed myself for years!!! Only giving you power over me!!! But now 20 plus years later, after much help…. You are to blame!!! I did not do this to myself!!! You destroyed me and you destroyed your family indirectly!! Had it not been the grace of God!!! HAD IT NOT BEEN THE GRACE OF GOD!!! WOULD I EVEN BE ABLE TO LOOK AT MY REFLECTION IN THE MIRROR?

WOULD I BE ABLE TO FORGIVE MY INNER CHILD FOR ALLOWING YOU TO RUIN MY LIFE? WELL, DADDY, I JUST NEED YOU TO KNOW… I AM FREE… I AM HEALED… I have learnt to stand up for and protect myself, because you disappeared…

You did admit…in recent times…after you realized that I was determined to know the TRUTH…ONLY… BECAUSE I REALIZED THAT I NEEDED TO FREE MYSLEF OF THIS FOREVER… I NEEDED TO MOVE ON… I ALSO REALIZED THAT YOU NEEDED TO BE RELEASED – THE QUESTION ON MY MIND WAS… “DOES HE WANT TO GO TO HIS GRAVE WITH THIS? I WILL PERSIST!!! I WILL, I MUST AND I AM GOING TO KNOW THE TRUTH!!!”

To cut a long story short… His reasons were absurd… Sometimes, GUILT keeps us from turning to the mirror to see OUR true REFLECTION. So we keep RUNNING… IT’S JUST THAT LIFE… HAS A FUNNY WAY OF STOPPING YOU DEAD IN YOUR TRACKS AND YOU HAVE TO FACE THE REALITY. MY FATHER DID EVENTUALLY. I know that he is now at peace. For me… It has been quite a rough ride. But for the grace of God… I have crossed this bridge…

**

My brothers and I were educated early about bad and good touching.

However, my mother believed anything she was told about her kids. I’ll never forget the day the police officers knocked on our door and said they were there to follow up on an incident involving one of my brothers.

One of our neighbours claimed that he had molested her daughter. My mother broke down asking my brother why he would do something like that. Me, I got into a rage because I know it wasn’t true. My brother was very affectionate and since we were only allowed to play with family or kids with the church, he often hugged even our male friends and cousins.

For the next few days I felt so sorry for my brother. He didn’t even seem to understand what was happening. I was still in high school so I know we were less than 16.

Eventually, the mother had the courage or the nerve I should say to walk up our steps. She told my mother that if we paid her $5,000 this would all go away. Honestly, I don’t remember what happened next but I’m glad I was prevented from reaching her. She would have been dead!

How can a mother used her daughter like this and jeopardize the life of another innocent child?! I do hope that our justice system matures enough to the point where people like her can also be prosecuted.

**

There’s this guy at my church…

At one point he kinda took me under his wings. He asked me to be a Jr. bridesmaid at his wedding and we grew closer to the point where I referred to him as my ‘godfather’. One day he offered to take me home after school and I gladly accepted cause I wasn’t feeling well that day.

He picked me up and the route he took was way out of the way. We went up to St. Aroment. To somewhere kind of secluded. He parked and I was already uncomfortable. He said he just wanted to ‘talk’.

A few minutes went by and he leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheeks and his hands started rubbing my thigh. I am a very vocal person, very assertive, and very straightforward but in that moment! I could say nothing. I was frozen in shock I was so scared!

Thankfully! That’s as far as it went while others are not so lucky. I have never went back into his vehicle and when I see him at church I only say hi… from a distance.

**

Hi Khadijah. I’d like to remain anonymous…

Cause I’m scared of what my family would think since I’m too scared to tell them. About 4-5 years back, my younger cousin raped me twice. He is 5 yrs younger than I am. And I am now 23. The first time was while I was asleep and I woke up and pushed him off me.

The second time it happened he brought his friend and they both took turns penetrating me and pinning me down to the ground. I’ve never felt so worthless in my entire life. The fact that he lives close to me and comes over my house everyday (cause I live with our grandmother), had me paranoid that he would try it again.

He has said to me that he would bring more of his friends to ‘sample’ what I’ve got, knowing fully well that I have a boyfriend. I have told both my mother and my boyfriend who are both out of Dominica. But the main people who I have to tell are my Granny, My Father, My Uncle and My Aunty who I’m afraid will shun me as I’m the older one and because of our reputation in society.

It’s a frustrating situation that has been stressing me out.

**

It’s difficult to remember how old I was but I think about 8.

It started so innocent. My mom decided to help out her godson and had him move into our house. He was very helpful. My sister was close with him and I followed her. So I didn’t see anything wrong with the extra attention at first.

I remember the first time I felt uncomfortable was when he asked me to help him with a puzzle and when I sat down I was sitting on his finger. He made it seem like an accident and I ignored it. But it escalated from then.

I think he was 18 at the time and my parents trusted him. They always taught us about inappropriate touching. Don’t sit on a man’s lap. I remember my father saying if anyone touches you let me know and I will kill him. Imagine not having your father in your life. Your rock, your everything. I couldn’t bear to tell him.

And I started disliking my mother. How could she claim to protect me but bring a monster into our house? He touched my sister. Sometimes did us in front of each other. It was like a game. He needed help to throw the rubbish. He would run to throw the rubbish and then use his fingers on us until he made enough space.

I remember he took us to an unused house and out of the blue someone drove up to the house. We ran. He was thrilled. I remember my mother watching ‘Young and the Restless’ and I was going to my room and he pulled me in his room, took off my clothes and had sex with me.

There was some white inky stuff he left in my vagina. I washed it off. When I was in fifth form I learnt that was a man ejaculating. At that age I was lost. At one point in time I liked the feeling that I got. It made me feel good. I wanted him to do it. I waited for my turn.

I tried making the feeling myself but I was too ashamed to touch myself.

After about a year he started looking at my little sister and I did not want her to feel so torn. I felt like I wanted to kill him. He wasn’t going to touch her. So I started diverting attention away from her. My aunt told my mother to look at him. She didn’t like the feel of him, but my mother was so confident.

My grandmother was a little concerned. At 8 she figured I couldn’t bath properly so she had to wash me once in a while. I learnt after my first “aye!” (due to the soreness) that I should bare the pain. I did it well. Telling this secret was a can of worms I did not want to open.

The reason my hell stopped was because he almost died. And with that he went home and the abuse stopped. I learnt to trust few. I learnt to be ashamed of myself. I did not like who I was. I blocked out everything for years. And in high school everything came back.

I went to counseling at Planned Parenthood. I forgave the guy but it took me years to forgive myself. I still struggle sometimes. I became a nympho but I have learnt to control myself and started fostering better relationships. I still have issues with my parents. Over the years I have tried to let them know what happened but the pain is too much to give.

I hear other stories and I count my blessings. I could be worse off.

**

Hi Delroy My story goes like this…

At the age of 5 (I think, not really sure about the age)… I was home, it was late, my mother went to the shop to buy some milk and she left me home with a family friend who would always come to our house and watch TV.

I was watching TV and decided to go to bed. He was sitting next to the room door. When I was passing he touched my vagina and laugh as if it was a joke. You know children… when you start playing with them they don’t want to stop. I laughed too and as a game, he would pull my panty, look and my vagina and say “pica boo.” I laughed and we made a game of it.

When he heard my mother coming he stop and told me, “go to sleep before mammy beat you.” I went to sleep. This was just the beginning. This went on for years, but he never penetrated me. Always would just play with my breast and vagina and show me his penis and let me hold it.

I use to think it was a game until one day he told me to come get a calculator for my sis at his house. As soon as I went in, he touched my breast but it didn’t feel fun anymore. Then he took me to his room and did some oral sex. I told him it was time for me to go home, but he would not stop. He took out his penis and attempted to penetrate me, but before he could, I heard my sis calling for me.

He let me go and ask me not to tell and come back so we can finish the game. I said OK and left. My sis saw me coming from his house and asked me what I was doing there I told her, “nothing.” She told me never to go there alone again and if I do she would tell mammy and I never did.

Come to think of it, I think she either knew what type of person he was or she had the same experience with him. My story doesn’t end there.

I have also been the target of the village rapist. Mothers continuously warned their children about this guy and they feared him. When I was about 8 or 9-ish, the village rapist would always sit outside his house looking at me. He would look to see if anyone else is looking then show me his penis or stand outside his house and jerk his penis till he cum when he sees me watching.

He would watch me when I bathe… we had an outside bathroom, so he would climb the tree and watch me bathe. One day I saw him and told my mother. My mother is a woman that it takes so much to get her angry… that day she got so angry that she had me put on my clothes while I was still wet from the shower, dragged me to the police station to report him.

She cried and promise the officer that she would kill him the next time. I was mad at myself for making my mother so angry that I promised never to do that again. The village rapist continued harassing and followed me when I was alone and watched me in the toilet (we had an old toilet outside). Since he never touched me I never told my mother again.

Neither did I tell her about the other men. I was in my teens (17 I think… just finished high school and was going to college), I met this man in town. I was reading one of the stories where this girl mentioned Shabah… I think it was him cuz our story is similar.

I don’t know Shabah so I can’t say it was he. I was coming from school and he begged me to come get this money for his friend he said he really needs to get it to him and that he was from my village. He begged and followed me but I keep telling him I don’t want any involvement in people’s money business he said he is living the island and he really needs to give this guy they money.

So I said, “fine but you have to pay me for my troubles.” He said, “OK” and led me to this shack in the middle of town and said to me come inside he have to count the money so I did.

As soon as I was in he pulled me in the room and tried to take of my clothes. I begged him not to. I told him if he did this the only way we would leave there is one of us dead cuz if he rapes me he would have to kill me or I would kill him.

He fought with me for a while to remove my clothes but I fought back. I was getting real tired and wanted to give up when suddenly he got up and told me get the f*** out of his place. He didn’t know how happy I was when he said that I thanked God that I escaped from this terrible ordeal or so I thought.

A week later there was this grown man who was my close friend. I told him about what happened to me when I was a little girl and he was the only one I have told. To be honest I liked him a lot but I wasn’t ready to be in a sexual relationship with anyone because I wanted to focus on school and I just wanted to be left alone by everyone.

But I spoke to him. We were nice. I came to his house off and on, never had any problem with him… never thought for a moment that he would have done this to me, but to my surprise, he did. It was a Sunday; I was taking a walk and I passed at his house. He was watching TV. He told me to go to the shop to buy him some drinks and buy something for myself.

We were so close that he would sometimes give me money for school, just like that, or I would ask him whenever I needed. We were just irie, you know.

When I brought him the drinks he told me put them on the table, he is outside doing something. As soon as I went in he step behind me and pushed me in the room. I asked him what was going on. He said, “you play hard to get and you giving other man vagina.” I started to cry cuz I swear I saw the devil in his eyes that day.

I begged him. I told him he has children… don’t do this how would he feel if someone did this to his daughter and what about what I told you happen to me do you want to hurt me more? He never spoke just started touching me.

I fought him that day. I fought with all my might. I scratched his back and told him, “I’m making sure I mark you so police has some evidence…” but he didn’t care. I wasn’t so lucky as the last time. I got tired of fighting my little arms were so weak. I kept on fighting but he was stronger than me. I just wanted to go home.

He performed oral sex on me and then he stop and said, “sorry I just thought if I started you would want to finish.” I said nothing I just stood up got dress and went home, took a bath and went to sleep. I thought that night about going to the police and telling my mother but I remembered how angry she got that day with the village rapist. And I remembered her warning me about having men as close friend, and the thought of him giving me money what would people think.

I fell asleep and pretended nothing happened the next day. Up to this day I pretend that this man don’t exist.

This part of my story is a different from the others but it hurts just as much. I don’t call rape, but a grown man who prayed on me because I was in need.

I was my final year of college and my father was sick and died. He was the bread winner of the family. My mother wasn’t working. Although I got assistance from the government to pay my college fee, but I still had to take the bus and there were other expenses like books. And sometimes I had to stay long hours so need something to eat.

My mother at that time could hardly meet the bills and breakfast was sometimes. The only thing left to do was stay home but how that would have helped my mother. I stayed home a week from school and this man from my village saw me and asked me why was I not at school.

I said no money. He said he could help me because he was a friend of my father. He gave me $50, and I said thanks, and the following week I went to school. I made that $50.00 last me one and a half weeks. I only used it for bus because I was determined to finish school.

One day I called him and asked him if he could help me again. He said yes. He said meet him in the dark next to the post and he will pick me up. I said OK. He picked me up and he drove to a dark area. He stopped and said to me, “I am not going to force you to do anything, but if you want my money, you have to have sex with me.”

I was shocked. I thought for a minute… I am so close to finishing school… it’s this or stay home. So I closed my eyes, with thoughts of my father and what he would think of me, and with a trembling voice I said, “OK.”

He had sex with me that night and gave me $100. I tried my best to make the money last as long as I could so I would not have to have sex with him again. I hated doing it, I hated him, I hated his children, I hated his girlfriend. I hated his entire family because of this.

Every time he would have sex with me he said to me, “I love you and don’t think that this is for money.” Yet still, every time I would ask him for money he would have sex with me.

When I got home after having sex with him I would go to the bathroom, cry, wash myself over and over again till am satisfied that I washed him away. I hated doing this but I thought at least I would finish school. This went on until I graduated.

Weeks after I graduated he called me for so and told me he wanted to have sex he is coming to get me I told him I was done with this and that I always hated having sex with him, and cursed him out and he never bothered me again.

It doesn’t end there, but I will stop here for now. You have no idea how this has affected me, I masturbate up to 9 times a day all because I feel dirty. When am done I call myself all kind of names because I hate me.

I hate all these men that took advantage of me. I have a daughter now and I watch her very closely. If anybody touches her in the wrong place she has to tell me and if they do, God knows there is heaven to pay. These things never go away and I see these men every day and I hate them so much. I have to take my revenge and I have to let them know why.

I just can’t let it go without letting them feel the hurt that I am feeling.

**

The worst thing is…

when you have to try to continue to be civil to these perpetrators and you can’t tell any family member because they either have experienced it or know about it and too ashamed because it will bring down the family name or image, or people will look at you differently or say you are telling lies because they can’t face the horror of what this person did.

Can you imagine bouts of depression, anti social behavior, failing in areas, where were circumstances different, you would have excelled that? Of not knowing who to trust and each time imagining that all men are the same, they only want sex?

I recall in my older years going to daddy, who was gravely ill at the time and hoping he would look at me and apologize for being the last of the bunch to ruin my childhood, a man who I yearned to get to know because he was absent in my early years before 12.

And your excitement short lived only a year later. Instead, it was business as usual, like it never happened. Now I have no trust in, and very little respect for Police officers, doctors, other figures, most men in general.

I thank God for a husband who proved that his intentions were true and honest and different and that he has stayed true to his intentions to love and protect me and our daughters so far. Honestly, I could do without sex. It really means very little to me. Anyway, before my father died, I gave him up for God to deal with, because I wanted a clear mind and heart to move on.

And when he died I told my mom what happened and she was speechless. She said if she had known she would have killed him. And I remember at 20 plus years, I slept in my mother’s bed that night with her holding on to me. Thank God for a mother like mine.

**

Sigh I am happy for this movement…

I remember clearly when I was 9, my great grandmother stepped out to buy some groceries in the village and I was left alone with my male cousin, who at the time was in his early 20’s.

I went to use the washroom and he came in front the toilet blocking me and I looked at him in shock, then he moved so I could pass. I went into the room and he rushed into the room and held me down on the bed, touching me which made me feel very uncomfortable. Then he forced himself inside me and I began screaming and he told me shut up.

My great grandmother could be heard coming in and he got off from me and ran to the toilet, while I stayed on the bed crying myself to sleep.

Ever since that time I have never trusted a man, I was abused by my own family member, I was scared… I became suicidal, I was promiscuous, felt like I had no value anymore, but there is a God because with time I was surrounded by people who helped me to heal.

**

I am very pleased…

To see the level of awareness that this hashtag #lifeinleggings #leveDomnik campaign has brought forth. break the silence #thankyou Delroy Nesta Williams and Ms. Moore for this empowered innovative idea.

I have had my experience #anonymous I was just only age 14 on the verge of 15 when I was told by my cousin who was just chilling by the road that his mother is calling me, I was just going home from practice.

With nothing in my mind, I believed him without observing his mother vehicle wasn’t parked outside. I walked straight into the house and right into her room. Calling her, I felt it strange that she didn’t answer. When i was coming from her room, I watched outside and then realized that the vehicle was not there.

Still no suspicious feeling towards my cousin I decided to walk out. That is when he grabbed onto me very tightly and did not want to let go!

I asked him on several occasions, “what do you want?!” And he was just smiling. He pulled me to his room and let go off me and locked his door. He asked me to sit on the bed but i was very reluctant. At that moment I was afraid but I continued being calm and took a bottle of perfume he had on his dressing table and held it behind my back.

He touched me on my breast like he was so desperate and tried kissing me and saying so long he wanted me.

In my mind I’m like “come on you are my cousin!!” #LeveDomnik I refused and I removed his hand from my back and started spraying the bottle of perfume near his eyes and I started lashing him with the bottle on his head and excused myself decently from his room. I ran so fast from his lane and went straight to the home of my childhood friend and told her the situation but I never told my parents or anyone else but in most recent times my husband.

Unfortunately my cousin is deceased and I never confronted the situation. He attempted it a second time by seeing me on the road. I recognized he was following me so I decided to go to another friends home, he stood outside and watched me while i locked the gate and i ran inside. 

He called my friend and requested my friend to allow him to come in so he could have sex with me. If my friend wasn’t like a brother figure to me he would’ve given him the chance to enter in because his mom just left to go to work. He asked him if he was sleepwalking and just waking up from a bad dream. He told him to go drink medicine because he sounded very sick.

My friend found it very strange and he was shocked at that strange occurrence he probed a bit but i never got the courage to tell him of the first occasion or why my cousin acted so desperate even begging him to allow him to enter.

**

Hello, hope all is well!

I just want to say that I really admire the social media movement you’ve helped to start. I am incredibly thankful that voices are being heard. Thank you for reminding people that they matter and that they are not alone. I would like to share my story.

I grew up in Dominica until I was five. Then I came up to live in the states. That’s when the abuse started. As a child, I was daddy’s little princess but every time we were alone he would abuse me. It started with him French kissing me.

I told my mother what he was doing but he denied and she thought I was lying so I was dismissed.

Every morning I would run into his room and he would give me morning hugs. I’d climb into his bed and he’d cuddle me, a little too closely to the point where he was groping me and rubbing his privates against mine. And over time, morning hugs turned into him forcing me to rub his privates while he did the same to me.

This continued for years until one day I was sick and tired (literally) so I tried to take my own life. Today, I am struggling to get my life together bc of the abuse. Today I am 22 and I’ve been abuse by two more men whom I trusted as friends. In fact, I am writing this from an emergency room, waiting to have a rape kit done.

This will be my second rape kit. Please, Pray for me. 🙏❤️

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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#LévéDomnik: Untold Stories of Abuse (Part 4)

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Young Women In Leadership & Diversity Seminar
Young Women In Leadership & Diversity Seminar Bringing female leaders from across Dominica together to discuss the future of women’s leadership on a national level. The conference is built upon four pillars: networking, education, empowerment and diversity. Photo source: Bureau of Gender Affairs

16 Days of Activism is an international campaign to end violence against women and children. It began on November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and will end on December 10 (Human Rights Day). For more information on the movement, see the official UNiTE website.

Here in Dominica, the campaign has taken social media by storm, propelled by Delroy Williams, Khadijah Moore and their team of advocates.

Mimicking a similar movement in Barbados, the local movement can be recognized by the hashtag #LévéDomnik. The hashtag, which when translated from Créole means wake up Dominica or stand up Dominica, is expected to encourage women, girls, men and boys to wake up, stand up and raise their voices against sexual harassment, molestation, all forms of assault, rape, domestic violence, etc.

The stories that follow were shared with the advocates and now I’m sharing them with you. The anonymous contributors were brave enough to share their experiences, so in support of this campaign, let us share this blog post with our friends and family.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5

#LévéDomnik #16DaysofActivism

**

I was only 4 years old.

I blocked it out until I saw the hashtag #LévéDomnik. I remember hiding underneath my aunty’s (mom sister) bed scared for my life. My mom went to work, I believe, because that day I was at my aunt home. I remember “him” finding me and placing me in the transport… I was crying until I fell asleep on the way to his home in the countryside.

That man who took me away was “my father.”

I remember meeting my great grands who were both loving and kind to me, then one night walking down the road to go home, with “my so called father.” He stopped in an area and led me into the bushes and started touching my privates. I remember feeling weird, it was wrong!

How can a father do this to his own flesh and blood??? He was supposed to protect me! It wasn’t the last time…

He always ensured it was night time and I was alone with him. Never touched me inside the house though, but every time he got a chance he would touch me. Touched me over and over again. I used to close my eyes and pray it would all go away *crying as typing.*

I’m not sure if he ever penetrated me because I blocked it off. I never told my great grands maybe I was afraid.

When I was 5 years old, God sent my Grandfather into my life who I met at a crusade with his wife. They took me to Salisbury to live with them and I consider them my mom and dad until this day.

I am ashamed of “my father.” If any friends ask me about him I would lie and say, “he die” “I don’t have a dad” or I would mention my grandfather as “my dad.” Or if people I don’t know who ask about him I would say, “I don’t wanna talk about that situation, let’s move on.”

I remember being scared of him in my teenager years and would lock myself in the room when I visited one of my aunts by his side. He would just appear, drunk, and I just didn’t want the same thing happening again.

So I stayed locked in the room until he left..I have forgiven him but the memories will always be there.

That’s not even the worst part of my life. When my grandparents brought me to their home I was introduced to both their daughters who were my aunties, but they consider me as their “baby sister.” l was so happy. Finally my own normal family…

But not for long because my grandparents and my aunties had to travel to the States for good. I couldn’t leave with them because my papers weren’t finalized as yet. Anyway they left me with a woman who had a daughter same age as me, in my grandparents home.

I guess they trusted her since she was a “mother”… well that lady abused me at the age of 6-7 years old. Every time I think of that moment in my life I always start crying. I remember some incidents where I was beaten on my knees which bleed and left a scar.

Or that time when she thought I touched the ornaments, came into the room, grabbed me said, ”touch you like touch things… come.”

She brought me into the kitchen, turned on the stove and placed my both little hands *crying again* over the fire until I started crying. And the time when she hit me with a mop stick all over my body until the stick end up going into my eye, leaving a bruise. When she saw it she had me stand in the shower to get rid of the bruise.

That same day I had to go up in the village to buy bread I remember people asking me “what happen?” “Doudou why your eye so?” “Who give you a black eye”? I lied cause she told me to. If anyone asked I remember saying to them, “I knock my eyes.”

But while she was abusing me, her so called boyfriend was taking advantage of me every night. Their daughter and I shared rooms. I remember exactly how the bed look… upstairs and downstairs bed I can’t remember how it started but I do know he used to come into the room… I was downstairs… I hated sleeping downstairs cause he would get access to me easily.

When he used to enter the room, I could already sense him and pretended I was asleep, but that didn’t stop him. He would rub his penis on me and touch my vagina. Then again I cannot remember if he penetrated me, but it used to hurt.

I tried pushing him away but his body weight was bigger than mine… I was only 7!! Why?? Not again??!

A man I consider my Angel (may your soul rest in peace) called my grandparents and told them he was concerned about my well being. Eventually my grandparents took me out of there and made her leave the house. I once confronted her when I visited Salisbury but she denied it.

I must say I’m at peace. but as I said, these memories will never leave. I never told anyone about my situation I encountered as a young child , thank you Delroy and Khadijah.

**

Delroy here’s my story… post or ask questions…

I had been seasoned in the game. For seven years I had lied to everyone, even to myself at times, about my clandestine affair. We met when I was only nineteen and he gave me all I wanted.

He was a father, a friend, a patient and considerate lover. I was convinced he loved me more than his wife and well, that’s the reason he got so jealous at times. Why would I want to go out with my friends without knowing how I was going to get back home? He was just “concerned” so it was good that he dropped me off and would pick me up there after.

I need not worry about my friends… they are just jealous that their boyfriends didn’t do the same for them. Then it escalated I did not even notice the transformation.

“Can you not wear make up?” “I don’t like how men look at you.” “Where are you going dressed like that?”

Then it happened. I did not even have time to react. My ears rang like the bell in the cathedral on Easter morning. And before I knew what was happening his hand was already descending again. I was too stunned to cry. The blow was felt on my skin, but the pain had seared through my heart, awakening memories that had slumbered for many years.

I walked to my bedroom in a daze trying to force my mind to come to grips with what had just happened. He followed closely. I turned the lights on and saw his face as if for the first time. His eyes were still filled with unchecked fury.

I said not a word but did my nightly routine and readied myself for bed. I did not complain when he lay beside me. After what seem like an eternity his voice pierced the silence as he muttered, “I am sorry but I love you so much.”

My mind drifted to one of the memories that had been weaving in and out of my mind. I heard the muffled sound of crying and I recognized it as the sound that came so very often from my mother’s sorrow.

Did I just become my mother? Was I destined to share her fate? Was I going to become a punching bag to this man? Did I not fight for my mother? So why had I allowed this man to do to me what my father had been doing to my mother all these years? Am I not the same person who had vowed that if a man lifted his hand above his shoulder in my presence and it wasn’t to scratch his head…

Back again to reality; his litany of excuses ringing out like a well rehearsed prayer. But my heart was already beginning to take on a coldness that even the hands of time would prove difficult to break.

16 Days of Activism

**

I am the young lady who smiles brightly at you on campus.

I am the young lady whose return home you look forward to for the holidays. I am your friend. You know who I am.

I was 3. I had no breasts, no hips, nothing. I can’t understand what a grown man could see in me. I was a baby. I see him once in a blue and I have even planned his death. I am at university presently. I am not a terrible student; I have never been a terrible student. However, for the past year and almost a half, I have struggled a lot with school.

Yes, there is school stress, but add in recent downs in my close family circle, plus the monsters in my head that I have been forced to live with for close to 20 years. It’s like my inhibitions are fighting my intuition.

When I was younger, at primary school and high school, I was able to suppress the dreadful memories quite well and it wasn’t often that they surfaced. Shortly after starting college, the memories came up often and I would be down and depressed.

After college, I started counseling a few months before I had to leave for university. I went a few times, and then I asked to bring my friend because I had something to tell but I didn’t want to say it twice. On my 19th birthday was the first time I told someone what happened to me, one of my male friends, because he asked how my day had gone and if I was still enjoying myself.

When the message came I was sitting on the toilet crying because I felt like shit and I was remembering what had happened. I told him I was crying and I couldn’t hold it in, I texted him my story.

Two days later my friend (female) and I went to the counseling session. I could not say what had happened and why I had asked my friend to come. So I gave the phone to the counselor and she read aloud the text messages that I had sent to my male friend.

Her head was turned away from me at the end and she didn’t say anything until the counselor asked her if she would like to say anything to me. Then she looked at me and she was crying, we were both crying. She said she didn’t know what to say at first. Then she said she wished it hadn’t happened to me because she knows how I feel since she herself had been sexually assaulted when she was younger.

She went on to tell us her story. I think this brought us closer, it probably helped us to understand each other better.

So as I said, I’m at school and this is affecting me a lot. There are days when I don’t go to class, not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t. Sometimes, I wake up and I just can’t get out of bed, I get so depressed. I get into the bathroom to bathe for class at other times, but I end up staying in there and crying.

I have even gotten dressed and just as I am about to leave, I remember what happened and I just break down, lie on my bed and cry.

In class, there have been instances where I have to think up happy thoughts and memories and I focus on them so hard in order to not remember the bad stuff that I have no idea what the lecturer says for a few minutes. On some nights I stay up, not because I’m studying, but because I just can’t sleep. I get anxious sometimes, I forget stuff that I know often.

I’m not exactly expressive and outspoken, but I do tell my close family and friends that I am not doing too well at times. They mostly just think its school pressure.

Anyway, when I was about 3, my mother and I went out for an afternoon stroll. On our way back, we ended up in this lady’s yard and they were talking. Then her husband came and the three of them were talking and I was just there.

They had a physically challenged child who was also dumb. My mother then asked about the child, and then she asked me if I wanted to go see her. The lady told me just push the door and go in. I was reluctant. Then the husband said come, “I’ll bring you to see her.”

I was still reluctant but he held my hand and my mother said, “go on, go tell her hello.” So I went.

Once inside, the man knelt, put his hand under my skirt, shifted my panty and tried to insert his finger into me before I even had time to react. I said, “Ow! No,” when I felt pain down there (sometimes, I can still hear me saying those words).

He just put his hand over my mouth and continued his attempts. He had difficulty getting his finger in. I don’t even know if it did, but he had very long nails and that for sure caused me pain. I cannot remember how I got outside, how we got home.

The next thing I remember is the first time I peed after and how much it burnt and I cried and didn’t even finish peeing. My mother used to tell me if anybody touched me to tell her. I wanted to tell my mother but I felt I couldn’t trust her either; I didn’t want to go into the house.

She had persuaded me to go. Also, I was traumatized by this. Up to this day I have never actually been able to say with my own mouth what happened, it has always been in text form.

Imagine 3 year old me trying to put into words what happened to me. Up to this day neither of my parents know. When they hear of other cases, my mother says she doesn’t care if its father, uncle, paweh, whoever, she making sure they take a jail.

My father says if a man touches his daughter, is kill he killing him then he bringing himself in to the station. I have sat through that and I want to tell, but I cannot. When I got older I realized my mother would never knowingly send me into that house if she knew what would have happened.

She did the best she could to protect me, except that one time when she let her guard down a bit, but she was right outside, the house wasn’t a mansion, how could she have known this would happen?

I don’t want children. Some people have told me that it’s selfish. They don’t know my story. Part of the reason lies in the fact that I will never be able to always be with my child. It doesn’t matter how protective or overprotective you are, it could still happen to your child.

As I said, my mother did her best to shield me, and if it wasn’t for that one time, she would have done a pretty good job. I don’t want to be the obsessively overprotective parent; I don’t want to be the parent who says what I will do and will not do if that happens to my child.

I rather not have children. That way, there is zero chance of my child ever having to experience what I went through and I am sadly still going through. The physical pain was nothing compared to the psychological and emotional pain that has followed me through the years.

**

Ummm my family…

Was an extended family when I was younger, but with no father figure in the home. My older cousin would always make me play ‘house’ with him. Was around 6 when it started. He would touch me and feel up on me, but didn’t really know much about it as we don’t really speak about sex or those kind of things in my home.

It wasn’t until we moved where it was just my granny, mom and brother where we moved to a more secluded place with a lot of bush and trees. My granny was disabled so a neighbor said he will care for her when my mom and brother are at work.

He would come by and stay with her until I come home with my mom.

Started when I was around 14… was still scared of boys so I was really shy and didn’t talk to people at all, except for family or close friends. My granny was blind so she couldn’t see he would come by me and touch up on my legs and feel me up.

But the one day I had to go home from school, he took advantage of me, held me down and forced himself on me, and slapped me up. And bruised me down in places that no one could see. He told me if I told anyone he would do worse. 

This continued for a while. I tried committing suicide and started cutting my skin. Had a break down and told my mom but she said I was lying and went and look for sex. 

Lost my virginity in the most brutal way and still got beat up by my mom and blamed that it was my fault it happened to me. Have problems talking to boys because of this. I can’t trust and still get tormented from it sometimes.

I’m 20 now. Get nightmares and still blame myself on my low points but trying to move on from it.

**

#LévéDomnik

Hi I thought twice about telling my story…

But after 9 years, I think I need to get it off my chest. I was only 12 years old when my neighbor sexually abused me. He was (a drug dealer) living just below my house. He always used to help me with my French homework with my parents permission, so I would be there.

But one day I went by him and while I was writing he tried touching my breast. I pushed his hand but he told me to hush and did it again. The next day I met my best friend and I told him what happen but then we got into an argument and he told the man (drug dealer).

And then you won’t believe what he did… he went to my parents and told them what I had said, saying that I was lying and it never happened. While crying I told my parents… but they never believed me. They beat me and told me to never speak of it again and so I shut it out of my life…

Until one day it happened where I was home alone, bathing, not knowing the door was unlocked and he came in. I was shocked. He told me don’t talk just do as I was told and he forced himself inside me then left me bleeding.

I started crying when my parents came from work. I wanted to tell them but then I remembered what they said and I just kept my mouth shut. I have been feeling weird ever since… like my parents don’t love me because they chose to not see I was telling the truth

**

Its when at 35 you are still unmarried…

Not because you can’t, but because you still have these issues affecting your life. It’s when you have gotten the courage to speak about it, but know you still need help because it’s affecting how you raise your children.

In random order it is when at 14, on my way home from school the bus driver says, “give me two minutes, I just dropping off something there and that’s.”

Until you start going up Cockrane road and keeps looking at you and smiling and deep down you know what’s coming. It’s looking down on yourself being raped while you have your period already knowing that that’s how life works your body is always the payment whether you want to or not.

One day in your twenties you wake up fighting with your boyfriend because you couldn’t tell the difference between him and your first abuser.

It is remembering then long before you were nine you already knew that it’s best to always sleep with someone that way he can’t get to you. He can’t make you “suck the lollipop.” Remembering that in the beginning while I cried with his hand over my mouth he would try to fit it in because I was just skin and bones with a pretty face and knowing that one day it did fit and there were no more tears.

It only stopped when I was 11. By then you know that you are worth nothing except that. 

So that day as an adult you go out and you have a drink and feel so strange after it and you wake up by the bay and the man has his hand inside you and in reply to your question he says don’t worry I am just looking for the condom.

Apparently I should be grateful that he used protection. I was just grateful that I did not remember it happening my memory was already on overload.

It is when you use the church toilet and come out only to find a few of the young men outside waiting and you know what comes next because at 12 you already know you have to pay for your “pretty.” Are you not supposed to be safe at church?

When you are in your twenties and try the tell someone, and you tell your boyfriend and he does not believe you because it’s your fault. When you refuse to have sex because of it and he say, “well you giving it to everyone… I want mine…” and all you can do is close your eyes and wait for it to be over because you already know it is always your fault.

**

Me at around 16…

Playing dominoes with older guys in their 40-50’s would notice one of their daughters around 15 would come around for different things from time to time.

He would make comments about how she starting to look like her mom. Never made anything of it. Now I started to “make break” out side of the dominoes table so when she would come check her dad she would just smile for me.

One day her dad noticed and ready to fight with me telling I not taking his daughter before him. Now that disgusted me and for what ever reason I did not see her for a year or two. Then in my early working years I saw her again.

When I tried talking to her she was kinda distant. A coworker ask me if I knew her before. And explain to me that her father does fuck her, so she shy around guys. Sometimes I wonder if it was my fault that happened to her.

**

I applaud all the people coming out to share their experiences.

Some people can’t tell the story of the past since it has manifested itself into a greater monster in their future. After enduring not one but three abusive experiences between the age of three to fifteen and thinking it must be me and not them, I finally decided to open to someone.

Someone I loved and thought loves me so much that he would help me through the pain.  Low and behold my sexual abuse turned into physical abuse, and a constant reminder of my past.

Even today as the physical abuse is gone, the emotional and mental abuse is so much that even though it clear, I cannot get myself out of it. I fear starting over, I fear being alone and I fear for my kids. I wake up everyday and fight my way through the day to hide my hurt.

Wish i could express more but… just continue to do what u do. You are a good person.

**

I was seven years old…

But sometimes it feels like it happened only moments ago. He’s dead now. He was a friend of my mom’s boyfriend at the time. He would rub my butt and vagina while masturbating.

I was always uncomfortable when he did but I was almost accustomed cause my big brother did it all the time. But that day was different. He took me for a long drive, bought me bbq chicken and Fanta and then drove to a secluded bush area somewhere before Dublanc.

He took all my clothes off and his pants and right away started trying to penetrate me. After he tried for a while, he told me to open my mouth wide and he put his penis then started to move. He had to stop when I started to vomit but that didn’t stop him.

He made me lie down on a large stone and he kneeled down in front of me. He shoved his penis inside me. I screamed till my voice cut off but he didn’t stop. He kept going until he ejaculated. It wasn’t more than 5 minutes but it felt like hours to me.

He put my dress back on and drove to the sea, undressed me again and took me into the sea washing me with his finger. There wasn’t much blood when I came out of the water but by the time we reach back Jimmit I was bleeding a lot again.

I was in shock, afraid, I can’t think of any word to describe my feelings at that time. My mom took me to the bathroom and bathed me. She called the neighbor, a nurse to attend to me telling her I tried to climb the mango tree in the yard and I fell down.

The nurse came to attend to me everyday twice a day for about 5 days I think. Some weeks passed before I tried to talk about it. I tried to tell my mom and she said I should stop making up stories cause my troublesomeness that make me fall down and hurt myself.

I have never told anyone about this till now.

I went through that 2 more times within a few months by the same man. One time at 14, by my older brother, and one time at 15 by the man my mom is married to right now.

Imagine she married him after he raped me. Only God knows the way I feel each time I see my mom’s husband and her son. The pain never goes away. I can’t stop asking, “why, why me?” But I guess there’s nothing I can do to change what happened in the past. I feel bound by these bad memories even though I try to be free.

**

Second time sharing…

To be honest, when this one happened I cast the memory away to the deepest part of my brain as I did with all the others. It’s not something you WANT to remember. I became so MAD and felt so DISRESPECTED that I allowed myself to be placed in that position, but I was just trying to do everything I could just to have a good education.

I had to dig deep to talk about this. I worked year after year since finishing school so that I could save as much as possible to attend university. I was determined to follow my dreams. Many nights I sat and I looked at the amount I needed on the school website. I wrote down numbers from my savings account, from what relatives promised to contribute, a loan etc but it just WASN’T enough. I still required a little bit more.

As my luck would have it, my family came under increased financial strain at the time, and as a result could not give me as much as they previously promised. I thought to myself, “don’t tell me I’ll have to wait another year?!… I’ll never go to study!”

I had already written my resignation letter and I could taste the campus air. I was so close. After exhausting all my options, my friend advised me to go to meet with a certain government official as she had done. So, I decided to take her advice and apply for government assistance.

I’m usually a perfectionist when it comes to presentations of any kind and I went out of my way to be professional. I purchased a nice black folder. I printed my acceptance letter, organized all my documents neatly and even printed an excel sheet that outlined the figures contained in those documents so perfectly.

I was so proud of myself that I think I literally patted myself on the back. That morning I went straight up to that office feeling a mix of confidence and nervousness because I was fully prepared. When I got up there, there were a few people already there. The secretary told me that I would not be able to see this official but she could send me to 1 of 2 designated persons for this.

When it was my turn, I went in to the office and the man smiled at me and asked me to take a seat so I could explain why I was there. I presented my situation and myself but he didn’t seem to take much interest in the papers and black folder that I had carefully laid out before him.

He instead maintained an uncomfortable level of eye contact. When I was done, he sat back into his chair smiling and swaying from side to side. He told me he thought I was a very beautiful girl who knew what she wanted and as if in an attempt to break the ice said that I had a nice smile that no man could say no to (I would realize that this wasn’t the only ice he wanted to break).

He said that he approved my request and asked me to come back for a letter before I left. He took my number. I was so happy that I was actually going to school that I overlooked his remarks even though it made me uncomfortable.

A few weeks later I received a call from him asking that I come to his office. I was so excited at the thought that it was my letter that I offered to come immediately and he agreed. When I went into his office, he smiled and said it was nice to see me again and welcomed me with a hug.

He said that unfortunately my letter would not be ready before I left but because he would be attending a conference in the city my school was located shortly after I arrived that he may be able to bring it to me if I agreed. I agreed as I said to myself that ‘beggars couldn’t be choosers’ as I thought he was just trying to be helpful.

My friends have always said that I can be naïve at times as I always look for the best in people.

Not to make this too long, so I’m going to fast forward to when he called me to come to the hotel in the foreign country.

It was late afternoon when I went there and met him at the bar in the lobby. He asked if I wanted anything to drink and I said no but he insisted so I said that I would take a water. He laughed and ordered 2 wines instead. Smh. We stayed at the bar for a while and I only took 1 sip of the wine.

He was very polite while asking me how school was going, how was life in a new country etc. I eventually told him that I needed to go soon so he ‘pretended’ to look for the letter in his jacket and folder etc. And OF COURSE, he was like “oh shucks I may have left it in the room.”

He said that he was also tired and instead of him walking all the way there and back, he asked if I could come to the room door while he went in and looked for it. It was a big hotel so I reluctantly said okay but decided to turn on the voice recorder on my phone just in case… there were people walking about and I saw security cameras as we made our way up there and it made me feel safer for some odd reason.

We get to the room and I wait at the door. He has trouble finding the letter (OF COURSE… ‘cause his luck that more bad’) and asks me to come and have a seat because it was taking a while.

I again reluctantly complied and he motioned where for me to sit. A small black bag of money was on the table next to me as if perfectly positioned to try to make an impression. After a while, he excused himself to the bathroom. He came back, claims to be thirsty and opened a bottle of wine and brought me another glass but I sternly refused it.

He opens the door to the balcony of his suite and asked me to come take a look at the view. I go toward him and ask if he has found the letter yet. He holds me gently by my arm, looks me in the eye and tells me that he liked me from the moment he saw me and ‘how beautiful I am’ while shaking his head.

He asks me if I have a boyfriend and said that he would like me for himself because he thinks that I am special and that I should give him a chance to show me (he didn’t wear a ring but I later found out that this man is married not that it mattered because I had no interest in him, only my education).

By then, I am thoroughly disgusted but I just want my letter! I don’t want to upset him till I have it in my hands. I went cold and numb because I felt a feeling I’ve felt many times before. DEEP FEAR. I have flashes of my experiences as a small child. He leaned in to kiss me but I turned my head (at this point I was shaking).

He rubbed my shoulders and then hugged me tightly. I think I blanked out for a short while because of how fearful I was. He told me that he can give me everything I want if I just be his. I shook my head (I think I was in shock because I just couldn’t do anything but shake my head.)

He moved and stood behind me and I felt him grab my breast and press his apparent erection against my butt while running his other hand down my stomach and I could feel where that hand was heading.

I jumped and pushed him away and hurried to the door. Before I could open it, his hand was on the door. He said very coldly “I’ll take you downstairs, let me put on my shoes so I can get you a taxi.” I respond by saying that I took a bus there and I can take another one back. He replies, “If you were mine, you would never have to do that.”

At this point I feel so stupid and I am upset that I acted so foolishly for this damn piece of paper. We walked to the elevator and were alone for 4 stories down (slowest elevator ride of my life!)

The man grabbed my head and tried to force his nasty tongue in my mouth but I pushed him away violently and he apologized over and over saying that its because I am so beautiful something is drawing him to me. When we are outside he signaled a taxi, paid the driver, then I left.

I was so paranoid that I made the taxi drop me a good distance from where I lived for fear that he might be able to track me down and I walked the rest in the dark in that foreign country. He sent me a message apologizing for “hugging me so tightly”…really? Stupesssssssssssss! …but I respond ‘politely’ like an idiot.

I switched off the recording when I got home because that was when I remembered it. This happened 2 years ago but I never listened to it, as I never had the courage to re-live that. I still have the recording to this day. I blocked him off my phone and never asked him for anything ever again.

Long story short, I had to use my money for living expenses to pay some of the fees and often times had no money to buy anything. But there are always angels sent by God and people who remind you that there is good in this world. I made friends who helped me and I eventually met another lady in the govt service, a secretary.

I explained my financial struggles to her and this lady basically begged her boss and almost risked her job to help me even if she didn’t know me before that day. I got the letter by the grace of God.

In the end, one thing I want to say, is that I see a lot of people saying to report it, report it… they are predators etc. That is true… but when you have gone through such traumatic experiences and have to live in constant fear that no justice will ever be served even if you do report it, and seeing these ‘high profile persons’ go scot free time and time again, when people do have the courage to report it, do you think anyone will put themselves through that?!

One thing is clear from many of these stories, the entire system is poisoned: government, opposition, police, judicial system… everyone.

Some way, somehow, one day I will expose this man for what he is, recording and all… I refuse to call myself any kind of victim but if you are not in a position of power right now you will suffer for reporting these things and that’s just how it seems.

I really cannot handle dealing with this mess while at school… Dominica is a small land. People will find out who you are and their supporters will drag you through the mud and back, as they show time and time again.

As Tina Alexander said, we need a Special Victims Unit extensively trained to handle these situations Honestly, justice right now is a big fat joke and the only solution that I see is that those of us who have experienced this are under a DUTY to turn this system around and WORK HARD to make it better when we are in a position to do so.

**

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5

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#LévéDomnik: Untold Stories of Abuse (Part 3)

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16 Days of Activism is an international campaign to end violence against women and children. It began on November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and will end on December 10 (Human Rights Day). For more information on the movement, see the official UNiTE website.

Here in Dominica, the campaign has taken social media by storm, propelled by Delroy Williams, Khadijah Moore and their team of advocates.

Mimicking a similar movement in Barbados, the local movement can be recognized by the hashtag #LévéDomnik. The hashtag, which when translated from Créole means wake up Dominica or stand up Dominica, is expected to encourage women, girls, men and boys to wake up, stand up and raise their voices against sexual harassment, molestation, all forms of assault, rape, domestic violence, etc.

The stories that follow were shared with the advocates and now I’m sharing them with you. The anonymous contributors were brave enough to share their experiences, so in support of this campaign, let us share this blog post with our friends and family.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4 | Part 5

#LévéDomnik #16DaysofActivism

**

I was only seven, only seven.

Never had I imagined that my uncle the one I looked up to would be the one to hurt me this bad. I was raised by my grandparents. Never had a father figure. Only knew he existed. It all started one night I was left alone with him downstairs.

He was my buddy. I followed him wherever he went but this night was not no ordinary night. He asked, “do you love your uncle?” And being the innocent little girl I was, I replied, “yes uncle I love you.”

He then started to touch my breast. At that time I knew something was wrong. This has never happened before. I suddenly felt the urge to pass my urine and told him that I wanted to do so. He then proceeded to hold my hands and said that he will bring me to the bathroom.

I thought that was the end of it. I was so wrong, that was the beginning of the end. To my surprise he passed the bathroom straight and headed to the back of the house. There he told me to stoop and pee there. I was so frightened and confused.

He then proceeded to put his hands on my vagina and started to put his fingers. I asked him why is he doing this. His reply was, “you said you love you uncle, so it’s okay.”

I started to cry because I was in so much pain. Felt like a knife cutting through my skin. After he was done, he said that I should not tell anyone because he would kill my grandfather whom I loved so much.

I went straight to bed that night asking God why did this happen? What did I do wrong? He never answered. It continued many times after that. There were days I would have out of body experiences. I would be standing in the room watching him have sex with me and I could not say nothing.

The most painful part was when he made me sit and watch him have sex with my little sister. He made me sit and watch her go through all that pain.

After that experience I told my grandmother. I could not hold it in anymore. She told me I was lying and that I should stop saying those things because I would upset my grandfather.

I left the room that day feeling worthless because I could not protect my sisters from this monsters. At 12 I remember he came up to me and touched my breast. At that moment I gave up. I just wanted to die. I left home that day and went and sit in the cemetery because that’s where I would sit and cry and ask the dead to just take me.

I would beg them to join them. I felt like life was not worth living. I tried killing myself several times, but instead of killing the pills only made me sick.

Last attempt I was 23 I took more pills than usual this time the police got involved and that was when I opened up. The police had me talk to my grandmother. By then after hearing she cried and asked me to forgive her, but it was too late. I was already broken and damaged.

I grew up hating men. Even to this day I am married with two girls. Sometimes I ask God why he gave me girls. Sometimes I feel like I won’t be able to protect them, and that’s my biggest fear. The ‘what if’ and what not is just too much to bear.

My husband and I don’t have a good sexual relationship. Sometimes I could go days without having sex and it won’t bother me because most sexual positions only brings back pain and hurt. And I would just break down.

I love him but this has left me with a scar that has scarred me for the rest of my life. I am happy that got to share parts of my story. I write this with tears and anger and I pray that the others find courage and speak up.

**

Hi Delroy… what you are doing on Facebook is really something.

I never thought I would ever have the courage to say anything and I probably will never do this publically; this may be the only opportunity I have to share some of my story. I am still so ashamed, you know me, but I don’t want you to know this happened to me so I could not post on your wall. I am sorry I have to use an anonymous email.

I am 25 now, and it is amazing the fear I feel writing this. I used to have a lot of difficulty in primary and secondary school. My parents have always been good to me and they are people of strong faith.

They used to take me to a priest for prayers and deliverance (I am still not sure what I need to be delivered from – a small brain maybe!). The priest was close to my family and everyone loved him.

Every time something seemed to be going wrong with me they brought me to him. I started going regularly around the age of 10. My mother would bring me to the office and after he would ask her to wait outside telling her I would open up to him better if she was not there.

It was all so innocent in the beginning. He would pray with me and anoint my head and he would ask me questions about boys and other things he thought I could not tell me parents. He said he needed to anoint other parts of my body to protect me from evil and I must not let anyone else do this except him because God gave him a special gift.

He would put his hand under my shirt and bless my breasts and stomach with the oil. Every time I went back to him he did a little bit more, he would keep his hand longer on my breasts and started massaging them. (My heart is pounding so hard as I am typing this you have no idea, it’s like it is happening all over again).

At other times he would rub my nipple with oil. He would ask me how I was feeling and I said I was scared. Then he would stop and tell me everything was OK and he would hug me.

He said the power of God was very strong and I was being filled with Jesus love. I knew this was wrong because of what I heard in school in HFLE about being touched. But I was so confused and it was not like he was hurting me, I actually felt like he loved me, he was being very kind and he was always very kind to everybody.

And what he was doing was actually feeling kind of nice. This kind of thing went on for over a year. just touching me, praying and holding me. He would like when I rest my head on his chest when he hugged me.

Finally one time he asked me if I had lost my virginity yet. I told him no, my parents were so strict that it was almost impossible to find myself alone with a boy to have that happen. I was just entering 1st Form at this time.

My mother was not bringing me to his office anymore because she felt I was old enough to go alone now. And he was also like family so she knew he would get me home safe. He told me I needed to remain pure and stay away from boys. He said he was going to pray a special protection prayer that was very powerful.

He made me lie down on the floor. He lifted my shirt and pulled up my bra and did his usual anointing but he did not stop there. Oh God, I am so sorry I let him do this…he lift my skirt and pulled down my panty. I remember starting to shake because I was afraid. I know he saw the fear on my face…but he kept telling me it was OK and only he could do this and that I was special.

He anointed my vagina by making the sign of the cross with the oil, then he just started rubbing the oil all over and inside.

I don’t think I can write any more… My head is feeling heavy and I just feel ill. Delroy this kind of thing went on for months and I could not say anything. No one would believe me, no one would believe that this priest could do something like this.

And the thing about it, he was being so gentle and loving and I was so confused. I have never told anyone. I don’t know why I kept going back, maybe i wanted it… oh Lord forgive me.

I remember watching him in the face sometimes and he would be flushed, I understand now that he was getting aroused but back then I did not realize that.

Eventually he introduced me to his penis and would take it out only when it was already hard and he would rub it on the outside of my vagina but he never penetrated me. He would cum on my vagina. He always told me the blessings would go if i ever told anyone and my family would experience evil.

He said this would keep me pure and protect me from boys with bad intentions. He kept telling me I was special and I was still a virgin. This all stopped when I was about 13. I started getting involved in a lot of other activities and did not always have time to go see him.

He was still coming at home and he would give me “special” little hugs and touches but nothing that would make anyone suspect anything.

I blame myself completely for all of this and I expect everyone to hate me because I made him do this to me. I have been even more fearful of ever saying anything because of what happened a few years ago when some other woman publicly accused him of doing something.

The whole country was on his side. I went away to study and I have no communication with him. I don’t think I could deal with seeing him at my family home. I don’t go to church anymore. I know I need God in my life, but i am so confused about who God really is.

Thank you for giving me this outlet to release. It has taken me almost 2 hours to write this… I have just been crying and shaking. Thanks to all the women who gave their stories and made me have the courage to do this. Unfortunately I think I will live with this shame forever.

**

Young Women In Leadership & Diversity Seminar
Young Women In Leadership & Diversity Seminar
Bringing female leaders from across Dominica together to discuss the future of women’s leadership on a national level.
The conference is built upon four pillars: networking, education, empowerment and diversity. Photo source: Bureau of Gender Affairs
Hello, thank you for doing this.

I don’t know where to start. I still struggle with this even though it was 17 years ago. I know this is going to be long but I didn’t know else to shorten it.

He said he would like to meet my mom and before I even kissed him I introduced him to my mom. I know I was young and I had my whole life ahead of me. At the time I was all about my education, sports and everything else.

I had only kissed one guy and I thought we would be together forever. He was only 17 and in 5th form. I was just finishing up 3rd form. We’ve been friends since I started high school. I was young and very socially active.

It was the eve of my 15th birthday and my mom said it was OK for me go with him. However he never showed up at our usual spot. On my way home I met one of my brother’s friend’s older brother. He was kind and gentle at the time. He was about 6 years older and it started just as a normal conversation.

He agreed to walk me home. We started having these frequent meetings throughout the entire summer. Still oblivious to the whole thing I brought him home and introduced him to my mom instead of sneaking around to talk to him.

He asked that I break things off with my other guy friend. At first I wasn’t sure why he wanted me to do so. He showed up one night and my friend was there and asked that he speak with me privately. I asked to be excused and we went on the side of the house.

I could barely get a word in as he pushed me against the house and held me in my throat and said, “I told you I don’t want you talking to him.”

I was in shock because no man has ever raised their hands on me not even my dad. A few days passed and he stopped by on his cousin’s van. I asked my mom if it’s OK with her for me to go with him. After a brief lecture my mom agreed. We got to his parent’s house and everything was going OK.

Suddenly his tone changed and asked that I cook him something. I mean at that age I could throw it down in the kitchen already. I said jokingly I’ll make you some macaroni and cheese with sausage. I think that angered him.

Then the first blow came and then the second soon followed. I felt an instant cold breeze down my spine. I hit him with the only thing I had in my hand which was the pot and locked myself in the bedroom… Well I thought I did.

He kept apologizing for hitting me and he promised he wouldn’t do it again. I thought he had left but then he was still there waiting to see if I would exit. I opened the door and there he was standing in the door way and I just froze. He picked me up and lay me down on the bed. I fought for as long as I could.

I cried out in pain for him to stop and all he kept saying was that I love you and I told you that I’d be your first.

It finally stopped and I wrapped the sheets around me and painfully walked to the bathroom. I knew it was not my time of the month. While taking a shower he sneaked up behind me and said, “next time it won’t be so hard… The first time is always painful. Try not to fight it…”

I lied to my mom when she asked about the bruising on my back and face. I played volleyball the day before and used that as an excuse. I didn’t know how to break things off with him.

A year passed and we finally moved away from Dominica. He moved back to St Thomas and then to the Mainland. He started buying me things, sending me money. My mom started to accept that he’s going to be in our lives.

I started looking at colleges closer to him. He went on to even ask my mom for my hand on my 17th birthday. A few weeks before graduation I received a phone call from a woman claiming to be his fiancée and she was pregnant.

Now at 17 I was a lot wiser than I led on to be. She told me everything about the two of them. He told her that I was his cousin and he was helping me with some personal issues. She saved me from a lifetime of heartache. For the first time in three years I was finally able to feel some sort of freedom… or so I thought.

The threats kept coming that I can never leave him, that I will be his forever, no man will ever want me because I’m damaged goods.

My brother found one of the letters and I told him what happened. He then called his friend and told him what his brother did to me. I’m scared that if he ever crossed path with either of them something terrible will happen. I’ve changed my number many times as well as my Facebook name but he keeps popping up.

I’ve been with my husband for almost 13 years and it took me 4 years to tell him why I flinch when it’s just the two of us in the room… why I grab hold of an object when he tries to hold me from behind… why I get so scared when he joins me in bed after I have fallen asleep, to the point where I need my asthma pump.

I’m scared that he to will do something terrible.

You think you’ve moved on from it but then there’s constant reminders of that one soulless individual who took away that one thing from you.

**

Hi hope you’re okay.

I think what you guys are doing is amazing because I never thought all these women had the same experiences that I did. As I sit here reading them I can’t contain my emotions because I felt like I was alone all the time.

Here is my story.

I was eight years old. My parents abandoned me. I spent summer holidays with my cousins growing up. One Sunday morning I stayed home in bed sleeping and I didn’t know I was home alone.

While sleeping I felt someone touching my butt so I woke up and saw my aunt’s husband watching me. I could tell he was drunk. As I was getting up from the bed he pinned me down and I started screaming no. He said no one will hear me and slapped me across my face.

I can still smell the alcohol on his breath. He then took off my clothes and began raping me. It hurt so bad. When he was done he told me to tell no one because we will kill my aunt. I already knew he was very abusive.

From that day I was never the same. He did it twice after. I had no one to talk to because I knew they will all say I was a liar. I only told my parents when I was 20. I considered suicide. I am now married.

At times its not easy being in a relationship. Last week was the first time I had a male doctor do a pap smear but my husband had to be present because I was so scared. I hope this campaign give women, children and men the courage to speak out before the scars are deepened.

**

This is my story…

I was a young girl at the age of 9 when my uncle first started to abuse me. He would bring me to his home and touch, kiss and hug me inappropriately. The first time he did, I didn’t know it was something bad but I felt a guilty and never told anyone.

This continued happening for years and my family was poor, so he use to take care of us. I didn’t want to tell because I cared for my family and wanted him to continue helping us.

Often times I wondered why is me that had to be the one he preyed on while he took care of my other sisters as well. He had oral sex with me when I was a teenager then later on when I was 20 he tried to have sex with me but luckily he couldn’t stay hard because of his age.

I only told my family at about 21 years old. He then apologize. He was acting hurt. He gave me a phone and money every month to go to college.

Although I forgave him, it affected me throughout my life. I’m 23 years old and I still haven’t healed completely I often hated myself for being pretty because I thought that’s the reason he did it. My self esteem is low and am still trying to appreciate myself to this day…

**

I’m still skeptical about this.

Like how does speaking liberate you or set you on the path of healing? What are we looking to accomplish by this movement? A support group? AbusedAnonymous? To me some things are better left forgotten. Pardon my cynicism.

According to Delroy, I’m looking at it through a different lens. Lens of what? A #victim, #survivor, #accomplice, #forevertormentedsoulI even got mad at him saying I’d block him off Facebook until this plethora of victim’s accounts of their abuse subsides.

Reading them made me sick. Headache, nausea…vomited twice actually. I couldn’t stand my skin. It’s like these demons I’d caged up and threw away the key into the deepest ocean just escaped and was dancing around a bonfire.

I felt like I’d just stumbled upon a pedophile’s porn blog and all these accounts are so familiar. Maybe some of these perverted fcuks reading them and liking and commenting on them even jocked off to this.

(Because its amazing the perversions of the human mind. Its great to create awareness. But at what cost, whose control, whose benefit?) I’d never forget this Law & Order SVU episode where the leading spearhead of such a movement was an abuser and his obsession with his own sister.)

I want to tell my story. Might have to be told in parts because it’s been a lifetime effect on me. I’m trying to be brief but I feel without proper introduction, what’s the point? Or how can I get people to see that opening a can of worms… what are we really baiting?

Its a cycle…or generation curse that will not end if you don’t stop it or free yourself of it. #selfhealing. And I’ve been researching a lot as to how to protect my own daughters and other upcoming generations.

My story is no different from the many you’ve read. I come from a large family. One before the last of 7. Started at 5-6 years with an uncle that I spent time with for summer holidays or Christmas.

Coming from a large family, special attention and flattery gets your abuser far. I was always given little gifts or tokens and pretty dresses and I was called his “little doll”. The summer my smile disappeared was when one day I was home alone with him, can’t remember where my aunt went. And we had just got this huge doll almost my size.

He threatened to take it away or I would not be worthy of it if I didn’t play his game.

He started by lubricating this cylindrical tube and slowly inserting it in me. Would stop when I started wincing or crying and marking it off saying when I could take every thing in me I’d be ready.

This continued until he did penetrate me himself. Details I’m still not ready to share. But he was very tactical in his care and abuse. From the sea baths to the healing oil baths. I remembered hating the feel of test tubes in high school chemistry…certain scents would just take me back and freeze my in that zone.

Stopped when they migrated to the US.

Let’s move on to age 8-10 when my elder brothers (13 & 16) on different accounts would lubricate me and get off by rubbing themselves between my legs until satisfied. Never penetration. At this point you begin to become submissive to these games. Expect them, even, became a lure to others kids, same age group or cousins.

I knew it was wrong and I wanted to pass off this shame or share it.

Age 12-14 my own father started having eyes for me. Boobs started coming in. Woke up a night to him over me one hand stroking his hardness and another feeling me all over. Always watching me shower and jocking off to it.

These encounters were not too physical (thank JAH) but imagine the damage emotionally or mentally.

We moved around a lot and this community where I grew up started this youth group. I, by that age, had no desire to be a girl. Wore big shirts and baggy jeans… anything to lure attention off me. But its like I’m some magnet to these maladies.

On a camp one night, one of the guys whom I had a crush on raped me and threatened to kill me if I told anyone. I remembered falling so sick that I couldn’t continue the camp. Never told anyone but I see him now and again in Roseau. Seems to have gone mad.

In my teenage years been raped twice. Won’t go into details but I began acting out.

My boyfriend at the time was older and some gang member heavily disapproved by my parents and I was sent away to another island for couple months by an elder sibling. It was in a letter I composed to my boyfriend explaining to him the reason I’m so cold-hearted and of my past abuse, my cousin found and where I learnt that the actions of my brothers and dad were nothing new.

I’ve done a lot of forgiving to my sister and cousin for leaving me in such a predicament, knowing that they had a chance to take me with them when they migrated, as I could fall victim and didn’t. Forgave them for remaining silent cause I know how damaging such things are to family image.

The biggest issue is trusting someone you love in your adult life with that part of you and having it thrown back in your face.

I went through a five year verbally abusive relationship where he was very dominant. At the same time very giving. I had to cut off my immediate circle of friends and all males. He changed my phone number. Being that he lived out of state, had people follow me to work or park outside my house when home.

He had details of my every move and every time I messed up he’d punish me. His punishments were never physical, but extreme sexual. And after every punishment he’d leave me for days or weeks saying that he had to cleanse himself of what I made him do to me. He said I’ve been tarnished by a sex demon and for him to help me break it he has to control me that way.

You’d think me as an adult in my late 20’s and two kids later to have my head on straight. But really he just took me back to that little 5 year old girl that never got over such submission. And yes he reminded me a lot of my uncle… that messed up love relationship.

I did love him. I reached to a point where I thought my heart would stop beating without him. His expensive gifts, off island vacations… I was someone’s doll all over again. But all that glitters isn’t gold they say, right? His possessiveness worried my mom, especially when he was off island… the constant calls and stalking.

I was loosing weight drastically. I wasn’t really happy and my body was showing it. After 3 years I finally had the courage to leave this when I had my third child by him.

He showed no interest in our child but attempted to rekindle this relationship with me. My previous birthday at 31, he said to me I’ve reached my timeline. See him now and again with a different young lady but keep my distance. But I wonder if he does the same to them.

I wish I could expound on this more but this is a whole other chapter. Why won’t I call him out? Because his vengeance knows no bounds. Hope this creates awareness also to predators of young adult women. A mother’s job is never done and I am thankful for the support of my mom going through this and even my daughters for being so strong. Cause they were my pillars when I thought I couldn’t continue.

Mothers/Fathers be strong for your sons & daughters even in their adult life because abuse (of any form) knows no age.

clothesline-project

**

Hey Delroy! You’re amazing 😌

Here goes I guess… I couldn’t have been more than 5, as I was still a student at Sacred Heart Preschool. My mother had been asleep since dusk; her cousin who lived with us at the time was there with me watching TV.

Night fell and I had no clue what time it was but he said he was going to lay down, so I said to him “please stay with me in the living room, you can lay on the long chair and I’ll sit on the other one.”

He refused, so I asked again. I was afraid to wake mammy because she didn’t like being disturbed from her rest. He went into the room and turned off the lights on me, TV still on.

I went into the room too and I sat at the edge of the bed, thinking, “just now mammy will wake up.” I couldn’t sit any longer so I lay right at the edge (practically falling off). It was weird just being there. He put his arm over me, and slid it under my lil pant-skirt and into my panties.

I could hear my heart beating, his finger was cold and it hurt… Then he added one and then another… I didn’t look, I didn’t move, I didn’t know… It just hurt a lot and it felt like it lasted forever. I don’t know what happened next, I just remember my mother dressing me for school the next day. And I was jumping on her bed. She was putting on perfume.

I said, “mammy I have to tell you something but I’m afraid, will you beat me?” She kept asking, “what is it…?” (A little impatiently.) I recounted the incident best I could.

I’m not quite sure what happened then, I just remember mom wanting to call the police but family members had come over to have a meeting with him instead. She put him out. He didn’t speak to me for years he was about 17 at the time. He’s married now, with children and I see him all the time I wonder if he remembers. I do.

ONE story that I’m choosing to share, a story that seemed in a way insignificant in light of the many other more serious cases posted here. Hoping to coax other women/men into share theirs too.

**

Hi Delroy, I see people commenting…

About parents educate your children but fear is a hell of a thing. No child in Dominica maybe was as educated as I was but yet still I fell victim for years by an in-law.

Was sexually abused from about age five to 12 years when I got my period. I knew that I had to tell. I would be constantly writing about it. When my mom found it and would question me, I would tell her it’s a poem or story for school.

This man not only abused me but tormented me. His wife was my relative and my favourite relative at that. And every time he would beat her so badly in front of me when I would threaten to tell my mom or if I did not come to the house when he requested.

I remember that day that I was really determined to tell and told him if he touched me I would tell my mom. That night he beat my relative and put a spear which was sharpened to boil in a pot of hot water which he said was to kill her.

As a child what could you do when fear crippled your every sense of judgment? I felt I had to protect my relative because she was the only relative my mom was close to and did not want to be the reason for any problem in their relationship.

I also felt that I had to protect my relative from being beaten by this man. That summer I got my period and started high school I never returned to the house but had a very unhappy life. I never spoke to anyone until I was 21.

Of course, he denied it but later found out that he did the same to other relatives of mine. This had me screwed up. But I always look for the positive way out. So I decided there and then that no man will make me do what I don’t want to do.

I was angry and bitter until I decided to just give it over to God and allow Him to take me through the healing process. One day when he was sick in the hospital I went to him and told him that I forgive him for what he had done to me. He just stared at me but i felt a relief. Forgiveness is for me and not for him.

**

I’ve never been raped…

But it’s not because of anything I did or any intervention… but God’s. I don’t know why I’ve never been raped. I’ve certainly been in many scary situations. From my earliest memories at 5, there have been incidents.

I lived with my brother’s family when we were little because our mom was working overseas. I remember being the black sheep because I was literally darker than everyone plus I wasn’t related to them since I had a different father.

I spent a lot of time in my own company and one day I was coming from the outhouse out back and one of the uncles told me to come. I was pretty excited to be of use to any one since I could never do anything right. He took me to his room, pulled down my pants and underwear and tried to force his penis into my anus.

After trying for a while, it seemed impossible so he quit and told me to leave. I was about 6. Being a loner, I had no one to tell anyway. He didn’t even have to tell me not to.

Years later my great grandfather took to fondling my privates whenever he was alone. Every time he tried to insert his finger I would squirm and whimper and that always irritated him. He never could stand me anyway. He enjoyed spying on me in the lean-to shower.

When I was 9 my mother’s friend told me that I was his girlfriend and that he loved me. He was 18. I wasn’t scared of him because he didn’t try to hurt me and he wasn’t scary. He showed me his penis and asked me to touch it.

I refused and he didn’t force it. We spent a lot of time together. I was about 13 when my older female cousin performed oral sex on me and made me do the same. I couldn’t understand that for a long time but now I see that she was probably abused as a kid.

Some years later, I was a high school student tricked by a man in the Gardens dressed professionally and when I tried to get away, he dragged me up Jack’s Walk at 2pm on a weekday. Under threat of blows, I let him perform oral sex on me. I still see his brown eyes when I think about it. He tried inserting his finger but I told him I would scream.

He wanted to have sex and I said as soon as he let me go, I would go to the police. So he just let me go. Eventually a police report was made but the female officer’s questions made me feel like she felt I deserved it for being naive and tricked.

What should it matter if I had a boyfriend or not or whether I was a virgin? So naturally, I didn’t tell her the whole story.

After high school, I ended up in a vehicle with some friends waiting on another friend. At some point, I was alone in the vehicle and suddenly all 4 doors opened at once and four guys came in. I knew two of them. One from school and the other was a cousin of a friend.

They made their intentions known that willingly or unwillingly they were all going to get some from me. I tried fighting my way out of the vehicle, I tried bluffing that I had an STD. The high school one said that wasn’t true because I was too innocent in high school.

Imagine four sets of hands groping at you trying to get your clothes off and laughing all the while.

Eventually I began to think of who I was going to let go first because I felt it was inevitable and it would be better to control what I could instead of being roughed up by four desperate guys. In the end I didn’t have to because my friends came back and although only one saw the reality, he was my hero.

He ended up physically throwing people out and locking doors. The guy from high school was running alongside the vehicle opened that door and grabbed at me trying to pull me out of the vehicle. That door wasn’t locked yet because the driver just took off.

I was years older and much wiser when my favorite uncle rubbed himself against me while his wife and daughter were in bed a few feet away. I should have known. Earlier in the day he was insistent on showing me animé porn on his phone.

While he was pressed against me in the hall, he whispered in my ear asking if I felt it. I was frozen. He took my hand and placed it on his penis at which point that was too real for me so I pushed him away and spent half the night wondering whether that really happened.

I never ever told my parents any of these things. My father picked up that I was no longer a big fan of my uncle anymore and he asked why. I didn’t want to say but I hinted that he was disrespectful.

To my absolute surprise, he said nothing. He never pressed the issue. It was like he would prefer not to know so he wouldn’t be required to do anything. Whenever I see that uncle, he always has this sheepish look on his face. I see many people over time who have been inappropriate with me as a child and I see the question in their faces wondering whether I remember.

I never let on that I do. In the end, it’s only God who has kept me from being raped and caught in a cycle of abuse. Things could have gone bad years ago and there was never anyone to find out what was going on because I have always been good at pretend.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4 | Part 5

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#LévéDomnik: Untold Stories of Abuse (Part 2)

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#LévéDomnik

16 Days of Activism is an international campaign to end violence against women and children. It began on November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and will end on December 10 (Human Rights Day). For more information on the movement, see the official UNiTE website.

Here in Dominica, the campaign has taken social media by storm, propelled by Delroy Williams, Khadijah Moore and their team of advocates.

Mimicking a similar movement in Barbados, the local movement can be recognized by the hashtag #LévéDomnik. The hashtag, which when translated from Créole means wake up Dominica or stand up Dominica, is expected to encourage women, girls, men and boys to wake up, stand up and raise their voices against sexual harassment, molestation, all forms of assault, rape, domestic violence, etc.

The stories that follow were shared with the advocates and now I’m sharing them with you. The anonymous contributors were brave enough to share their experiences, so in support of this campaign, let us share this blog post with our friends and family.

Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

#LévéDomnik #16DaysofActivism

**

I was reading these stories…

Then the tears came, anxiety came, my stomach turned upside down and I had to go to the toilet. My body shut down. I realized I needed to start the healing. I thought I had survived it and it was OK but no.

I survived years of abuse but I’m not OK emotionally. I lived with my mom, dad was not home, mom would sometimes travel, so our uncle’s wife would take care of us.

Every Saturday for years, as far as I can remember, from a very young age between 7 and 13 (it could have started before, when my aunt went to the market) her son, my cousin, who was much older than me, would take me to the bedroom, put me to sit on his lap or on the bed… fondled me and inserted his penis into my vagina.

I didn’t know it was wrong, it seemed normal until about the age of 13 I began growing public hairs, when he placed me on his lap this one Saturday morning and slid his hand (having an anxiety attack now, fingers are shaking) down my panty through my public hairs the sudden reality of that is not right hit me and I woke up from his lap in haste.

He tried pulling me back but I pulled myself off and ran away and stopped what know now was madness.

I remember being angry one day because someone ill-treated me and I told my aunt about it while in tears. She looked at me in disbelief and called the name of her son with a smirk of disbelief and said…? “Y passa faire sa.”

The next time I mentioned it was when the news broke that he had an incestuous relationship with his daughter. When I told her that had I told her what her son had done to me, she said she didn’t remember me telling her.

Not only that, I remember too that my mom had a male friend who was often at the house. He would often look at me and gave me hugs. I thought it was OK until one day in the early evening, a little dark outside he just held me and kissed me. I pushed him off and he went away.

But wait there’s more… I also remember my primary school teacher. I thought I was his favorite student but I figured out later that he liked me otherwise.

One early evening while I sat on the bench in the porch he came and sat by me. We started talking about math and then suddenly his hand was under my skirt and his fingers were in my vagina.

I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. Then he stopped, kissed me and went home. This made me uncomfortable in his class, but still I like the attention I got in his class, as if I was his favorite student. I never said a word to anyone.

In addition to that, I remember my brother asking me to go get toilet paper for this boy who was in an outside toilet. When I brought the paper, my brother and cousin told me to take it to him in the toilet.

When I got to the door, the guy opened the door and my brother and cousin pushed me in and closed the door behind me. I fought my way out then later the accusations in the village of me having sex with this guy.

I could not even convince my dad that it did not happen. But all I knew was I forced my way out of the toilet. I don’t know where I got the strength because two boys were holding the door on the outside while the guy is trying to hold me inside with his pants down. Years later the guy apologized.

But wait, here’s more… There was this popular guy. He became my best friend, we were in youth groups and committee development groups together. Then we became boyfriend and girlfriend.

Our relationship lasted years. It was a very nice relationship, sex was not a priority but the first time we had sex I got pregnant. My virginity was gone by then. I didn’t know how because I had no knowledge of that.

Never had sex after I ran away from my cousin though, but he was the first person after my aunt I told of what my cousin did to me.

Soon after we had sex, something happened to our relationship. Three weeks later and pregnant (did not know then but felt weird) he beat me almost to death.

We were still in a committee development group together and we were with business of the village feast. He had just returned to the community center from my house after a conversation with my mom about me because mom and I had a little disagreement.

I went to the shop to buy some condensed milk because that’s what I was feeling for (guess I had a – how you call it – a lavee – I don’t know). When I realized he was in the community center, I went there, entered, closed the door behind me and told him that I needed to speak to him.

Immediately he held me in my blouse around my neck, kept pounding my head against a block of wood holding a huge nut and bolt. After the third knock I passed out. Then woke up with my body over a desk and punches in my stomach, I managed to pull myself up.

Looking at this man I loved – white liquid substance at the corner of his mouth scared me to death.

I tried running away but he reached me before I could run out the door, he held my blouse around my throat and the next time I was conscious again I was upside down in the gutter outside the community center looking at the area above me spinning and a lady asking what was he doing to the person child.

Again I held his shirt, pulled myself up, he pushed me back down but was able to raise myself again and up from the gutter, my back, stomach and head in pain. When I stood up he ran I took two stones and fired but he ran into his car and took off.

None of the stones reached him. The next thing I remember is my mom saying, “y ashay sa y tapay.”

I ran after this guy. When I got to his home, I heard him telling his mother that I was fighting with him. Man, I never even touched the guy. I ran up through the bushes and ready to die, then he appeared asking me to not do what I was about to do and begged me to return home.

It was pouring rain and all I wanted him to do was finish the job and pass over me with his car.

I got home long after, went straight to the bedroom closed and door and fell asleep. I woke up next morning with blood on my pillow, bruises on my back and pain all over. I wanted to die again but my mom saw the knife in my hand and took it away.

I went to the doctor and discovered that I was three weeks pregnant.

Another sad thing was that my name was all over the village saying I beat this guy up. He came to the house asking me not to worry with what people say because it was only he and I who knew what happened.

I asked him to tell the village because they are assassinating me further but he never did. I was labeled as bad, was truly overrated. Guess because he was a public figure.

I never told anyone about the assault until about 5 years later again when I was anyone angry with my mom about something. I have since then spoken about it with a few people we have been close to me. I have endured abuse but 25 years later it still affects me most recently when someone I thought of as special told me I was too aggressive. I told myself perhaps I am not don’t even realized it.

First time sharing this with someone I don’t know. Perhaps the first step of moving forward 😭

**

Khadi, I’d like to join the movement…

But I’m asking to remain anonymous because I’ve been able to walk away from and move past and as such I’ve since forgiven the person. Reading all the #lévédominik stories hitting home now in more ways than one.

So the story is when you finally get intimate with your current boyfriend and there’s just enough light in the room for him to notice faint scars on your sides near your ribs.

He asks about it and you remember back when you were 16 thinking you were head over heels in love with your first real bf. One day he feels it’s cool to just force himself on so u fight back. And end up getting dragged across the floor from his living room to his room, so now u have scars.

But I’m not a victim I refuse the title. He’s the victim because that’s the only type of love he ever received. I managed to walk away he didn’t… So call me conqueror instead. First time talking about that in four years…

**

When your college lecturer makes advances at you and sends you unsolicited dick pics because he considers you “fine.”

**

flyer-for-event

Here’s my crazy story.

From a young age I’ve had trouble with men for whatever reason I can’t comprehend. I was a church girl, raised by a single but wonderful mother, doing outstandingly well in school.

Life was a blessing with the usual attempted rape or attempted inappropriate touches and what not. I say this because it would happen so often that half of my childhood I spent reporting these incidents to the police so it became like a lifestyle, but of course nothing ever happened.

I lived a crazy life even if I was a very shielded child meaning not going out at all. In fact my first kiss was when I was 8 where a stranger grabbed me and kisses me only two minutes away from my home.

Many things happened… but the worse was when I was being sexually abused by a family member. I swear I hated myself for not killing him because poor little me was scared.

He would literally take a knife and cut me or would choke me. I tried telling the police but because he was such good friends with them they never believed me.

I was afraid for everything that I knew and of course it started to show. I would cry at school and be all by myself. Finally when I grew older I was able to tell everyone what happened. Despite that I hated myself for not doing more… but I did do all I thought I could.

But thank God I met good people who showed me the good things in life and thank God my mom found out before it became worse. Thank God because I can finally be happy again. I hope and pray this story encourages someone. I pray it does.

**

You’re someone I confide in…

And I don’t really talk about my personal experiences with people but I love the movement so I’m willing to share.

I’ve always been afraid to tell people because I was embarrassed, but after seeing all these posts I now see a lot of lil girls are going through this and I wouldn’t want this happening to anyone because it’s defined me without me even realizing the effects it had on me until I was old enough to understand.

Till this day I haven’t really told anyone, it’s disgusting thinking about it because my mother has gone through all of the precautions to prevent anything from happening to me. Yet at the age of 5 I was molested by my own uncle while his friend watched. Till this day I have to look at him and pretend it didn’t happen because he thinks I forgot, but I remember. I wish I didn’t but everyday I remember.

**

I was 18 and this was a guy I had history with…

We had decided to just be friends. He came to pick me up one night to go to his house, but I had a bad feeling, so I told him don’t bother coming to get me. He didn’t listen. He came anyway. I went outside in my sleeping clothes cause I had already decided I wasn’t going anywhere.

I sat in the car and he was like we won’t stay long so not worry but I let him know that I’m not interested in him like that anymore. I don’t want sex.

He smiled and said that he knows we’re not going to have sex, so he drives off.

We get to his house, we sit and we talk, and I see it getting later and he isn’t bringing me home, at this point I’m sleepy. I lie down and wrap myself in the comforter, before he gets any ideas. After a while he starts trying to tickle me and play fight, but I’m letting him know that I want to go home and I’m not interested in playing so I asked him to stop.

But he didnt. He starts trying to pull the comforter. I’m not laughing I’m just sternly saying, “could you stop seriously.” He thinks it’s a joke. He keeps pulling.

He’s on top of me now, and I tell him to get off, I don’t want this, he has a big grin on his face and says I know we’re just playing. I tell him this isn’t fun for me. He starts reaching for my pants. I wiggle and kick, but he’s bigger.

I try to push him with my hands, he pins them down, he thinks this is funny. I can see the stupid smile on his face. He reaches for a condom in the side draw. I’m still pinned under him, but I’m still kicking I’m still yelling, “no, seriously *insert name* stop please.”

I turn my head to the wall, and my body just goes numb. I tell myself don’t fight you don’t want tearing. I could see myself standing on the side of the bed, just staring at what he was doing.

I was so numb, I kept thinking I should move… why can’t I move? 

He leaned in to kiss me and I moved my head away. Still smiling he tells me, “you’re so wet…” as if that means I wanted this.

I just kept praying, “please be done please please…” He finally finishes and a tear falls from my eye. He rolls off me and I curl up in a ball. I ask to be taken home now. He has his fix. He obliged.

The next day he texts and says, “I’m sorry I know you didn’t want it.”

I tell him, “you know thats…”

And he responds, “rape (laughs).”

I buried it… never acknowledged it. It took leaving the country and a year later breaking down crying realizing that I needed to stop blaming myself, that I really was raped. He wasn’t my friend because he thinks he had some type of claim to me because of our history.

I just hope it encourages more people to open up… Thank you.

**

One morning…

I went to my grandmother’s flower garden to pick flowers for her to make arrangements for the church. It was a little off the road and into the bushes and I was maybe 9 at that time.

To my surprise I saw a brother and sister whom I knew very well naked and holding each other close on the floor. They were older than me. I proceeded to pass them but I had to stop and look.

The boy saw me and called me to come then I stood above them he told me look out because I was standing in an ants nest and I had to undress myself and take of my panties which I did. He put me to lie down then started to touch me.

The rest is a blur from this day…

I cant remember telling anyone about this because I always tried to block it off. Later on, when I had sex for the first time, my boyfriend at the time complained that I lied about being a virgin and he couldn’t trust me.

But to me I thought I was still a virgin because I couldn’t remember ever having sex. I now have a daughter and people say that I’m over protective of her but I’d die before she has to go through something like that…

That young man is married now and his sister is living her life successfully. I forgave them but I’m still not a peace with myself…

**

I thank you for creating this platform.

I couldn’t have been any older than 10 years old and my mother thought that by sending me over to her godmother’s workplace in the afternoons, that I would be watched over, protected even.

I remember a guy used to come over. It started off so innocently. He would give me money and send me to the shop to buy pieces of candy. One day, I remember him telling me that he had a snake and if I wanted to see it.

Of course, I said yes. I was only 10. Why would I think that the ‘snake’ would be pulled out of his pants? Silly me. Fast forward about 10 years. I’m now 20 and seeing this guy. Although we’re only just getting to know each other, he tells me he ‘loves’ me.

That’s funny. Do I love him back? Maybe. We’re in his bedroom one night and he began kissing me. Suddenly, the kisses become more and more aggressive and he pins me down on his bed. I try to push him off but the amount of strength in this 5’8” guy is unbelievable.

I tell him to stop but he doesn’t listen. I now feel his fingers in me. Jamming me. I’m in pain. How can someone who claimed they love me do this to me? Naïve right? I finally get him off of me and I see him panting.

I’m so disgusted at him… at myself and I couldn’t stop cringing. I’m still cringing.

I see persons pleading to parents particularly to educate their kids but I was educated, plenty. My mother and father always sat me and my siblings down and told us to never allow people to touch us inappropriately and to never do the touching. It’s not always the fault of the parents. People and MEN specifically need to see and don’t touch.

Leave people’s children alone. It’s about time #LévéDomnik

**

A popular bus driver…

On the Soufriere/Scott’s Head line made a detour with me. I was the only person on the bus at the time.

Took me to a remote location somewhere past castle comfort and made me have sex with him. He pulled out and came on top of me and casually pulled out a bottle of water and rinsed off. Like it was something he did all the time.

I don’t trust a lot of Dominican bus drivers. They prey on young teenage girls…

**

I was about to go on vacation…

And got one of the sponsored airport taxi drivers.

I had ridden with him before and had no issues but this time I was the only passenger and was sitting in the front of the vehicle.

While driving through the twists and turns he placed his hand on my knee. I got so cold and rigid and afraid. I felt cornered and defenseless. He asked if it was ok and I mumbled some unintelligible response.

He slide his hand up some more. I was wearing a knee length dress and he brought it up a bit. My heart was racing. We got to Pagua bay and he stopped and said he had to pee. He came back into the vehicle and grabbed my chin and kissed me and said I was beautiful and he wanted me.

I wanted to throw up. We got to the airport. I gave him his taxi fare money and walked off. I never used his service again. Ever! I told my boyfriend that he “tried” to kiss me and my boyfriend being a bit older basically treated it like it was not a big deal.

**

I was raised with my aunt and uncle…

Because my mom left me before my first birthday 😔. Everyone thought I had the best life because they saw me smiling and 😊 but I was dying on the inside. I have let go now but I will never forget.

It started when I was five all the way up to the age of twelve, my uncle would touch me and ask me to play with him and said it was just fun, everyone was doing it. What made it worse was the fact he was an alcoholic. I told my aunt and she didn’t believe me. She said I was trying break her and her husband apart. She made my whole family believe I was lying.

But one day by the grace of God she caught him sneaking into my room. That day she cried and cried and begged me to forgive her. Which I did.

I found out two years ago that my uncle passed away due to alcohol poisoning. Not a tear fell from my eye. Only a sigh of relief that I can finally move on.

These stories make me cry. I’ve read so many, and to know that there are females like me out there that have the courage to speak out, and help others speak out that 😔that makes me proud. Let’s give each other the strength we need to progress in life #isurvived#iamstrong and so are you 😘

**

stop-that-violence

Just came from helping…

My grandmother and uncles from feeding the pigs and harvesting provisions. At the time my uncle and aunt were our neighbors.

As a little girl, I would go over to play with her kittens or climb her guava tree. That specific day he called me into his room. I really thought he needed help with something. He laid on the bed, dick in his hand asking me to kiss it.

I said no. He held me by my skirt trying to grab my vagina but when my aunt asked was going on he just said he was trying to kill a cockroach.

After that I didn’t feel for men, until i was 18 when I realized all men are not the same. I have never told anyone, but I think women out here need to know that they are not alone.

**

A minister of government and I became friends.

I heard stories about the dirty ways some of them have but I thought maybe it was the way some of the females entertained them etc.

I was in need of help then and I knew that the aid that I needed, he was the right person to ask. He agreed to help me. One time, he asked me for a picture. I know in cases like these, is nudes a man would ask for when he says to send him a pic. I paid that no mind, I sent a regular pic.

He said, ” That’s beautiful but you know is not that kind I want. Something to turn me on.” 👀

He told me if I didn’t send it, I wouldn’t get the help. I didn’t send it and if it was life and death, I’d really die, no help. I’m a warrior, a child of God. I push until I can’t. God is a good god.

**

Hi Khadijah, I want to give my story…

I wish to remain anonymous. So since I was about 5 years old to about 10 or 11, I used to spend summers and holidays by my aunt. And since then, my cousin would molest me. I never really knew what was happening to me till I got older and understood the meaning of ‘molestation.’

For a long while I hated myself because I thought that it was my fault. What if I had just said ‘no’? But come to think of it, this monster robbed me of my innocence!

And after all what he did to me, he still told his friends what he did, like it was all a joke. Up to this day I never told my parents what happened to me!

This guy made me feel disgusted at myself for years but now, thank God, now I love myself even more than ever and my eyes are not closed to the fact that there are real monsters who hide under the banner of ‘family.’

**

When i was about 7…

My mom’s boyfriend at the time would always ask me to mess with his face and squeeze his nose. It started off normal at first, and then later on, he started touching me every time.

These face cleanings went from once a week to every single day. I wanted to tell my mother so bad, but we would get into trouble if we even talked back to him, so I just knew she wouldn’t believe me.

I started becoming aggressive and always making myself busy just so I wouldn’t have to do things for him. I remember one Carnival morning my mom was getting ready for Jouvert, and I was asleep with my lil sisters and cousin.

I felt a person on top of me, touching me and trying to force his private area inside of me. I realized it was him. I started turning and twisting like I was waking up so in panic he left the room.

Shortly after that him and my mom split but it didnt matter. I was already scarred. I never said anything and when I was 9 I remember watching a movie on lifetime with my sister and telling her that had happened to me. By then I was now living in the U.S.

My sister called my mother and told her everything. She was so upset with me for not saying anything. I remember her crying and promising to protect me from that moment.

Although i didn’t let it take over my life, it stuck with me for yearssss.

When I first bounced up with him in Dominica in my adult life I remember seeing how miserable and dry this man looked. I felt a sigh of relief because everyone knew him as a child molester and I feel like karma was coming back to haunt him.

I am always tempted to just throw him down with a stone but I try keeping the high road. Because of this I am stronger and wiser, and now I have a little girl of my own, it has my eyes open for all signs.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story. Ladies be careful of these stepfathers and make sure you do thorough investigations especially with your children. Notice the differences, ask questions and be open to listen at all times.

**

Being raised without a father…

Can have some serious effects on a young girl. Growing up I had my granny and a few uncles to lead the way. We moved to a new place and I was the center of attraction because of my ‘Coke a Cola’ bottle shape they said I had.

I was only 9 years old… sigh… but liked the attention. Being raised with Granny I only knew not to talk to boys or I’d get pregnant. No if, no but, no maybe. However made me afraid but curious.

I got my period at 9 years old and was scared to death cause I didn’t know what it was. All I knew was I was in trouble. Granny was hard about it gave me a big pad which was so uncomfortable, with no explanation. I just knew it would last 5 days. How confusing for a 9 year old.

The boys who were much older than me (like 16 or older, I knew cause they where in high school) one day called me and told me one of the boys was calling me.

I went and they closed the door behind me and came in one after the other. To this day I can’t remember what happened, only I was in pain and can’t remember how many it was, and only the after a few days the boys would make fun of me and call me line up.

I was so embarrassed and afraid my name was a big scandal and parents didn’t want their children to play with me because I was a bad influence. I couldn’t deal with it. I moved to go live with my birth mother at 11 years, whom I only saw 3 times in my entire life before. Worst mistake of my life… didn’t know what I was in for.

I met a man who was 19 years old and I was in love with him… or did I even understand the meaning at such a young age?

But he was in love with me. My mom almost killed the guy one day when she saw us together. Eventually she said if you like my daughter you can come see her only in the day.

We then moved sometime after with my mothers boyfriend at the time, where blow was my daily meals, because he wanted to have sex with me and I wouldn’t allow it. He prevented my boyfriend from coming to see me and would beat me every chance, even once for a piece of bread. I still have the mark today.

He beat me once for coming home late after arts and craft of soap baskets at school, and made eat the soap. I hate that soap to this day!!

My boyfriend went away sent me a bag of clothes which enclosed a love letter. My mother’s boyfriend found it and almost killed me and burned it all while I watched.

They didn’t have enough food to feed all of us so while he was out to work my mom went to sleep with men for money. She would say I going to make the Carco go and make the milk meaning that I should sleep with men too.

But my boyfriend would help me and give me money. One day I was sent to wash the entire family clothes in my hands without soap, while watching my baby brother. I cried I called my boyfriend in the pay phone.

He brought me soap and my mother’s boyfriend beat me. Because of that I ran away went to stay with my aunt who allowed me to go back to school. But her husband would sexually abuse me when she wasn’t home.

I told her and she said I was lying and sent me back to my mother. I went to stay at my boyfriend house and my mother sent the police. I am only 12 years old… He almost took 25 yrs jail.

I was shipped back to my mother’s house, out of school, getting molested by my cousin. 

Hmmm… One day I called my granny collect and she cried so much when I told her what I was going through. She came back to Dominica for me. I moved back with my granny, brought my boyfriend home she wasn’t pleased, but said I was already active and that she couldn’t stop it, and he was there for me.

We stayed together for 9 years. One day I realized he had said something to me that I had him as a father figure and I saw it was true. I was now 18 and knew better. He was hurt when I left him and tried to kill himself, but didn’t succeed.

We still remain friends to this day.

I fell in love with another guy who would beat me senselessly if I didn’t do as he said. He raped me once and I blacked out and started smashing things around. He locked me in a house while he was at work.

I found an open door he thought was locked and I escaped and ran back to my home.

Every time I entered a relationship looking for someone to love me instead they hit me and abused me verbally. I thought it was over until the other day a guy said, “you don’t remember me?”

I was like, “no I don’t know.” He said, “you don’t know me? But you was in a line up with me!” I just walked away, shamed and furious at myself.

I had an interview a few years ago and I saw my cousin. He gave me a ride to the interview and I was told to come back later for another one. It was early and my cousin had his daughter in the jeep and said, “let’s go by me and chill.”

I said, “OK, just to kill time.” What was I thinking?

While sitting in the living room I got a text on my phone low and behold, my cousin in the room telling me he have something to tell me… I checking, “what?”

He says, “remember when we use to play mammy and daddy, and you make me get hard, well I never forgot that… I still want to see what it would be like if we have sex!”

Me, I shock. My mouth shut and I’m mad as hell. I said I want to go. He says to me, “you ain’t moving until I get what I want…” and says, “I just come from the army so if you tell nobody or scream I can just break your neck.”

I was scared to death and all I remember saying was your daughter there and asking God to get me out of this situation. He got angry and took me down to town I got out of his jeep, slammed the door and walked away. Went straight home cause I didn’t have a level head for that interview.

I never told anyone. I am now 29. I lost my granny a few yrs ago and still can’t rekindle a bond with my mother.

I am now married. God has blessed me with a good husband and I never told my husband of this. I’m too ashamed. I have my life to Christ and every day I fight with those feelings. Most times its hard having sex with my husband.

Sometimes I have to put myself in a frame of mind that it’s OK and he loves me and we’re happy and no one will hurt me. We have no kids and he may wonder why…

I’m so afraid that my cervix was damaged… so afraid that I was raped by more guys I can remember. I have a niece she’s one. Even if I know how much my husband loves her I am always looking at him closely because of my inside fears.

Sometimes I feel hurt that I can’t trust anyone and that I get embarrassed easily even if I may seem to be so confident. It’s just a wall I have raised up and built a new person in me.

Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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#LévéDomnik: Untold Stories of Abuse (Part 1)

4
16 Days of Activism

16 Days of Activism is an international campaign to end violence against women and children. It began on November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and will end on December 10 (Human Rights Day). For more information on the movement, see the official UNiTE website.

Here in Dominica, the campaign has taken social media by storm, propelled by Delroy Williams, Khadijah Moore and their team of Advocates.

Mimicking a similar movement in Barbados, the local movement can be recognized by the hashtag #LévéDomnik. The hashtag, which when translated from Créole means wake up Dominica or stand up Dominica, is expected to encourage women, girls, men and boys to wake up, stand up and raise their voices against sexual harassment, molestation, all forms of assault, rape, domestic violence, etc.

The stories that follow were shared with the Advocates and now I’m sharing them with you. The anonymous contributors were brave enough to share their experiences, so in support of this campaign, let us share this blog post with our friends and family. This is Part 1 of the series.

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

#LévéDomnik #16DaysofActivism

**

At the age of five…

My mother sent me to live with my father and stepmother. I was 11 when the abuse started. This was right after he found out that she had been cheating on him while he was in Canada going to school.

I remember that I used to sleep in the same room with my brothers but once I hit puberty I got my own room. At first, I was happy but that happiness was short lived.

With the room came a father who felt like he could sneak in at night and sexually abuse me. He would touch my breasts, kiss me and each time, I would try to claw his face off or beg him to stop. There was one night I will never forget. He came into my room and asked me, “do you get any feelings down there?”

I had no idea what he was asking me. Seeing the confusion on my face, he clarified, “do you get any sexual feelings because the other night, while you were sleeping, I felt wetness in your underwear.”

Why my father was interested in my vagina and whether or not I had any sexual desires was beyond my comprehension.

It got worse. For five years, I had to endure abuse from a man who was supposed to protect me from the world. Coming into my room at night, coming into the bathroom when I was taking a bath to watch me naked.

He would also find me when I snuck into my brothers’ room to sleep on the top bunk of their yellow bunk bed. I wondered why he never abused my brothers like he did me.

I finally got the courage to try to tell my mother but before I could get the words out, my mother told me that if she ever found out my father was sexually abusing me, she would kill both of us.

Needless to say, I kept quiet because my experience with my mother historically, was not a good one. This is a woman who chose her husband and 6 kids over the child she had as the result of an affair (me).

My father moved me to the downstairs apartment at age 15. In retrospect, I realize that it was so he could have more access to continue the abuse, which he did. However, he told people that it was to put distance between me and my stepmother who I was having problems getting along with.

Lucky for me, the abuse stopped when I moved to the USA when I was 16. Six years later, when he came to the States to visit for Thanksgiving, I finally confronted him about the abuse. This was triggered because I found him going through my underwear drawer.

I called him a pedophile. He punch me in the face and attempted to shut me up. My aunt had to step in and stop him from beating me up.

I have not had a conversation with my father in 10 years and because he is a prominent figure and a government official, I am posting this anonymously ~ well sort of #kjb

**

Sitting on a packed bus…

And feeling a hand stroking your thigh… going higher and higher. Freezing… still, because you hope your mind is making that shit up.

But then you feel the movement again. There is a hand under the skirt of your high school uniform. Elbowing a grown man in the rib cage… and whispering, “Aye, you’re touching me.” He brazenly stares at you, and says, “Yes, I know.”

**

That feeling of dread…

Because your much older step brother is spending the summer. He will be waiting in the bedroom, naked, as soon as your parents leave for work… make you touch him in places with your hands… and with your tongue. And you’re ashamed… so you don’t say anything.

Your younger brother catches it one day. But you’re more afraid and ashamed for yourself than anything else. Mercifully, he doesn’t tell on you. Twenty years later… you’ve moved on… the phone rings… and it’s his voice on the other end of the line.

You are instantly filled with a raw, savage, rage and you offload every emotion that you hadn’t dared to put into words. He is stunned and speechless. “Don’t you dare call this phone again.” No one is home to hear the exchange.

He inboxed me the other day. I realized, I’m still angry.

#LévéDomnik

**

As a teenager, you are asleep.

You feel your panty crotch sweep to the side. Someone is touching you. Your older cousin!

**

I was 10…

My brother used to wait until everyone was asleep and would come into my room and grease my vagina and put his penis between my legs, and do that continuously. It maybe happened every night in the week because my mom use to take care of some elderly people and had to sleep the night.

After he would wipe me up and go to his bed.

There are days that my mom would leave me home with him alone and he would bring me in his room n do this. I got so accustomed to it that I knew when he would come. Sometimes I would play like I was fast asleep when he tried to wake me up so he would leave me alone… but he still would do it.

When I was twelve I told him I don’t care if he kills me I’m going to tell mom and he told me he’s gonna stop…

At that time he stopped… But would beat me every time he met me talking to a guy.

I hated him but didn’t tell anyone… when I was 15 I became sexually active and every time to start having sex I would fight him down before we could start. So I decided to stop having sex. 

At the age of 18 I started again and it was still the fighting me down to have sex. The guy was older and could say mature and was wondering why every time we had sex I have to fight him down like it was rape.

At that point I opened up to him and he was furious and told me there was a police living close to him that deals with this. But I knew my family would hate me so I told him just leave it there…

It haunted me for years until at 26 years I got into a problem with my brother and my mom and sis was like I over-thinking that little issue and I blurted it out… I remembered my mom and sister yelling, crying, screaming…

He was sitting right there and started saying how he was young and had urges so he did that… and how he can pay me for the hurt. 

I sleep every night with my door closed after that because I felt he would kill me… What hurts I have to see his face everyday reminding me of what he did to me…

**

When I first encountered semen in my adult life…

I thought to myself , I know what this is. I remembered the consistency, I remembered the taste, the smell and tears began to fill my eyes. The feeling of shame. There’s more…

**

Growing up…

I didn’t have a stable home so my mom moved us to a new community to be with her boyfriend. The boyfriend’s mother dated a younger man and that was the first horrible experience.

He would wait when everyone would leave and then touch me and ask me to touch him.

When I decided to talk about it, he said he would kill me.

I went to spend summer holidays with a friend and her family and her brother would come to the room and touch me while he kept his hand over my mouth. 

To this day I can’t sleep in the dark. I have a nightlight and my door has to be locked. I check it twice!

**

Gender-based Violence
Paint Your Story. Photo source: Bureau of Gender Affairs
Growing up I’ve lived in an extended family household.

He came from out of Dominica to visit because of the death of family member.

He’s married… a father, grandfather, brother, uncle cousin….. One day he was ironing and I went to stand next to him to ask a question. He slid his hand up my skirt… I was so shocked. I was 8… I can never forget the feeling…

From then every time he visited he’d wait until everyone was asleep to come into my room to touch me and try to have sex with me. Sometimes I’d scream, pretend I was asleep or wrap myself up in my sheet… I never told a soul.

Now I’m grown I finally told my mum. He denied it. I’m shattered, heartbroken… Haven’t seen him in years. Four weeks ago Facebook suggested that I add him as a friend… I lost it… He’s now blocked!

I’m still hurt and angry and if I had a gun I’d kill him…

**

My uncle would let me touch his private parts when he was living with us. I remember it. Was slimy and wet.. And would tell me it’s OK to feel it.

**

He was my best friend.

He held me down as he opened my shirt and put his hands below my bra. I tried to break loose, I tried to scream, I was frozen.

I said no. I know I did… but it didn’t deter him.

I still remember the scent of his breath. I remember being so angry with myself that I let it happen, that perhaps I led him on. Why didn’t I scream? Why didn’t I defend myself? Why didn’t I do something?

I began to doubt whether I said no or perhaps I wasn’t loud enough or forceful enough because he was my best friend and friends won’t do that to you.

I remember going home and soaping my skin at least five times trying to get the scent of him off of me. I tried to pretend like nothing happened. I cried myself to sleep that night and I’m crying now.

**

He called the night before…

“I want to us to talk over breakfast.”

I asked, “About??”

He said, “Us.”

I said, “there’s no ‘us.'”

He said, “OK, well at least come to hear me out and I still wanna give you a treat.”

I then said, “OK.”

Next morning at minutes to 8, he’s calling, “I’m in the cemetery meet me there.”

I said, “I just woke so come check me home.”

He said “OK.” and did just that.

I decided to just stay home to do the ‘talking’ and he started begging me to make back and promising he’ll change, but being tired of those stories over and over (looking at him with disgust), I said “no”.

Before I knew it his hands were under my neck choking me…

I know God was there because of the strength I got to kick him off and then I started shouting out my brother’s name.

During that time he picked up a weapon to hit me in the head, which my brother held and forced him out of the house whilst he was stating he must kill me.

I ran to the phone to call the police and that’s when he actually left the area.

**

He was the neighbor of a close friend.

I was 15 and at my friends’ house.

He and I were talking and my friend left to go get something up the street. I thought he liked me and he said it to me before.

That day was the first time he tried to kiss me and I didn’t resist. For years I felt that if I had stopped it there he may have not gone any further, but I didn’t. He lifted my skirt and attempted to penetrate me.

I begged him to stop and shouted for help but no one heard me.

“Stop fighting I’m not in yet.”

That’s what he said to me when I finally got the strength to push him off.

I passed my friend in her steps and didn’t turn back.

When I got home I felt so dirty. I washed my skin so hard it burned. I finally gave up and sat on my bedroom floor in my towel crying.

When my family got home my sister looked at me and said, “attention you looking for nah!?”

It just broke me. I never said a word to anyone about this for months. It haunted me, I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know if this boy had given me an STI. I was terrified.

I finally found the courage to seek help and get tested. I secretly took counseling for 10 months. To this day my family still don’t know this happened to me. But I’m glad I found the strength to help myself.

**

My story made short.

I was a little girl. Maybe about 9 (can’t remember my exact age), and I was at my aunty’s shop, sitting, playing with my doll, combing it’s hair.

A much older man was there, Mr Payne. Without saying a word, he took my doll and was touching her privates. I stood there numb. Not knowing what to say or do.

Why was he touching and rubbing her like this in my presence?

I immediately left and told my mom as soon as I could. My aunt was more interested in her customer and was ‘sootiwehing’ him. 

Thank God for my strong mother because she went to his home with the intention to knock out this man. She spoke to his daughter about this. If I would ever see him, I would disappear. 

It’s been a while since I’ve seen him. I think he might be bed ridden. But if I were to see him. I would open a bottle of alkali and make him smell it. Just like how he showed me my doll’s privates.

Apparently we’d both be attracted to different ‘senses.’

**

I’d gone to fetch a few items…

From the shop higher up the village for my mum. He followed me on my way back, lift me up from behind, covered my mouth and ran down the nearby bushes.

I was 9 and he was 19, my cousin.

I was terrified and tried to break loose (a hopeless effort since he was much stronger than me). I prayed earnestly in silence that God would send someone as he rubbed himself on me (no penetration).

Suddenly, a vehicle passed by and I mustered the courage to release his hands from my mouth and began to scream.

It was then I got my freedom. I sprinted all the way home, but never said a word.

I was indeed frightened and scared.

Broke the silence after marriage… I have never confronted him on it… Don’t think I have the courage to that… I vowed never to have a man touch me after this…

**

I was about the age…

Where I had just began to even recognize my surroundings. I would say I was about the age of 3 or 4.

My mother would send my cousin to bathe me and he would push his finger in my vagina and my Mom would hear me screaming and crying.

I was in pain but instead she would come see what’s going on she would say, “that child is just salop… I don’t know why every time she have to bathe she acting like somebody killing her. She just salop.”

I developed a fear for bathing. Not only was my cousin doing this to me, my mother was also physically abusing me. It never stopped there.

He tried to penetrate me when I was about 5 or 6, right when Days of Our Lives came on. Thank God when the Days of Our Lives song comes on my aunt runs upstairs because she can’t miss it.

Years later when I had moved away from there, I was about 9 or 10, he came over to the house to do something for Tia and I was alone.

I don’t even remember if he had sex with me I was so scared but I do remember him showing me cum coming out his penis. He also gave me a hickey on my neck.

I wanted to tell Tia but I couldn’t because I thought she would think it was my fault. Instead I told her I fell on the steps and hit my neck.

I had never spoken to that guy again. One day when I was much older, I passed him by like nothing and he yelled out my name so aggressively, like I had disrespected him by passing him straight, when in actuality he disrespected me by taking away my innocence.

Be strong girls because I know it’s not an easy thing to overcome.

**

Yeah that’s my story…

I had just left school, 17 years, didn’t go to college right away so I use to hang around my aunt husband, also an elder at the church I went to and I’m still attending.

I went to do lectures at schools with him to occupy my time. He was a fire officer.

One night I took a ride with him to the neighboring village. Now he said he was going to collect plants at a center in the night. I didn’t check nothing. He stopped, went outside and I sat in the vehicle.

He called me out after a while. So he started to talk and tell me he and his wife were having problems in bed so he want to have sex with me to see if is his wife or himself that have the problem.

I was shocked I told him I was a Virgin I cannot do that. I went silent and he realize I wasn’t pleased. He proceeded to drop me home I thought about confronting him. I want him to know having sex with me would not be a solution to his problem.

I kept that up to this day, not saying a word.

**

Hi Delroy. I would like to share my story…

I can’t remember how old I was but I was definitely younger than 10 (I know because I sat common entrance at 10 and it happened before that).

My mother’s cousin who was in his 20s, spent a lot of time at my home as his parents barely took care of him. I remember being home one day alone. He came over and took me to my mother’s bed.

He sat down and placed me on him and penetrated me. It was so painful and strange that I just felt numb.

Afterwards I saw blood. He told me don’t worry, the blood came from him (later in life, I understood where it came from). There was another time he tried again but thank God my sister came. I still don’t know if she saw what was happening to this day.

I felt so ashamed. I just could not bring myself to tell anyone. He left the island but has visited on a number of occasions. When he visited in the earlier years, I behaved like nothing happened and we were just regular cousins.

But as I got older I just got angry that he did not even see it fit to apologize.

I sent him an email expressing my hurt, anger and disgust. He apologized but kept on saying how he loves me, which pissed me off even more. I recently called and asked if he could attend my wedding (as I am getting married soon).

I made it clear to him that I did not even want to see his face ever again and don’t call my home anymore and to consider himself dead to me.

I recently found out that he did the same to my twin neighbors. It still angers me at age 37.

I have 2 sons and a daughter now, I speak to them every day about speaking out if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable and I also warn my 13 and 19 year old sons to avoid ever touching anyone in a manner that is not appropriate.

My daughter who is 5 is not allowed to spend time at anyone’s home. And when we have visitors to our home, I ensure that she is always in my sight. I am in constant fear that some will do the same to her.

**

When your older…

Brother’s friend sits you on his lap with a guitar underneath which he touches and plays with your private parts.

Then years later having to be so paranoid about your child being molested because you are not the only one this happened to in your family.

But you have to let her go and allow her to interact with other people because you can’t live in fear. Just pray every day that she will be fine and protected and do the best you can. 

Finding out from your mother years later that she herself had to ward off attention from her sister’s husband…

**

My favorite uncle.

A father, a preacher, one of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet. He was a second father to me.

For years he would embrace me, a hug, a kiss to the forehead and tell me how beautiful I am.

“Let me look at you, you so pretty child. Everyday you getting prettier.”

My entire life I’ve looked up to him. Entering my twenties, his greetings began feeling very uncomfortable. The hugs got a bit tighter, the kisses lasted a bit longer but I shrugged it off.

Then one night at the age of 24 he came over to my grandmother’s house to pick her up. Here I am sitting on the porch and he’s just staring at me and smiles.

I blow a kiss to him and he says, “You know what I’ll take that kiss.” He came up to me, held my chin (I’m expecting the usual forehead kiss), and kissed me on my lips. I was stunned. Frozen in place.

He left..later that night I sent him a pretty strongly worded text message.

I told only my sister, my aunt, and my cousin what happened so that they would understand why I would be dreading this man in the immediate future. I didn’t want any confusion.

By the next morning I received texts from his son asking me, “Aly how you can do that? That is your uncle.”

My uncle came over trying to defend himself to my grandmother, saying that I was demon possessed for cursing at him and for even saying that he could do that to me. Mind you, I have yet to say a word to my Granny about what he did.

What broke my heart is that my grandmother sided with him. This man spent an hour trying to defend why he did what he did and what he didn’t..in the name of the Lord I had to give you a kiss.

You only mad because something happened to you in the past and that kiss brought out the pain. So many [email protected]#% excuses. I couldn’t sleep for weeks. Everything he said was reeling in my mind.

I was hurt. Most of my family says I’m bad because I cursed him out. But forget that. My mom raised me with the mentality, if ANY man touches me without warrant, let her know.

If you’re old enough stand up for yourself. No matter how small the act, girls and women should never tolerate sexual or psychological abuse. It was a kiss, but if tolerated who knows how far it could’ve gone. #CallMeBad

**

Good morning…

I’ve been reading those #lifeinleggings posts and I have a story to share…

I am now 44 years old and this is still tormenting me to this day!! I’ve been battling with this since I was about 10… 

Not sure how I should start… have been in contact with the police and Tina so the perpetrator is going to be dealt with. 

Growing up in a rural community I guess everybody ‘trusted’ each other so much that at the age of 8 I was sent to sleep with a neighbor (who was a bachelor).

The most thing is that he REQUESTED to have me come spend nights with him to which my mother agreed! I’m honestly not sure if I was a payment for something he did for them but I was sent!

Who sends their 8-year old to a man’s house to sleep??? At the time I was naive so didn’t even know what he was doing to me! 😪 😪 😪

He would allow me to sleep in a separate room but during the night when I had fallen asleep would come wake me up with his hard @#$%. I would feel that moist sticky stuff between my legs and had no idea what was happening.

After he was done, he would put me back to sleep and say, “that’s all okay.”

My hands are shaking sooo much typing this… I swear I will kill this man one of those days.

When I started high school at the age of 10 I found out what he was doing through my Guidance and Counseling class.

I remember going home one day and told my mother what was happening and her response was, “you lying.”

How could a mother who was supposed to protect her child behave that way???? This caused me to grow up very anti-social (of course in those days no one would know about that).

I despised my mother for years I honestly was blaming her but then when I rationalized I asked myself, “why wasn’t daddy mad when I was sent there?” So he too had a part to play in this situation! 

When I realized I was on my own in this situation, I started making excuses why I couldn’t go like “I have a lot of homework to complete.”

God knows how I HATE this man!!! I decided to stop going to his home and that’s how it ended!

I am sure there are others he has done this to because he is in a profession dealing with children. I thank God for my understanding husband cause he has suffered soooo much due to this!!

We need to end this!!! 

Have given the police a statement and I am now waiting on them to get back to me. 

God only knows how many women are out there struggling / battling with this!!! I will be a part of this fight as soon as that legal battle is over. (He has not been spoken to yet so don’t want to jeopardize the fight).

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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Dominican social entrepreneur to join Obama at town hall event in Peru

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Honore participated in the 2016 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) in the US recently

Following her successful participation at the 2016 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) in the United States, Valarie Honoré of Woodford Hill was selected along with 60 other Fellows to meet with President Barack Obama, in Peru from November 17-20, 2016.

President Obama will be in Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and will meet with YLAI Fellows at a Town Hall Event to hold discussions on Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation.

Through the East Dominica Children’s Federation, Honoré continues to channel her passion for change through the empowerment of Children and Youth.

Honoré designs, develops and implements Educational Programs and Social Projects focused on: Child Rights, Education Enhancement and Youth Economic and Social Empowerment to assist in breaking intergenerational patterns of poverty.

Honoré aims to create a culture where children and youth can maximize their full potential and become leaders of lasting change.

As a YLAI Fellow, Honoré will use her experience and expanded Network to grow her Youth Volunteers Network throughout the Region – Providing and Promoting programmes that encourage volunteers to participate in community-driven, technology assisted, gap-bridging change.

An innovative approach to assist educational and social services sector in accommodating the appropriate level of consistent care and service interventions that are critically needed by at-risk children and youth.

Valarie Honoré believes that Regional Leaders should make Youth Entrepreneurship a Regional Priority and a unified approach should be taken to tackle shared Global Challenges.

She, along with over 50 Caribbean YLAI Fellows will join efforts to create a platform to promote the YLAI Network and increase Entrepreneurship Development Opportunities for Youth throughout the Caribbean Region.

Youth within our region continue to face significant challenges including limited access to jobs, capital, and advanced educational opportunities.

YLAI helps address the opportunity gap for youth, especially women, by empowering entrepreneurs and civil society leaders with the training, tools, networks, and resources they need to transform their societies and contribute more fully to economic development and prosperity, security, human rights, and good governance in the hemisphere.

Valarie received her Professional Placement and mentorship in Raleigh North Carolina at Triangle Family Services. A non-profit organization focused on building a stronger community by strengthening the family, serving for over 80 years.

The YLAI Professional Fellowship Program also included an orientation and training conference in Dallas, Texas in October and culminated with a closing summit in Washington, D.C. in early November.

The summit capitalized on Fellows’ accomplishments and follow-on plans and provided networking and interaction with U.S. Government officials and private sector experts.

The article was originally published on Dominica News Online.

 

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WINAIR and KLM Code Share Preparations

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WINAIR code share

Airport Road, Sint Maarten (November 11, 2016) – KLM and WINAIR have begun the process of expanding their business relationship in St. Maarten. The target date for implementation of code share agreement is scheduled for 2017.

“WINAIR currently enjoys a interline with KLM, one of the world’s premiere carriers, thru expansion of this agreement to a code share agreement both WINAIR and KLM will operate flights throughout each other’s route network offering greater benefits to our mutual customers, improving connectivity, adding destinations, pricing and ease of travel for customers traveling to and from the Caribbean, Eur
ope and beyond.” stated Michael Cleaver President and CEO of WINAIR.

KLM visited St Maarten with an audit team of 4 people to perform a Code share audit to ensure WINAIR is in compliance with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) requirements. The KLM audit team was warmly welcomed and found WINAIR to be very transparent during the audit. Two Senior Auditors from the Corporate Integrated Safety & Compliance department were invited to the SMCAA to share thoughts on Regulations and Authority in general. As the code share agreement must be approved by both the St. Maarten and Dutch authorities this visit was highly appreciated by KLM and Winair

All operational disciplines of WINAIR were reviewed and audited by KLM to ensure WINAIR is compliant with ICAO standards. There remains additional regulatory issues ahead of WINAIR and KLM, approval from our respective Civil Aviation Departments, IT testing, fare structures for thru fares and implementation of the agreement. Once code share is attained this will greatly enhance service each airline offers to our customers, including seamless travel, additional options in travel plans and will offer greater value to our mutual customers.

This is a press release from WINAIR.

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