Being raped and molested by my caregiver was the beginning of my hell journey. After being abandoned by my parents breaking apart, I was soon sent to live with strangers (by my mother who had no knowledge of their children or family, only their educational and financial stability). At the age of twelve, it was difficult to understand the class prejudice in Jamaica. Though I did know there was ‘Uptown’ and ‘Downtown’ – the rich and poor, respectively. I did not know where I belonged so I stayed in obscurity with the shame of not having a family. I never envied anyone and their family because I only experienced sexual terror everywhere I went. My first experience was watching my friend cry to her father when he embarrassed her in front of me by asking us for sex. It was truly my first devastation of witnessing a father saying this to his daughter and her only response was that he embarrassed her. The mother was more caught up, asking us if we had seen him with any other women. Until today, when I see him, he still licks his lips at me in a sexually suggestive manner and I am disgusted. He is now an old man.
Witnessing this form of hypocrisy and silence made me rebel from the so called ‘uptowners,’ and led me to find comfort in the injustice of the ghetto of Kingston, with a sister my father had left behind too. The greatest barrier of this terrible class distinction is opportunity. The ‘uptowners’ had opportunity and ‘downtowners’ had none. Many of my uptown friends came on my escapades to see my sister in the ghetto. Ghetto people are real and speak what is on their mind despite the thick refrain from rape and sexual assault popular in the same ghetto, but in a more gang like way or if I may say, ‘gansta’ way. My sister is a very happy delightful person despite all her horrific atrocities and experiences. I love her strength when I am stressed, as she laughs. Anyhow, we (my friends and I) would attend all the dances, old hit sessions, favourite fish spots, and just a normal ghetto hang out, my sister’s bar. Observing and learning from both environments still had me in the middle of nowhere. I witnessed the village uptown families that were broken but posed with false hypocritical lives. They acted as if their families were together – giving false impressions. Having seen this behavior, I constructed my own values and standards. I used discipline as one of my personal guards and protections. I also mastered the art of support. I extended support to everyone else except myself. This was soon discovered because I suffered and knew pain, so I was always willing to help or support others in pain. I learned to put that guard around myself by being obscure because, well, look at it, all we got was what the duck got. Was it because my head was stuck in the water? Or was I down trying to get me some water and I was taken suddenly without warning.