Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Staggering abuse

My father impregnated me, says 48-year-old

Published:Friday | June 2, 2023 | 1:30 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU: FORTY-THREE YEARS after being molested by her stepfather, and 30 years after being impregnated by her father, a 48-year-old Jamaican woman who has toyed with the idea of suicide is crying out for help. *Andrea’s virginity was taken...


FORTY-THREE YEARS after being molested by her stepfather, and 30 years after being impregnated by her father, a 48-year-old Jamaican woman who has toyed with the idea of suicide is crying out for help.

*Andrea’s virginity was taken at age five by her stepfather, while residing with her mother in St James. She was raped repeatedly by him while her mom turned a blind eye, she tells The Gleaner.

And when her father came to rescue her, she thought her life would change. Change yes, of address, did occur. But her sexual nightmare only worsened. Her father would become her next rapist, by the time she became nine years old.

“He operated a shop and while his wife was busy serving customers, he would whisper in our ears to go inside the house. Our stepmother was always in the shop, while he was raping both of us. His wife knew what was happening but couldn’t do anything about it, because of how powerful he was,” Andrea revealed.

In terms of age, the two girls were a month apart and were taken from their respective mothers to live a life of abuse. Andrea said at one point she ran away, and went back to her mother in St James. But her stepfather started abusing her again.

Many nights she says her father would leave his bedroom, and wife in bed, and come into their bedroom and ravage not only their bodies, but their minds.


“It was like being in a prison with no way out. Even the policemen who would come to my father’s business place we couldn’t report the matter to (them). They were getting too much from him,” she admitted.

Andrea said she also told her teacher at the primary school she attended, but nothing came of it.

Eventually, she gave birth to a girl child, at age 17. The offspring was her father’s. In between tears, expressions of sadness, pain and resentment, Andrea told her story to this newspaper, constantly saying, “I need counselling. I told my pastor, but the church has not come to visit me.”

She received counselling once in the last 30 years, but says she was very “ignorant”. She, too, became abusive to men in her life, each time she remembered what her father had done to her.

It would seem as if her father wanted to kill any evidence of his abuse because, “He kicked me in my belly while I was pregnant”, she stated.

The cruelty, she said, was most evident when her father went out and drank, and returned home imbued with alcohol.

As she searched for the love, Andrea ended up with six other children, with six different men. However, she’s found it difficult to love the child she bred with her father.

“I didn’t show her that love and that child hates me and she, too, became an abuser of men. She treated men badly, but she has changed and is now married.”

That daughter, Andrea says, is aware that her father is also her grandfather.

Andrea, who is now a farmer, says she now goes to church, speaks to God, but her life is always unhappy.

“Sometimes these things (abuse) comes up back,” she told The Gleaner.

Over the years she has not been able to hold down a job, and a former employer of hers revealed that she noticed something was wrong, as she witnessed Andrea sitting with her face in her hand, daydreaming, instead of working.

“I couldn’t get her to work. It was as if she was carrying the world on her head. She is badly scarred, and internalises every day,” said the former employer.

It was the former employer who sought help from one of the charities in Montego Bay. That organisation reached out to The Gleaner with the story.


Andrea said that her father has since died from cancer, but he didn’t suffer enough; and her stepfather, she hears, is extremely ill and suffering, so she has left him to time. Her mother, too, has died.

Although those who wronged her have either died or no longer have access to her, Andrea continues to live in hell.

“My aunt is now my abuser, although only verbally. Last week she cursed me publicly about how my father sex me off, how mi a mi father old mattress, and all the disgraceful things that my father did to me.”

Her aunt, a ‘Christian’ woman attached to one of the biggest denominations in the country, is the sister of her abuser.

“Mi life nuh really that nice now, mi nuh really happy. Mi need a life,” she admitted.

Andrea has not been back to church since her aunt disgraced her publicly, and the leaders of the church have not embraced her.

“I have thought of hanging myself many times, but my two younger children keep me alive.”


Clinical psychologist Georgia Rose says Andrea is suffering from complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and has a long journey ahead of her. Additionally, Rose says she needs a clinician who has worked with survivors of severe sexual abuse, in addition to social services intervention.

“Social services to help her to develop skills. Help her probably to even change community, help her to find a supportive network that can help her with the demands of day-to-day life,” she asserts.

According to her, Andrea needs an advocate group, owing to the fact the challenges can seem overwhelming. “There has to be an understanding of complex PTSD, and that early exposure to abuse and the continual abuse by lack of meaningful intervention would have significantly affected this woman. It would have changed the neural wiring.”

Research has shown, Rose says, that when children are exposed to any form of trauma, be it abuse or neglect, early loss of caregiver, malnutrition, those things affect the physical development of the child.

“Now we have got to a place where we appreciate early experiences have strong potential to influence developmental capacities, and later functioning as adults. We now understand that a lot of adult’s mental health issues can be traced back to a trauma in childhood,” she argued.

Rose says this is why it is so important to safeguard the most vulnerable, which are children in the society.

“Teaching our children how to identify predators. Teaching our children how to feel safe to speak out against predators. And then ensuring that we have services that not only have a mandate, but carry out that mandate,” she advised.

“The protection of the child cannot be just the people in the wider community, and the State has a responsibility to protect the island’s children. “And if we give our children the freedom to speak, we don’t shut them up and we don’t enact punitive measures whenever they fall out of line, they may feel safer to tell us when they don’t feel safe.”


*Name withheld to protect victim’s identity