Abuse, molestation, sexual harassment, they haunt.

It was a morning like any other in 2005, except for the fact that on my way to work and as I approached Chacon Street, Port of Spain, absorbed in my own thoughts, a man grabbed my crotch and kept walking. I froze for several seconds, shocked and scared.

There weren’t many people around and the few who were there said nothing, so I believe they saw nothing. Physically weak, I took the nearest taxi in silence.

I couldn’t tell anyone at the office. I couldn’t bring myself to talk about it. I told my husband only when I got home that night. The next day I made a report at the police station. I cried when relating the incident to the police officer and she was understanding and kind, but with no clue as to what the man looked like (he could have been a vagrant for all I knew) the police could do nothing. However, she advised me that if I should ever recognize him at any time, I should alert the nearest police officer.

In retrospect, I think that I should have ran after him and beat the crap out of him with my umbrella. Too late.

Several days after the incident, I broke down in uncontrollable tears. My husband held me hand. Poor guy, he didn’t know what to say but knowing that he was there was enough at the moment.

This is the first time I am telling my story and my eyes are filled with tears. Abuse, molestation, sexual harassment, they haunt.

I walk the streets aware and distrusting. I stare strangers in the eye. A “Good Morning” no longer elicits a reply from me, if it comes from a man. 

Cheryl 

The vagrant

I was walking down the road in Roseau, Dominica … me and some girlfriends. We were chatting and laughing, the way teenage girls do. A vagrant came up to me and touched my breast … just like that. I couldn’t react, I just froze. That breast felt dirty for days after.

Myrrh

Beer on my head

I was a student at UWI. One night a drunk man at the bar on campus came up to me a started trying to talk to me. When he realised I was ignoring him, he began to curse at me and then emptied his beer over my head. 

I felt humilated and helpless. How are young women expected to react to such advances?