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Stalked at My Gate

I said I wouldn’t share any more doom and gloom stories on my blog, but the past few years and in particular days have been a heavy ordeal for women. Since I have a blog, as a Mother, Daughter, Sister and Wife, it is my responsibility to use it t share this too. The catalyst for anger has been the rape and murder of a young woman, Khanice Jackson on her way to work. On Friday, was hurt and angry, much like I am every time I hear a sort similar in nature. About an hour before reading the news that they had found her, I had been driving, praying for her. Bargaining with God, that someway somehow, this wouldn’t be the outcome. I prayed she wouldn’t be another Jasmin Dean. But she was. And then I got angry.

I got angry because this isn’t a one-off situation. It happens every, single day. It is a lifestyle, and behaviours that foster them are accepted.

I started posts on Twitter and felt my spirit darkening, my body overheating. My thoughts weren’t politically correct. They were dark. They were inspired and saturated by rage. So for a few hours, I got off of social media to collect my thoughts. I video chatted with my sisters and mother, reiterating ways to stay on guard and alert. Just recently my sister gave me a call to say she thought she was being followed. But through vigilance and deciding to take the man’s picture, he relented.

I wrote a blog post pouring my rage and everything I felt into it. When I was done I felt better, but I also felt disgusted and knew that was something of me I would never want to share. I deleted it afterwards. As the anger passed, the hurt, fear and feeling of victimization set in. this part, I carry with me every day as a woman living in Jamaica. It is why I will not watch the news. I see myself and my family members in the people featured all too often.

For the rest of the day, I went about picking up my family and focused on lighter things to improve my mood, including loving on and watching a movie with my child.

The conversation is picking up, plans are being made to do more than makes post appealing to the goodwill of sexual predators to simply ‘stop’. That is what I want to be a part of. The action. The doing.

As a nation, we say things like someone must have seen something. Perhaps. Perhaps not. To share perspective, I will share another experience I have that fuels my daily fear. It is entirely possibly no-one saw her. This is (another one of) my story.

The Story

Several years ago, before we had a child, my husband and I lived together and worked within walking distance of each other. I had a work schedule that changed weekly, and on this particular day, my husband had left for his eight am shift. I would begin work at about ten or eleven that morning, so I didn’t go with him. I resolved to take the bus when I was ready. We lived near Barbican. Having been robbed before in Hope Pastures a year or two prior, to say I was hyper-vigilant on the road was an understatement. The house and yard were on something of a hill. The gate to the yard at the end of it.

From outside the yard, it appeared to be a very high wall towering a least two stories high or so, but from inside the yard, the wall was only about a foot high. As I walked toward the gate from the sloping driveway, I noticed a man walking along on the opposite side of the road. I also noticed, that when he saw me, his steps faltered, though he did not stop and continued to walk out of my view. The walkout would have been about a minute or two to cover the distance.

But, being me and having had my experience, I stalled and diverted my direction to the wall from inside the yard. In all honestly, I quietly approached the wall to reassure myself that the man was simply going about his business and expected to see the man continuing down the street. But, he wasn’t there on the opposite side of the road that he had been when he passed, and he wasn’t on the other side going down either. Where was he?

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I stood up on the wall in order to get a better view of the other side. The man, the one who had been steadily walking by on the opposite side of the street now stood pressed up to the wall near the gate, in wait, for me. You see, had I continued on out, He would have been able to surprise me and I would not have had much of a reaction time.

I stood there for about five minutes, quietly watching as he scanned the silent morning street, with the occasional car passing by only every few minutes. Looking up and street up and down, occasionally stealing a look around the wall to the gate. This man was in fact, looking for me. I stayed there as long as I did, to truly consider how long he would wait.

After five minutes, I decided, the chances of him looking up was getting higher. So I quietly walked back into the house, locked myself in and called in sick to work. I do not know what this man wanted from me, but I know what he did to get it. Every single time we speak of and wonder what happened to our women and girls, I think of this.

We Need More Than Posts

The men are animals, opportunistic animals, and they will make the simplest circumstance ripe. We want to know how our women and children go missing without a trace? This is how. Prowl the streets looking for perfect victims. And why not? What do they have to fear? When caught, what is their punishment? Nothing.

Who is defending them, caring for them? Friends and family who know who they are, know their patterns of behaviour, staying silent.

As a Jamaican woman born and raised, I am afraid. I do not want to go anywhere without my husband. It is not fun for me. I enter my car a certain way with my child. I lock the doors as soon as I get in. I checked my mirrors a dozen times looking for anything unusual. I’m hyper-aware walking, approaching my gate, unlocking my door, being inside my house. I make decisions based on who could be watching my home. This is no life. This is no way to live.

We need to create an environment that is equally as uncomfortable, unsafe, hostile and dangerous for predators as it is for them. Until then, all the posts and the marches in the world, will not be enough. Until men, and their supporters are held accountable. Individually, by each and every one of us, and a justice system that makes predatory behaviour unattractive, this is nine days talk, and no better will come.

XO, Shandean

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Shandean Reid

Millennial Family Woman, Lifestyle Entrepreneur and Multidisciplinary Writer.

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2 COMMENTS

  • Nella

    This post definitely reach me. I think most if not all women have some kind of story about feeling unsafe and uncomfortable in Jamaica. It is too much and it’s time things changed.

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