ABUSED Penal mother of one Gail Harripersad, 44, is calling on victims of domestic violence to speak out before it is too late. “I want to be an example for other women who are going through similar situations, to know that you are not alone,” Harripersad said.
“You don’t deserve this! It is the abuser who needs help, not you. Please speak out and tell someone, even if you have to post your story on Facebook, tell a neighbour or a trusted friend – just speak out.” Harripersad remains in hiding after a year of beatings which, she said, had almost left her blind.
In an interview with Newsday, she said: “I was silent for too long. I would put on shades and try to cover up my face so as not to show the wounds he had inflicted on me. I was afraid to speak out. I was ashamed of the scars left on my face. I was afraid that people would laugh at me if I spoke out.”
She described the year of abuse as torture and hell.
“I felt like I was a prisoner in my home, never knowing when he would beat me.” Last Wednesday Harripersad fled the house after repeated threats to her life. Since then she has been staying with relatives in south west Trinidad. “As mothers we have to set an example to our daughters. My daughter is watching me and I want to show her that it is not okay to stay silent. Women, mothers, we must speak out before it is too late.”
Harripersad said sometimes the justice system fails to protect women. “I was beaten badly three times last year in January, July and the last time in November, and all these times I reported the matter to the police and nothing happened. “The last beating I suffered in November, I knew I had to do something. I had to speak out.”
Harripersad said it still hurts her to know that someone who she trusted and cared about would want to harm and kill her. “The first time he beat me, I questioned myself and I thought maybe it was something I did wrong to provoke him. I had tried to keep my distance from him. Then it happened again and again.”
Photographs of Harripersad’s swollen face continue to circulate on social media. With the help of her daughter Abigail Coldero, she used Facebook to make a public cry for help. The 47-year old man remains at large. Penal CID police are investigating.