Diamond woman wants out of abusive relationship
If Jesjil Letteen had been given a fighting chance at education when she was younger, chances are, she may have been in a better position to free herself from the dark pit of domestic violence that is her life today.
But now, as the domestic violence discussion rages in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), 33-year-old Letteen is a possible poster child for the issue.
She was allegedly beaten about her body with a cutlass on Tuesday night at Diamond by her boyfriend of seven years. During the alleged attack, she was wounded and had to have a cut at the back of her head stitched up.
But this attack on the mother of two isnât the first and as she spoke to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday in the same area where she was attacked, tears flowed, as Letteen revealed that all she wants is a safe place to live.
Letteen revealed that she stays in her abusive relationship because it allows her a roof over her head and a place to call home. She is calling on the Government to assist her.
From what she offered, it seems as if Letteenâs challenges started over 20 years ago when she could not take up her place at the Girlsâ High School (GHS) after passing the Common Entrance Examination.
She explained that her father resided in the United States and after she passed the common entrance exams with 80 per cent in mathematics, 75 per cent in English Language and 60 per cent in General Paper, and gained entry to the premiere girlsâ school, her aunt reached out to her father for assistance, but he refused to help.
ââ¦He said he nah send girl pickney ah high school, because when you send them ah school them ah come out with belly; so is right dey me drop out of school because my mother wasnât in a position to help with me schooling,â said Letteen.
She said after being denied entry to secondary school, she tried to pursue studies in English, Mathematics and Principles of Business (POB) at evening classes, but money was an issue, so she was unable to write the subjects she signed up for.
Letteen got a break in 2006, when she managed to secure a job working in construction on Canouan. She was doing well, and had even managed to save EC$4,000, but had to quit that job to return to the mainland to take care of her young child. She said the child was not being properly cared for, although she would send more than EC$700 a month to the childâs caretaker.
Without a job and a home, many women in the world are facing, brutality at the hands of a man.
Letteen explained that on Tuesday evening, when her boyfriend came home, he accused her of not having cooked, which she had. Letteen said the argument escalated and while she was sitting with her friend Keisha Richardsâ two-month-old baby in her arms at Keishaâs shop, her boyfriend allegedly drew a cutlass and struck her in her head.
A witness said it appeared as if the attacker was going to chop Letteen, but decided against it because she was holding the baby. After Letteen was hit, police were called to the scene. She said they gave her medical forms to take to the doctor and left.
But after the police left, Letteen said her lover returned and started another fight, pulling her out the shop and allegedly hitting her with a cutlass about her body, at which point she sustained a wound to her head that took three stitches.
Letteenâs attacker also reportedly chopped up a table in the shop and threw some stools outside before leaving.
She alleges that she is beaten on a regular basis by her boyfriend, who she claims once threw a rum bottle at her that shattered and cut her several times on her right hand.
She seems to always be a victim, as she has a large scar on her left hand which she says she sustained during a dispute four years ago when she was chopped by the boyfriend of a woman with whom she had a fight.
Letteen said she has had enough of her abusive relationship and she has already given her statement to the police. She revealed that she fears what her boyfriend will do to her when he is eventually released.
Crying uncontrollably, Letteen offered, âme nah lie…long time me want to express myself to peopleâ¦people go see thing happen and them nah go know wah me does go through. Dem go say me ah this and that and me ah go backâ¦within myself I know that if me have somewhere of my own, I will be a happy person.â
She noted also that her children are doing well, despite her struggles, with one (17 years old) just having passed four subjects at the CSEC exams and the youngest (12 years old) just entering the Georgetown Secondary School.
None of the children live with her, but the money she gained working on the Governmentâs recently concluded road cleaning programme helped send her youngest back to school.
Letteen is hoping that sometime in the near future, she can get assistance to build a house, as she has access to lands in Chapmans, Georgetown, her hometown.
She said in the meantime, she is staying at the home of her friend Keisha.
Incidentally, Keisha is the sister of Monique Clarke, the Biabou woman who was doused with gasoline and set on fire on Sunday, August 13 and died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) on Tuesday, August 22.
Police have detained Andel Mockett in relation to the Letteen incident.(LC)