Mom of four fed up with poverty and prostitution
For 25-year-old Mary*, life has been something of a nightmare. A mother of four children -- ages six, three, and six-month-old twins -- she told THE STAR from as early as age 11 she has been encouraged, and sometimes forced, to use her body to provide her basic needs.
"One time me mother make me sleep with this guy, and me did affi carry the money come gi har," Mary said.
"Mi mother usually do the same thing fi send me a school, and mi just nuh want the same thing happen to me children," she said, during a telephone interview on Sunday. "Mi mother never send me a school, so me never have nuh money, mi affi a sleep with mi teacher dem when me a guh a school, all the coach dem," she said.
"Mi usually do track and field, and sake of mi mother nuh take care of me, the coach dem usually take advantage of me. Dem used to bring me a dem yard, have sex with me and bring me back," Mary said.
THE STAR has been unable to independently verify Mary's claim that she was sexually exploited by her teacher and coaches. Under the Child Care and Protection Act, it is a criminal offence to have sexual relations with persons under the age of 16 years old. She didnt report it because she needed the help.
Mary said the instances of abuse began while she was in third form, and it became overbearing to the point that she stopped attending the school. A relative who discovered that she had dropped out, managed to secure a space in another high school. However, when the relative, who was supporting her financially, lost her job, Mary decided to have sex with men for money.
She said that she secured three Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) passes by the time she left high school, but she also joined the ranks of the teenage mothers, giving birth to her first child at age 19. Mary said that her child's father was in her life for a while. At one point, she depended on a foreigner with whom she started a long-distance relationship for money. She said the funds and telephone calls dried up after he came to Jamaica, took her to bed, and then returned home. Since then, she has been moving from place to place, relying on the charity of the men she sleeps with.
"A suh me start having babies to babies to babies. Sometime when me sleep with the man dem mi body just start feel ignorant. Mi not even want them touch me, but a just chu ....," she trailed off.
Now with four children, Mary says she just wants some help to escape her life of poverty and promiscuity. She believes she would be better off in life if her mother was present.
Casting off her dreams of being a nurse, Mary says she just needs a chance to make a living.
"Mi coulda be like a maid or take care of old people or anything like that," she said.
She continued, "Please, I'm asking for some help on behalf of me and my children, because I've been through some rough time in life. Sometime I feel like committing suicide, but God has hold me so strong. Please, I'm begging anybody out there who can help me, so I can be a better person in life. I want to be better than my mother, and my children to be better than me."
* Name changed to protect identity.*Persons wishing to help Mary can contact THE STAR via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or WhatsApp at (876) 550-2506.