Battered mom grieves for her brutalised children
Scarred siblings never want to see dad again By Iana Seales
February 12, 2004
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"When a mother flees a home and leaves her children behind there is no greater feeling of loss. My heart bleeds for my little ones and every blow they took in my absence, I felt it in grief."
Painful, describes the words from Georgina Paul, mother of four young children whose severe beatings at the hands of their father were recently made public.
Speaking with Stabroek News yesterday from her Trinidad residence, the woman said she is only a few weeks away from returning to Guyana and taking her children, a dream she never thought would have come to pass.
Four years ago, Paul fled Guyana in a desperate bid to live, leaving her four children behind. Constant, severe beatings at the hands of her partner were the sole reason for her flight. The beatings were so severe that seizures continue to kick in occasionally.
She recalls days and nights on the run and sleeping on the floor at the homes of compassionate strangers. Hiding became a part of her daily activities and no place was a haven for too long. Changing jobs became routine and she went from teacher to hairdresser to caretaker to a woman tired of running.
Fearful and ashamed of staining the family's good name, Paul returned home and faced the brutality. And it was all for her children. She believed they needed to grow in an environment where both parents were around and the truth remained hidden; the truth that their mother lived in fear of the man they called father.
Even today, Paul is clueless as to the reason behind her husband's cruel acts. She described him as a savage man who grew into a demonic person beyond control; a man who took abuse to a whole new level and committed unheard-of acts.
Having grown in strength in the years away from home, the mother has vowed that her children will never face another ordeal like the present. She also declared that she will stand up in court and finally speak out against the wrongs she endured and the trials her children faced in her absence.
Conceding that her children needed her during those painful months the woman said, "I married a monster. I believed he would have changed. I saw some good in him, but everything was pretence."
Stabroek News visited the children at their grandparents' home yesterday. Disturbing tales of constant beatings tumbled off the lips of seven-year-old Alex, who boldly declared that his father is cruel. Outspoken and full of anger, the young lad said he will take no more.
The child displayed lacerations about the body: fresh, raw wounds on his back and marks on his arms and legs.
For him, jail is too easy a punishment for his father who had imprisoned them for several years in a home of terror. His fervent wish is for the magistrate to lock his father away for life and inflict several beatings with similar effects daily.
He also wants his father to apologise for harming them and unleashing acts of such a cruel nature.
"He has to pay and I hope prison makes him. He beat me so many times I can't even remember them all. What I know is that I didn't deserve it none of us deserved it. I hope he really suffers," the boy said.
Denying his siblings a chance to relate their stories, he spoke at length about how his father hit him with pieces of wood, threw heavy utensils at him, whipped him with electric cords and the generator cord as well. And the only reason he can give for the beatings is him talking too loudly. Once, he said, his father kicked him around the home like a football because he reminded him to buy tennis rolls for breakfast.
As for nine-year-old Whitney, her beatings came for being different; she is often silent. The child said she received most of the beatings despite not angering her father.
Relating one incident, she said that a class project had required getting a plant and she asked a neighbour who had a garden for one. The woman gave her the plant. When her father saw it in the home, this triggered a beating so severe she could not attend school the next day.
A timid Isaiah hesitated before relating his tale. The boy said he was burnt with hot tea when he failed to finish breakfast in time. His father, enraged at his slow actions, tossed the cup in his direction. Burn scars are visible on the boy's chest and right arm. For him, the scars are a painful reminder of his father's cruelty.
But the ten-year-old said he cried for his sister, Whitney, whenever their father hit her because she was always getting hit. He voiced dislike for his father: "I don't want to see him again."
He confessed to being afraid of facing his father in court and telling the magistrate the whole story. The boy said that to look at his father will be scary. Scary, in that his father will give him a look that says 'you know what I can do'.
He believes his father is afraid of no one and will be released from prison too soon. The child said he cannot bear to see his father again and will not speak to him even if someone paid him.
The eldest child, Colin was not at home when Stabroek News visited, so his story is yet to be told, though little Alex jumped at the chance to speak for him.
The grandmother, Lynette Paul said she will care for the children until their mother returns to Guyana. The distressed woman said she too suffered at the hands of the father and is relieved to know that he is now behind bars. She pointed out that when her daughter fled she had left the children with her.
Amid sobs, the woman recalled the day the father grabbed the children from her home. He turned up at the home and unleashed a string of abusive words, stripped naked and hurled bottles at the home breaking several windows in the process.
Unable to take anymore, Lynette Paul handed over the children and begged him to leave. She was banned from seeing the children and was warned not to interfere in their lives.
Every time she visited them at school, the father would somehow get to know and beat them mercilessly. She took a decision to stop visiting.
"I prayed for them daily and asked God to spare them. My daughter ran but where could they have fled to. My heart aches even now," she lamented.
Now that the children are with her and the police are investigating the woman said her prayers have been answered. She wants justice for her grandchildren and peace.
Counselling will be provided for the children by the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security.
A release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said officials from the ministry are keeping a keen eye on the incident and are awaiting the court proceedings before intervening.
The father has been detained and placed before the courts. He is to appear in court tomorrow.