The Chip That Chased Fear

valdeen shears
Posted August 4, 2020 from Trinidad and Tobago

Mines started in the pit of my stomach. Always. started in my mind first then slowly crawled its way down and landed hard and often fast, into my stomach. There it sat and gnawed...and reminded me that I was not in control of my own life. Hadn't been for a very long time.

Each time I read of a new murder or murder/suicide that involves spouses or family members, I wonder first about the victim's level of fear just before their deaths.

It may seem a morbid thought, but it was my reality for the better part of 10 or more years of the 21 years of my marriage.

Protection Orders come with a different kind of fear. The fear that daring to oppose our abusers, whether estranged or not, will trigger a violent or fatal reaction or attack .

You see for victims of domestic violence and abuse, letting go of that fear, means taking back our control. The thing is, my country, Trinidad and Tobago had not found an effective way to allow victims to become survivors until several years ago when a conversation begun regards the implementation of GPS tracking devices (bracelets).

However, that's what it seems to have stayed, just a conversation and many lives have been lost and traumatised since then. Our statistics hasn't shown any sort of tangible decline. In fact, our attorney general, Faris Al Rawi, in April, while in parliament (Cabinet) discussions on the Electronic Device Bill, said the Bill had been there for consideration since during the period 2011-2015.

We are in 2020, which begun with several  domestic violence related deaths.

Presently, my country's full focus, rightly so, is on the pandemic, but last week a special reserve police officer stabbed and slit the throat of his estranged wife. The couple had children.

The headline said he "smiled" while killing her. A follow up story had a relative speaking of the abuser's emotional trauma throughout the relationship, effectively condoning  "victim blaming".

My thoughts had immediately gone to her level of fear when she realised he had murder on his mind.

Is this a sign that I still suffer with PTSD. Maybe.

For me its a reminder that i too was a victim and still live with my ex husband's shadow over our lives.

What people don't understand is that victims don't want to stay victims, but they do not feel that any of my country's existing mechanisms, laws, or polices actually protect them from the reach of their abusers.

I CANNOT stress the need for the passing and full implementation of the Electronic Bill in my country. This Bill has the ability to chase away fear and be the first line of defence for victims. It has the ability to deter repeat offenses and if it includes a Victim App Alert and MANDATORY rehabilitative counseling, as I have been lobbying for, it will save and positively change lives.

It is being used, effectively, in other countries, such as the US.

Sadly, parliament has been dissolved due to upcoming elections (August 10) and with it the passing of that Bill.

In the meantime victims across the nation stay rooted in fear.

Suffering in silence, their stomachs knotted in fear, hiding it well, as I did.

"Girl you certainly hid that well," said one social worker, who happened to be a friend.

She had known me by then for over 10 years.

Another woman, the founder of a domestic violence non governmental organisation, saw my fear once in full bloom.

She had offered me a lift home and my puppet master was at home keeping tabs on me on his phone.

I gladly accepted, but wasn't aware she was going to take a longer route, which meant it would take longer for me to get home.

It was only halfway there and stuck in traffic that i realised what she had done and I knew this was not going to sit well with him.

A long story short, I prayed in mind, while my fear grew every minute I got closer to my home.

His mind processed me getting home outside his timing as me possibly being unfaithful. When he had those kinds of thoughts, it did not auger well for me or my children, who was more exposed to seeing physical violence than it being perpetrated on them.

His violence on them was more of an emotional and psychological one.

I Thank God that  we no longer live in such a direct, toxic environment.

What is extremely disturbing to me right now, is the knowledge that, my country and whatever government that has been in power for possibly the last 10 years, has sat on an effective means of decreasing the statistics of murders stemming from gender based and domestic violence and abuse.

I can only pray now that come August 11, whatever party takes office, enforce the protection that will come with the passing of the Electronic Device Bill and give victims a real chance at not having to continue to suffer in silence, as I and several others did for years.





This story was submitted in response to Technology for Change.

Comments 14

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Busayo Obisakin
Aug 04, 2020
Aug 04, 2020

So sorry for what you going through. Thank you for sharing this personL things with ys. Sending you Love and prayers

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Aug 05, 2020
Aug 05, 2020

Hello, Valdeen,

It’s really ironic how the world is in full force of stopping the spread of coronavirus and yet so slow in implementing laws and regulations around domestic violence. If there are many patients that died because of COVID-19, there are a lot of women who died in the hands of their perpetrators. For some it may not be a real death, but death in their freedom, dreams, and purpose.

We stand with you as you raise your voice about this issue.

It’s disgusting that a special reserver officer murdered his own wife. How can he be trusted to protect law-abiders when he breaks a law himself.

I’m sorry you’ve gone through 10 years of abuse. Yes, that’s more than enough to have PTSD, dear. I hope you find healing.

It helps to keep sharing your stories, even if you have to write them over and over again until healing comes. It’s therapeutic. World Pulse is a safe space. Encouragers are here to listen.

Stay brave, dear. It will be a long fight, but you have this community behind you.

Nini Mappo
Aug 05, 2020
Aug 05, 2020

Dear Valdeen,
Thank you for entrusting us with your journey, with your fears and with your hopes for a T&T, and really, a world where every woman in an intimate relationship has the freedom to be. What you suffered, and still suffer is terrible, and we know that for you this fight is very personal. But it is our fight too, our hope with you.

I will join you in praying for a government that will make the safety of T&T women its priority, and for your complete healing from the abuse you lived through. Well done for standing with women in your country, and for keeping hope alive when the leadership wrings its hands in indecision.

In sisterhood,

valdeen shears
Aug 05, 2020
Aug 05, 2020

Hi Nini,

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. It is much needed amidst my frustration that my country is reactive and not proactive, but will follow certain global leads, but not always the ones that can impact lives and more importantly families and children the most.
I pray for the day they will see that traumatised children leads to traumatised teens and adults, who either repeat a cycle or worsens it.
Thank you again for your solidarity.


Ellen Carpinelli
Aug 05, 2020
Aug 05, 2020

So honored by what you shared. The world sometimes has the weirdest priorities and domestic violence should absolutely be one of them. I’m so sorry it has taken this long. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all who suffer from this fear we stand with you.

Kirthi Jayakumar
Aug 06, 2020
Aug 06, 2020

Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry you faced all of this. I hold you in my thoughts and prayers and send you unconditional love and healing energy.

Tamarack Verrall
Aug 06, 2020
Aug 06, 2020

Hello Valdeen,
As I read your story I am so glad to know you are alive, free and here in World Pulse. Your voice is so powerful, calling out your government for its delay, as we are, everywhere, coming together and questioning why all of our governments have not put a stop to this violence. Your words shine that light on the path, that it is possible to escape, and demand that our governments do bracelets, and that women are working together to free women. What we are up against is governments not wanting things to change. Hopefully the next election will bring you the passing of this law. I hope your voice rings out over your whole country.

Aug 07, 2020
Aug 07, 2020

Prayed for the same just now. Please stay safe and keep us posted after 10 August. God bless!

Aug 08, 2020
Aug 08, 2020

Thank you for sharing.

Thelma obani 2020
Aug 08, 2020
Aug 08, 2020

You are loved always.
Stay strong dear.
Affliction shall not raise the second time

Tambu Muzenda
Aug 08, 2020
Aug 08, 2020

I am sorry this period filled with such hate and violence. Stay safe. Use the voice of word, something has to break! And our voice matter. Be safe.
Much love,

Paulina Nayra
Aug 10, 2020
Aug 10, 2020

Dear Valdeen,
How are you? My heart breaks while reading your story. I felt the pain and anxieties that you had to go through. At the same time, I felt your courage to overcome victimization and become a strong voice for the passage of a law that will help protect women. I wish that the voters of Trinidad and Tobago will be able to elect people who will work on the enactment of the Electronic Device Law. Please write again and keep us updated. I also wish to share with you the initiatives in my country to address domestic violence. Let's keep in touch.

Huggs and take care.

Metiege Noel Eve
Aug 17, 2020
Aug 17, 2020

Thanks for sharing your concerns you will be OK just have faith and trust in GOD.

Aug 30, 2020
Aug 30, 2020

Thank you for sharing this. Keep strong and stay save