|Sex assault survivor speaks out |
MIRANDA LA ROSE Tuesday, April 18 2017
HOPE, healing and peace are possible through non-violent means, even when bad things happen to someone or bad things are happening in the country says sexual assault survivor Kit Evans-Ford.
Speaking at yesterday’s peace rally and concert themed Non-violence begins with Me held at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, Evans-Ford said, “Regardless of what you experience, when you surround yourself with people who love you and care for you” healing and moving forward to extend love and compassion is possible.
Evans-Ford said in 2008, while teaching at a high school as a US Peace Corp volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean, she became a victim and survivor of a violent crime. That experience now helps her to help other people, she said.
Relating her story, she said, an evening after taking a nap and tidying up she heard a knock at the door. On checking, she found the door opened.
“As soon as I closed the door,” she said, “I knew something was wrong.” She walked into the kitchen with her hands up and coming towards her was a man wearing a mask and swinging “a very big knife” in his hands. He told her to take off her clothes.
She thought he wanted money so she changed the subject and he asked where the money was.
Transportation money she had nearby she gave him, but money for other expenses were in her bedroom. She went to the bedroom to get the money, all the while saying “Jesus.” There he again told her to take off her clothes. Seeking a way out, Evans- Ford ran past him, she said, “But he caught me and slammed me down. I struggled with him.
He still had that knife and he was cutting at my hands.” During the struggle, she said, she took the knife, managed to break it and tossed it away. That upset him and he held her down so she could not move.
He then dragged her to the kitchen and got another knife.
She managed to get back on her feet and made a dash for the door but he caught her and slammed her down to the floor again.
“He told me to take off my pants. In that moment, one of the most powerless moments of my life, I had to do it. I had no other choice. There was a knife to my neck.” she said.
Thinking the worse, she told him that if he was going to rape her if he could “please” use a condom.
“Just like we were having a regular conversation, he asked me ‘Were do you have a condom?’” Teaching HIV/AIDS education, she had a bag of condoms in her bathroom. Dragging her to the bathroom, she was again seeking to escape.
Then she heard her neighbours, who heard her screaming, banging on the door. “The man was really upset and grabbed my bloodied body by the waist swinging the knife. Somehow I was able to crawl underneath his grip, get to the door, open it and my neighbours pulled me out of that space.” The man, 21, a serial rapist and drug addict, escaped but was caught later.
Together with two other victims who testified against him, he was tried, found guilty and sentenced to 46 years in prison.
The man had lost his mother at a young age, and not making excuses for what he had done, Evans- Ford said, “It just shows you the reality of how important it is to reach out and be present for young people who may be struggling with addiction, violent tendencies, and other issues.” Her struggles did not end with the man being sent to prison. She was subsequently diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
She is “in a different place now” thanks to counselling and being able to go to people who have helped her to move forward.