Every time a woman loses her life at the hands of an abuser, there are calls from all corners of the country to encourage other victims to walk away.
But, one survivor wants to know whether or not there are systems in place to help victims when they take that brave step.
Cassandra Baptiste has been knocking on the door of several State agencies for assistance since leaving an abusive relationship almost six years ago.
“Everybody does say to leave, to be a brother’s keeper and for we to be our sister’s keepers but where are they? Where are my sisters to say let me help you?” Baptiste lamented.
Baptiste was sexually assaulted at the age of 14 and then again several years later. She thought she could have found comfort and peace in the arms of her boyfriend, however, but she said he did not keep his promise to love and protect her. Instead, Baptiste said she was forced to relive her nightmare.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Baptiste told Guardian Media survival has become a serious struggle. Even though she works three jobs under the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP), a cosmetologist and selling produce, Baptiste said she is unable to afford a place for her and her two daughters.
“I miss my kids a lot and I just want to be with them and hold them”, Baptiste told us.
Baptiste’s two daughters stay with her sister and she visits them on weekends.
“I pray for them all the time. I pray for the family who stepped in and say ‘hear what, instead of you having them from place to place see what you can do and we will work with you until you get through”, Baptiste added.
Baptiste said she is trying her best despite the circumstances to support her girls.
“They have been exposed and it have no way of taking it back but I am trying to fix it. I am trying my best to let them know that mummy is there”, she said.
In 2019, Baptiste said she was promised emergency housing under the Housing Development Corporation.
“My eldest daughter, her birthday was March 1 and we went into HDC for an interview and because on her birthday we get that promise she was fine”, Baptiste stated. To this day, Baptiste said that promise remains unfulfilled but she remains hopeful.
Baptiste said she is determined to turn her survival story into a true success story, one that she hopes will inspire other women to walk away.