Women's Issues In Guyana

Battered woman fears for life while reputed husband remains on the run

Kaieteur News – April 3, 2007

For three years, Natasha Rodney endured all the beatings, the choppings and several attempts to end her life at the hands of her reputed husband.

Her reason, like that of many other women who have had to endure domestic violence, was she was afraid.

But now, having survived an attempt to burn her alive, Rodney has vowed to see her reputed husband go to jail for the three years of horror she spent with him.

Her change of heart came last Thursday when her reputed husband doused her with methylated spirits and set her alight.

Rodney is now a patient of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, and although her recent injury is not life threatening, she believes that if she forgives the man responsible, it could lead to her murder.

She agreed to be interviewed by this newspaper since, according to her, the time has come for women to speak out against the scourge of domestic violence.

Rodney, 32, said that she had no idea that her reputed husband was violent when she met him three years ago, but it did not take her long to find out.

She told this newspaper that, very early in the relationship, her 26-year-old reputed husband began showing violent inclinations, and she has the scars to prove it.

Over the years Rodney’s partner allegedly broke her hand, slit her throat, chopped her several times, attempted to strangle her on about 10 occasions, and even severed a piece of her left thumb.

All of this occurred on different occasions, and still Rodney did not end the relationship.

In fact, whenever she tried to, violence erupted, and she would be at the receiving end.

“I don’t know, every time I tell him I want to end the relationship, he get abusive,” she said.

“He would tell me if he can’t get me, nobody will. He will kill me and then kill himself,” Rodney related.

Living alone with the abusive man did not allow her to get any help during the abusive spells, and she never reported them to the Police, out of fear for her life.

And when she contemplated leaving the country without his knowledge, he managed to find out, and he destroyed her passport.

The latest episode on Thursday was caused by a fit of jealousy on the part of Rodney’s reputed husband.

She reported that she had telephoned him while sitting in a minibus, which caused him to assume that she was at someone’s home.

“He accused me of having an affair. When he came home, we had an argument and he struck me on the forehead with a mirror. Every time we fight, he would always pick up the knife and cutlass, so even if I want to defend myself, I really cannot,” Rodney related.

She said that, after hitting her with the mirror, her reputed husband went into the yard to get some gasoline, which he normally keeps for his motorcycle.

“I could not run away because the house only has one door and he had already secured it,” Rodney recalled.

Not finding it, the man then took some methylated spirits and threw it on Rodney.

Some of the liquid went into the woman’s eyes, temporarily blinding her.

Within seconds, the man had, allegedly, scratched a matchstick and set Rodney alight.

“When he light me, he tried to throw water but I told him no,” the woman stated.

With some help, Rodney was rushed to the hospital, while her reputed husband made good his escape, and has not been seen since. Police have launched a manhunt for him.

Rodney is now prepared to see that her abusive reputed husband is brought to justice, but she fears for her life as long as he remains on the run.

“Right now, I don’t care if he go to jail. I know when I come out (from hospital), I can’t go home because he might come right there and kill me,” she said.

She is appealing to the Police to step up their efforts to apprehend the suspect, since, according to her, another battered woman’s life could be spared.

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