“I’m Listening…”: True Stories of Pyschological Trauma during the Lockdown

WARNING!: When The Checklist. asked me to do this piece, I said sure.  I hadn’t even read the email, but I guess that’s just my nature.  I have to say, having a background of activism specific to parenting and child abuse, reading the email got me angry. 

The story you are about to hear is sadly more common than we care to admit.  If the murder rates in Trinidad gets under your skin, then never visit the Children’s Authority Website, because those statistics would drive any parent stark crazy.

The following is a very real story,  I will say everything in my introduction because there’d be nothing left after you read, a watered down account from a trauma psychologist.  Yes, this is the tame, heavily edited and censored version you are about to read. 

This piece may be a trigger to some, it probably will anger most, but what it shouldn’t do is cause any judgement whatsoever.

Desperation is a hell of a thing.  I’ve often sat through stories of moms who turned a blind eye to their daughters being forced to have sex because they simply didn’t know what other choice they had – how else would they get the money to feed the other siblings? 

Are we truly ready to discuss the real fallout from the covid lockdowns?  How do we begin to heal?  So much emphasis is placed on the economic fall out, but there’s a deeper healing that will need to happen. 

I truly appreciate The Checklist. for creating a space for such a difficult conversation.

– Marsha Walker

The following are cleaned up notes from a Professional Trauma Counsellor’s case book. The names have been changed, but the case is real. Stories like this, sadly, are all too commonplace.

Here is Part One of “I’m Listening”

Counsellor: “Let’s talk about the events that took place 3 months ago at your dad and his wife’s home.”

Client: “I sent my only daughter, 6 year old Jane to stay with her grandparents (dad and stepmom) because to be honest I couldn’t keep up with the 3 boys and their dad at home during lockdown. 

My stepmother offered to take care of Jane , and I had all trust in her as a grandmother. Jane was very excited and happy as she is fond of her grandma .

There was alot of video calls between the two homes and everyone was doing well , slowly adjusting to online school and working from home . I admit the house was very quiet without her but we had our regular outings and visits.

Nearly 4 months later Jane came down with a fever and cough,  so I took her to the Health Center fearing it was Covid-19.  During her examination however she became very agitated and started crying and screaming.

I was asked to accompany the doctor out of the examination room where Jane stayed with a nurse, 10 minutes later two senior doctors entered the room and mumbled instructions to the nurse , then asked me to return to the room . Jane was being prepared for testing and an examination. I spoke to her and kept her calm and helped her undress .

They did all the blood works and nasal swabs as I looked on . The senior female doctor quickly (hastily) informed me they needed an anal and vaginally swab as well . I was a bit surprised but agreed. After almost 4 hours the nurse came over and ushered me into the doctors office. 

Jane had been raped and buggered , internal damage and massive infections was causing her fevers . It took a moment to come to my senses and understand what doc had just said .

I silently cried out as Doc asked if I understood what was happening and if I knew who could of done that or if I suspected anyone. 

I said under my breath shaking with anger .

It was my dad .

The Doctor in disbelief asked if I was sure and asked why would I say such a thing ?

I said yes 
I know it’s him 
I know it’s him 
He did it to me too 
I was eight .

NOTE: The case is now with the police and investigations are ongoing. According to the counsellor, there are hundreds of similar cases in Trinidad and Tobago.