Monday 12th June, 2006


Tricia lives to share her story

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Domestic violence victim turned author Tricia St John, showing the effects of her encounter with domestic violence, has written a book titled Before Me, After Me, Now Me.

By ALeah Mathura-Dookhoo

Tricia St John is a survivor. After being left for dead following a chopping attack by her common-law husband, St John has lived to tell the story.

Four years prior to the attack, St John left her lover.

In April 2004, he confronted her outside her sister’s home in Princes Town, where she was vacationing.

It was only when running to safety in a neighbour’s yard that St John noticed her arm was spewing blood. Part of it had been severed and tossed on the side of the road as her attacker fled.

“I didn’t actually know what had happened to me,” St John said.

“I was standing talking to someone on my cellphone when I felt this burning sensation.

“When I turned around it was him, with a cutlass in his hand. All I could do was run.”

A stump now filled the space where her left arm once was.

The tumultuous years of abuse have made the 30-year-old St John stronger, it seemed.

She tells the sordid details of her life’s journey to conquer domestic violence in the book Before Me, After Me, Now Me.

It was during her one-month stay at San Fernando General Hospital that St John decided to write the book.

Compiling her years of abuse was necessary, she said. Some women never get to tell their side of the story, she said, because they are tortured and killed before they get a chance.

“It’s an ugly situation to be in, and worse things happen to people. I have lived to tell my side of it, but many pass on and no one knows what they have been through,” she said.

St John recalled how scary it was when she saw herself in the mirror for the first time after the incident.

She wrote about it in the book.

“I spent a lot of time avoiding looking in the mirror. I went a morning to brush my teeth, looked up by accident and saw myself staring back at me. It was a wonder anyone was able to recognise me. I could hardly recognise myself!”

“I held my hands up in amazement. First one, then the other. Looking at the left one for the first time.

“Was this really me? I resemble one of those war victims seen on TV. This wasn’t me, was it? Where did I go?”

St John said Before Me, After Me, Now Me was also written in memory of those who have lost their lives to domestic violence and those who need support in getting out of abusive relationships.

For her, getting out of her bad relationship was difficult.

She admitted it was for the sake of her children that she chose to endure the abuse.

“My father left when I was very young and I believed my sons would be better off with both parents.”

On a daily basis, before and after school, St John’s children often witnessed the abuse of their mother.

One day St John couldn’t take it anymore.

She packed some clothes in cardboard boxes and moved to a shelter for battered women.

St John later discovered that she was pregnant. And even though she was in a shelter, she was determined to make it as a single mother.

In her book, St John also recounted the challenges she faced of being a single parent.

On April 26, St John launched Before Me, After Me, Now Me, at the Princes Town Public Library in the company of family and friends.

The book is available at all Ishmael Khan and Sons, RIK and Metropolitan Bookstores, and Nigel R Khan Bookseller’s Gulf City branch.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

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