Young mother pleas for help
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
Just one look at the scabies-covered bodies of Shanice Nelson and her 13-month-old son, Daniel, tells the compelling and heart-wrenching story of poverty and abuse the young mother has endured in her 20 years of existence on Earth.
Nelson, who grew up in Old Harbour along with her siblings, described her upbringings as a daily routine of physical, verbal and later sexual abuse. By her ninth birthday, she ran away from home to find her father in May Pen.
However, when she eventually found him, instead of the expected refuge, he ordered her back to Old Harbour. But at the thought of subjecting herself to further abuse, the then nine-year-old took to the streets begging by day and sleeping in the May Pen Market at nights.
"Them beat me for every little thing. If I don't stay with the baby, them beat me. If I didn't wash the dishes, them beat me, and if I wasn't being beaten, I would get cussing," the diminutive 20-year-old single mother told The Gleaner.
"Two things come to my mind ... kill myself or run away. I ran away to May Pen to find my father, but him tell me say he can't keep me. So the street and the market became my home," Nelson added.
An elderly woman, who used to shop at the market, offered to share her home with Nelson, who jumped at the opportunity. She lived a normal life by attending school and church. However, this normal life was shattered by four men who abducted her while coming home from evening classes, pulled her into bushes and took turns raping her. The end result of the sexual ordeal saw two of the four men sent to prison. Her caregiver moved away; she ended up on the streets again, this time with a baby.
BEST TIME OF MY LIFE
"Just when I thought my life had turned around, this had to happen to me. Living with the lady was the best time of my life; going to school and just be happy, but the rape ...," she said in a broken, sad voice.
However, while she is again on the streets, begging to feed herself and little Daniel, Nelson is nonetheless hopeful that another Good Samaritan will come to her assistance to resurrect her broken life.
"I would like some help for me and Daniel. Maybe something to sell so that I don't have to be begging on the street every day or somewhere to live," she said hopefully.