Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Albinism not a deterrent - Sonia Kennedy-Brown inspiring men, women and children - Pt 1

Published:Saturday | March 4, 2017 | 3:00 AMTamara Bailey
Kennedy-Brown's book, 'Silent Tears', highlights shocking tales of how growing up as an albino felt and how she gradually overcame the pains.

Mandeville, Manchester:

They say everyone has a story, and so many of us are dealing with heavy issues that threaten to throw us into the path of insanity.

But according to Sonia Kennedy-Brown, one who has been abused, ignored, and been to hell and back, can either allow the situation to make them or break them.

"My parents had 10 children I was number seven - the albino. It was very difficult, initially, because there were two other albinos in the community and we knew of the difficulties they had. When I was born, my mom cried because she knew what I could go through. Then my brother was born two years later, and she screamed, because she knew what I had gone through for two years, being looked upon."

Kennedy-Brown said the prayers and love of her family kept her while she was home but once she left, it required it a different kind of strength she wasn't sure she had to cope.

"Dundus! Fire! Raw! ... every name you could possibly think of. You know you are despised socially. (As for) The guys at the shop sitting on the wall, I had to walk very fast if my brothers and sisters weren't there to defend me. It brought tears to my eyes."

After a while, she decided not to speak to her mother about the hurt because she didn't want her to be sad. Instead, she bottled up everything inside, even the sexual abuse.

"The thought is that albinos have heterosexual powers and they are also able to cure diseases like AIDS, so when you rape an albino girl, you will get rid of it. You were looked on as an object. I was sexually abused in my teenage years. By then Mom and Dad were in Canada. The doctor said 'You will heal, don't worry', but the healing is the bleeding and bruises, not the emotional pain that it has left you with."

 

OSTRACISED

 

As one who was socially ostracised, Kennedy-Brown wondered if she would ever date, find love, or share a common friendship.

She knew that as an outcast, those who associated with her would become outcasts as well.

"It was hard to watch my sisters dating. It was a challenge. I became angry at God and I questioned Him for making me this way and allowing people to treat me the way they did. I was depressed."

But how did she overcome the hurt and pain? How did she move to becoming a motivational speaker travelling the globe to help people? How did she become an author brave enough to share her story?

We find out this and much more next week.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com