Paul H. Williams, Gleaner Writer
Noel 'Nutsy' Campbell - Photo by Paul Williams
One Saturday morning, last year, Noel 'Nutsy' Campbell, a dark wiry farmer and vendor from St Mary, got a fine beating from Miss Jasmine, his long-time sweetheart, with a piece of cane.
In full view of his Papine Market customers and other shoppers, the woman dealt him some serious blows. Overwhelmed by embarrassment, he retreated inside the market, where he sat down and cried like a baby.
Nutsy: "Mi tan up and tek lick ... but mi did feel quite shame yuh know, soh mi left go inna de market goh siddung and start to cry ... nuh must man ... She cut mi up dung a yard shortly before that, and push mi dung, and box, box mi up."
With this revelation, it came to light that the caning he got on that fateful Sabbath morn was just one of the many violent episodes in their once topsy-turvy relationship.
She had beaten him several times before that particular incident and even after. At one point, he had to get a bodyguard to protect him. What was even more bizarre was that Miss Jasmine wrote all the bad things she had done to him in Nutsy's own diary. Those jottings would later prove to be very useful to Nutsy.
For the 14 years they were together in a very strange common-law relationship, she moved out on him 13 times. She was away for as long as four years at one stage. Miss Jasmine had left to get married. When that marriage crashed upon jagged rocks, she was back in Nutsy's arms andheart. He took her back willingly. And the drama recommenced. Yet, it was he who had to get her to leave the 14th and final time. But how?
Nutsy, the abused man, took her to court last June.
Fed up with the frequent fighting and beatings, and having to sleep outside in his van, Nutsy decided to seek the assistance of the law. He applied for a protection order and an occupation order in the Port Maria Resident Magistrate's Court.
In parts of a sworn affidavit in support of an ex parte application for the protection order, Nutsy told the court, "She used a machete to beat me all over my body. I ran into my van to get away from her. I managed to get into the van. Nicholas and Noel Jr (his sons) ran me down ... and began beating me in my head. I drive away and left them."
"I was badly beaten by my (common-law) wife and children and I felt a lot of pain in my head."
"She attacked me with a machete that gave me a cut to my right finger on my right hand. I ran out of the house. I went into the van and was reversing. (She) used a stone to hit out the windshield and she also broke my rear view mirror."
"I am afraid of this (woman) and I pray this honourable court may cause her to leave me alone and stop abusing me."
At the hearing, the judge remarked that in all her judicial experience she had never seen a man bring a woman before the court for abuse. She strongly reprimanded Miss Jasmine before making her ruling.
Under Section 7 of the Domestic Violence Act 1995, "The court makes an occupation order or interim occupation order against the respondent (Miss Jasmine). The effect of the order is that the applicant (Nutsy) is entitled to the exclusion of the respondent, personally to occupy the household residence." Miss Jasmine was not allowed to live in Nutsy's home.
Under Section 4 of the said act, "The court makes a protection order or interim protection order forbidding the respondent from entering or remaining in the (applicant's) residence." The order, among other clauses, forbids Miss Jasmine from entering Nutsy's place of work or education, and from molesting the (applicant) by using abusive language to or behaving towards (the applicant) in any manner which is of such nature and degree as to cause annoyance to or result in ill-treatment of the (applicant)". Nutsy is now protected by the court.
Despite the beatings, the embarrassment and the court actions, you would think that Nutsy is a man full of bitterness towards Miss Jasmine. But, he's not. Nutsy: "The whole a it a love, because right now mi love har. But not to deh wid har. Mi still love har. A mi pickney dem mumma man, and she a human. I believe she mad. That deh woman deh nuh righted."
Because of the court action, Nutsy is now estranged from his three sons whom he said he loved dearly. According to him, now they pass him on the streets without speaking to him. This is breaking his heart. Savouring the taste of his favourite drink, Red Label wine, there was a faraway look in his eyes as he said, "Dem nuh deal wid mi. None a dem. A mi pickney dem wheh mi tie on nappy pon dem. Mi carry dem goh school. Mi goh back fi dem ... Mi even tek care a dem better than mi tek care a miself ... every day mi cry. Yes man. Yuh might nuh see it, but a really".
Nevertheless, Nutsy said Jamaican men who are being physically abused by their partners must do the honourable thing and seek legal protection and, if they "can do better, leave the woman, nuh kill har, cause life hard, but it sweet".