Marriage war - Estranged couple each claim they were the victim in failed relationship
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
She says she had to run for her life to break the chain of abuse in her Christian marriage. He says there was no abuse and his ex-wife is only trying to get back at him after he rejected her because of her "inadequacies as a woman and as a wife".
Ordained minister Shirley Brown told her story in The Sunday Gleaner on November 16 last year.
She spoke of a marriage which consisted of terrible beatings, one resulting in a miscarriage and numerous broken ribs, forcing her to eventually secretly depart the marital home and leave behind an abusive, cheating husband.
But her ex-husband, Anthony Marshall, said the story was fabricated and consisted of nothing but lies.
"I wish to be clear from the outset ... the only thing Shirley Brown ever suffered while married to me was a big dose of rejection due to what I considered at the time to have been her inadequacies, both as a woman and as a wife," Marshall told The Sunday Gleaner.
He charged that "vindictiveness" caused his ex-wife to fabricate her story.
"That is where you get a conflict, because that is her truth, but it is not my truth. And that is why I want to reply because I know that all that she said is completely untrue," said Marshall.
Separated within five years
He contradicted basic details such as the number of years they lived together as man and wife, claiming she could not have suffered in silence for 10 years, as they separated within five years and later divorced.
"We were married in May, 1984 and we separated in 1989 and we never got back together. We only lived together for four and a half years. I can prove that we separated in 1989 as that is when I started my relationship with my current partner," said Marshall.
He also dismissed Brown's claim that he was "revered in the church as a strong born-again believer and was eyed to go on to become a pastor".
"I was a Christian before she met me, but when she met me I was not a Christian; in fact, I had backslidden out of the church. I went back into the church after we got married."
But Brown, whose family migrated from Clarendon in Jamaica, was incensed when she heard the man who fathered her three children has denied ever hitting or cheating on her.
"I don't need to lie about abuse; a woman doesn't need to lie about abuse when abuse happens," said Brown. "That is not something that you fabricate and that is not something that you lie about."
However, Marshall said he has been left feeling like the injured party following the publication of The Sunday Gleaner article and the publication of Brown's book, Break the Chain, in which she chronicled her 'experiences'.
"This particular thing that she has done in making allegations against me, I do feel like a victim and that is why I have reacted," said Marshall.
"It is a publicity campaign to get her book sold; that is all it is, and vindictiveness because I rejected her for my current partner," said Marshall, as he made several damning allegations against his ex-wife and vowed to reveal more if she continued with her, "false allegations".
"I didn't start this war, because I consider it a war now," Anthony said. "I told her years ago just to leave me alone and get on with her life. Over the period that we separated she has asked me on numerous occasions to start up back the relationship and I refused. I finally thought that I had got rid of her and all of a sudden she wrote a book."
Trying to save her marriage
But Brown is not daunted, claiming that she was only guilty of trying to save her marriage, before finally deciding to walk away and has never looked back since.
"Yes, as a woman that was hurt, I argued and I carried on badly in the sense of screaming and shouting like a broken woman would," declared Brown.
"When he was staying out all night I use to walk to where the woman lived and knocked on the door ... I am not saying I didn't do that, but I never brought no knife because I am not that kind of person."
The issues between the two parents have been having a seriously negative impact on the children.
"I am the father, she (Shirley) is the mother, and if she doesn't care how this is affecting the children, then why should I?" Anthony asked.
"She bore them, she went through nine months with them, she suffered the pain to bring them into the world, and if she could start making these allegations and as far as I am concerned airing her dirty washing in public, then I will assist her.
"And I don't feel any way about doing that. If she is willing to disrespect me and disrespect her children and disrespect our family by bringing these dirty laundry out in the public, then believe me, I will bring as much dirty laundry out in the public as possible, because I have no reputation to protect."