Of Murder and Suicides

Abuse - keepitrill.com

Last week Thursday a policeman shot and killed his step-daughter and his in-laws and critically wounded his wife before shooting himself and ending his life. This shocking and horrific act seems to be a trend in Jamaica, specifically, among Men who in their end to their misery want to take their family with them.

I was tempted to write about what kind of mental illness could prompt such occurrences, but this week I want to focus more on an interesting premise to this policeman’s motives for the murder-suicide– Revenge.

But first a little back ground. Here is an excerpt from a letter sent to an online Facebook news page called On the Ground News Report, from the sister of the critically wounded wife,

Detective Corporal Wayne Llewllyn would have liked everyone to believe that he was a victim in this horrific war that he raged on a helpless family in early morning of Thursday, April 7, 2011.   He weaved a steadfast plot of deception on his Facebook page, posting statements like ‘Heart Closed Until Further Notice’, changing his ‘married’ status to ‘complicated relationship’, then to ‘no longer complicated’, etc.  He needed to have everyone believe that he was a troubled husband, who was soooooo in love with his wife that not having her by his side was unbearable to his heart.   Llewellyn skillfully engaged his (possibly innocent) audience in his plot while working up the nerve to carry out his massacre.  The Three Hills Massacre was not the act of a passionate and desperate husband; but the final drama of a manipulative, insincere, murderous philanderer!” – MURDER, SUICIDE and THE TRUTH By Marcia Garrell

The open letter went on to state that, “After nearly 15 years of marriage my sister could no longer take the mental and emotional abuse she suffered on a regular basis from Llewellyn.  She also grew tired of the embarrassment of his behavior and weary of the Baby-Mama-Drama.  Llewellyn has fathered several children outside of his marriage; all of whom were conceived AFTER he vowed to commit to one wife…Not only was Llewellyn a dog toward his wife, but as his late step-daughter matured into adolescence, he demonstrated a kind of possessiveness and control which caused my sister great concern.   He would search her personal belongings and question her every move, more aggressively than a normal concerned parent would.  During one of his searches, upon finding a report she had begun to write, about an egg she had to care for as if it were a baby (a school project) – he flew into a fit of rage, went to the child’s school and promptly blasted her out to the teacher, calling her a whore and accusing her of having sex.  He removed her from school, took her home and questioned her relentlessly about who she was having sex with.  When she insisted she was not sexually active, he beat her, went to her mother’s work place, and carried on so disgracefully, that my sister was too embarrassed to continue working there….He didn’t stop there.  Still not convinced, he took my niece to the doctor where the doctor finally confirmed that she was still a virgin!  During their last argument in the marital home, Llewellyn burned their wedding pictures in the presence of his wife, and threatened to do the same to her.  My sister left him because she had had enough!”

I was moved to comment on this sad, sad conflagration of despair primarily because I witnessed a definitive split in their opinions of Jamaicans about this murder-suicide.

Despite evidence of the ongoing abuse many Jamaican men believed that the woman had it coming to her because of rumors she was unfaithful. Conversations and opinions along the lines of “if she did just keep to herself this wouldn’t happen but she give di man bun* (cheating), so what she expect?” and “it nuh matter what him do her, she shouldn’t give him nuh bun” are common.

Women have also taken an accusatory tone towards the critically injured woman, commenting that ” She must be a fool to stay so long inna dat relationship, she should have left him long time ago, from him threaten her first time”.

The gist of all of the above is this, here was a seemingly possessive philandering abusive husband who justifiably lost his cool and murdered his in-laws on the premise of suspicion of cheating from his soon to be ex-wife ( she had separated from him and left the parish where they used to live. He stalked her to her parents home threatening to kill her).

The inherent message is this – women should tolerate cheating, outside children, verbal and physical abuse as well as molestation of their children with stoicism or face ridicule and blame and maybe even justifiable death. There appears to be no end to the perceived expectation of endurance in a woman.

The attack seems to be the fault of the injured wife and an end to justifiable revenge. How can this be?

For one thing, we live in a culture that believes it is OK to beat a woman to keep her in line. Secondly, many persons do not understand the realities of living in an abusive relationship in Jamaica.

Living in an abusive relationship is exactly and literally like sleeping with the enemy. You are not sure if you are the jailer or inmate as your partner verbally, emotionally and physically abuses you and your formerly well thinking mind into oblivion. You do not know whether you are coming or going and on top of it you are scared out of your wits.

She finally built up the courage to leave him 1 month ago, however, she may have invariably and irrevocably signed her own death warrant in that move. A consequence, I am sure occurred to her more than once in this ordeal.

For those who would say she should have left earlier on, I ask you, where would you hide from a policeman in Jamaica? I agree that those abused should leave however, I ask again, who will protect you in an island network of police? would you report a policeman to the police? these a very rational questions to ask oneself.

There is almost no where safe for a woman hiding from an abusive relationship in Jamaica. We do not have the means nor the clear political will to do anything about it. Secondly, we have children to think about, and all the permutations of this and other demons. The fears of the women in these relationships are real so think twice before you place blame.

Maybe I should ask the question this way: Do you blame the inmates at Auschwitz for not staging a prison break?

I am reminded of the generational stories told of my maternal grandmother who had an armoire (wardrobe) that became a refuge for wives hiding from their abusive husbands. My grandmother was a force to be reckoned with and my grandfather was a willing and boisterous accomplice. Between them they saved and housed several abused women and their children from certain death.

Visualizing my grandfather bucking crazed husbands unconscious while the armoire trembled with fear showed me the value of small victories in otherwise impossible situations. It demonstrated that the bravery of a few unwilling to submit to terror is what is needed to end this madness.

I am deeply saddened by this, and I grieve for the wife who is recovering in hospital. She made a courageous gamble and lost the lives of her family for it. I ask the universe to help her endure and thrive as I whisper a prayer for her family here and for those transformed.

For those who still endure this kind of abuse I can only point you to WOMAN Inc:

Crisis Center Hot Line- 876-929-2997.
7 Denehurst Av (10)
Admin:876-929-9038 | 876-968-5999

WOMAN Inc is a private, charitable, non-profit organisation that has been operating in Jamaica since 1984. The organisation, which has the only domestic violence shelter in Jamaica, also offers counselling services to women who have been raped, are victims of incest, domestic violence and victims of sexual harassment at the workplace.

Other resources include:

  • Bureau of Women’s Affairs- engages in projects such as crisis hotlines, shelters and domestic violence .
  • The Victim Support Unit- part of the Ministry of Justice , Head Office at 47E Old Hope Road-  provides counselling to abused women
  • The Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) , part of the Jamaica Constabulary Force-tasked with investigating sexual offences

Selah.
P.S. for those who are burning to know his disorder, it highly likely he had Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder-the dark side. This disorder is particularly pervasive in the military and police forces. You could almost say its a job requirement ( purposely thrown barb – but I am still angry about this heinous crime).

Paulo Coelho had an interesting discussion on learned helplessness that I thought was particularly poignant :

http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2011/04/12/helplessness/

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Woman-Inc-crisis-shelter_7477371#ixzz1J9MJyLr0

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8 thoughts on “Of Murder and Suicides

    • Indeed, She who feels it knows it. It is time to put a stop to it by calling it out loud and clear. I would love to find this woman just to comfort her or just to sit in silence. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated.

  1. Tammy, this is a very accurate picture of domestic violence in Jamaica (and elsewhere) and the ‘gendered’ relationship that folks have to it. Women, regrettably are re-victimized by society for supposedly failing to leave an abusive spouse, while the abusive spouse, by comparison, is let off the hook. Even in less lethal situations – like cheating, women are expected to put up with philandering spouses/partners. While folks may be sympathetic to them initially, after a while the attitude shifts almost dramatically to – suck it up…

    • Thank you Hilaire for your comment. The problem we face as women worldwide is misogynistic at best, and extremely lopsided, as we say in Jamaica “Jackass seh worl’ nuh level”. Our goal is to change this one person at a time and eventually one generation at a time. I salute her bravery at the same time that I feel incredible pain for her loss. What legislative changes do you think could be made my friend?

  2. You know Tammy, I’m not sure that we need legislative changes, so much as change in our culture (and systems) of accountability. We have, for example, a Domestic Violence Act, which though not perfect, provides some measure of protection for victims of domestic violence. However, those who who are sworn to uphold the law often ignore it or circumvent it, with impunity. I won’t forget having to virtually drape up a police officer to take action to protect a female friend of mine who was under threat from an ex-boyfriend. For the policeman, a ‘man an’ ‘oman’ business dat. On the other hand, I can sympathize with some police officers, who after initiating a prosecution are abandoned by the complainants, who don’t want to see Johnny Batter-me-black-and-blue go to jail. Tammy, not sure I have any answers…what I would say though, is that for women who’ve had no joy with our justice system, despite trying, that they may consider engaging the international system of human rights – like the IACHR.

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