(Jamaica Gleaner) – Twenty-four-year-old Shamarie Williams does not know if she will be able to foster an intimate relationship with a man again.
Not after Mark Riley, the father of her six-year-old son, attacked her with a machete while she slept before setting their Pleasant Valley home in Clarendon ablaze last year.
The incident has left her disfigured and has shattered her self-confidence. Gone, too, are her interest in men and their interest in her after the ill-fated night of June 30 last year.
For now, her focus is on securing meaningful employment so she can gather the pieces of her broken life – and even that has proven difficult as employers are turned off by her scars.
Caught in a fit of rage, Riley, who had been Williams’ lover for six years, stormed into the house they shared and chopped her repeatedly in the head, neck, arms and pubic area.
The heinous act reportedly occurred after Riley’s friends from the community jeered him openly, saying Williams was too pretty for him and that their son was not his biological child.
Believing his blood-soaked partner was dead, Riley then locked himself, with her, inside the house he had built and started the fire. Luckily, their son was with his grandmother and escaped the doomed home that night, Williams explained.
Riley died in the blaze, but Williams miraculously awoke in critical condition at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) a day later. To this day she claims she has no memory of how she managed to find help.
“I came home from work and went to sleep and the only thing I know is that I wake up at KPH the other day,” Williams told The Sunday Gleaner on Friday.
“It is when my neighbour came to visit me at the hospital that she told me that I was the one who came to her door knocking and asking for help,” said Williams. “She saw the state that I was in and brought me to the hospital.
“I can’t remember none of it. I just know I woke up on life-support machine with my head bandaged up and tubes in my throat and in my mouth,” she said, adding that doctors performed six surgeries in a month so she could be able to eat and breathe.
HAUNTING FACIAL SCARS
Seven months after the incident, she now hauls around haunting facial scars that are growing more menacing as the keloid tissues stretch across her jaws.
She wears a metal brace inside her head which holds her jaws in place so she can speak. But they cause pain whenever the weather gets cold, Williams said, hoping she will one day save enough to try plastic surgery. For now, however, she looks at herself in the mirror less.
“We have had for too long a permissive society that allows a man to trespass upon the person of a woman without any form of rebuke, without the society saying it is wrong,” said Holness as he addressed supporters at a Jamaica Labour Party Council Meeting at the Portmore HEART Academy last Sunday.