‘He choked me until I passed out’

When trapped in an abusive relationship, who can a woman really turn to?

I recently witnessed a young woman getting punched in the face by her ex boyfriend. She brushed off the hard blow, something that would probably have a lot of girls down on floor wincing in pain as if she’d just been kissed on the cheek. I sat there not quite knowing what to do, with two alleged police officers looking on, barely restraining the man who’d thrown the punch.
They claimed to be police officers and the man who’d thrown the punch was a criminal, complete with shackles bounding his feet. But why wasn’t he handcuffed, and why was he in the house of his ex girlfriend, a young woman who has made countless reports against the man who has abused her on several occasions before?
Lost? Don’t be. On the account of the officers who paid a visit to Solange Collier’s* home on Tuesday, August 16, they were there to conduct a search of a bag left behind by her ex boyfriend some months ago when he was arrested and sent to jail. They said their search was in connection with a robbery, and even though Solange informed them that the same bag had already been searched by another set of officers about a week before who’d also claimed they were investigating the case, they insisted upon searching it again.
To her surprise the officers opened the doors of their vehicle and out came her ex boyfriend who officers allowed into the house to search the bag himself. Solange revealed that the first set of officers had left with a necklace and engagement ring her ex boyfriend had given her and said she’d given it up without challenging them because she felt they were just doing their job. Sometime after the first set of officers came, her ex called from a cell phone from prison to ask about another ring, an SMC ring to be precise. When he came to her home, the ring appeared to be one of the items he and the police were searching for.
“When the first set of officers took the jewelry I told them no problem, they could keep it, I don’t need it,” Solange told the STAR. “I don’t want to be part of it at all. I loved my ring; he gave it to me for my birthday. Once it’s in the law you can just keep it. I would have given them the SMC ring if I had it because I want no problems with the law.”
Things went downhill from there. Although the officers said they’d come to search the bag, they allowed the incarcerated man to walk about the small apartment freely, throwing words at his ex girlfriend because she had moved on and she had someone else sleeping over, examining the stove he’d bought her and even arguing with her. At that point, the only comment from the officers was “that’s not the time for that.”
Solange, a mother of two and a nail technician, turned her attention back to her client but somehow her ex managed to get close enough to her to plant a solid punch to her ear in her home with two police officers present. The officers paid no attention to her and didn’t even notice when she picked up a pair of scissors to defend herself. Being the closest person to her I managed to hold her back before she had time to retaliate and even calm her down.
From the moment the man in question hit the young woman he should have been taken out of the house, handcuffed even but that was not done. Before he left he convinced officers that he had just one more thing to say to her, and it was clear he was just trying to get close enough to hit her again. With both officers standing not more than two feet away from him, this time all he managed was to make a deadly threat to her. He was in jail for a “minor charge,” and would soon be out. He left, kicking an ashtray out the door, his threatening words still hanging in the air.
“He told me when he comes out he coming for me, and he coming for all of us and that is a threat. He is a criminal and if he could do it once he could do it again. He has no limit. When he’s ready he doesn’t care if it’s an old man, woman or child. He threatened me in front of the police and they did not even ask him to keep quiet. They were asking me to finish with that. For police of such high ranks, what if he picked up something and stabbed me, sent chemicals from my table into my eyes, all because you brought a criminal to my home, and I can’t do anything about it.”
“He came without handcuffs, a violent man like that, why?” the young woman questioned. “He’s escaped jail already. Once when they took him upstairs Liat for court he escaped with handcuffs behind his back how you don’t expect him to escape now? He found me the time he escaped and beat the crap out of me in 2009. We were not even together then. I broke up with him and every time he comes out of jail he keeps pestering my life. For him, when he goes to jail and comes out I’m the only person, I’m supposed to be his main woman and he can do whatever he wants. That’s not the way I want to live my life. Every time he goes to jail he calls my phone saying he’s going to kill me, he’s going to do me this or that, he’s going to hang me, if I’m with anyone else he’s going to kill the guy. He threatens my boyfriend, calls up his mother and his sister. I have no idea how he finds their numbers to call them, he’s just a menace to society.”
“For him I can’t fight him,” she continued. “He’s threatened my family already, I cannot fight him. Once someone gave me a ride to the hospital. I was naked on the road with my panty and bra and my son because I’d escaped from a guesthouse in River Stone. He had me in the house, I could not go anywhere and I was there with my son. I never let my son go anywhere, to me he’s my saviour. What that man would have done to me a long time, I’ve figured he has second thoughts because of my son.”
When I returned to Solange’s house later on Tuesday afternoon she looked completely out of it and was holding cotton in place in her left ear where she’d been punched. The young woman explained that her uncle and boyfriend had taken her
to the hospital that morning after blood started dripping out of her ear down her face. She was now on heavy medication.”
“I have to go back for an X-ray,” she said. “They told me to bring the medical report to the station and tell the officers the doctor’s name so they could make contact. I went to make a police report with the cotton in my ear and the officers didn’t understand how I could get assaulted in front of two officers in my home by a man who is supposed to be incarcerated. The officer was looking at me strange maybe wondering if I was lying. I was just as confused as he was. He asked if the officers were present when I was hit and I told him yes, the man had no handcuffs. He asked me If I was sure about three or four times, then he asked what the officers did when that happened. I told him they did nothing. He told me the officers should have taken a report from me right away.”
“Once a criminal, always a criminal and he will never change,” Solange said finally. “That guy has choked me until I passed out, I know about him. He’s a violent guy. Family court knows about him and they advised me that when he comes out I should be in the shelter and the police just come and bring him into my home. That’s dangerous to me! If my children were there I would have felt more threatened. I want everyone to know, if you have a problem, speak out and let everyone know. Everything that is small must grow. I really want people to hear me.””

*The names in this story have been changed. The picture is also of a model. More on this story in Saturday’s STAR.

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