A Brooklyn teacher has described the terrifying moment a man armed with a machete attempted to rape her while she was on vacation in Jamaica.
In an article on XOJane, Brooklynite Veronica Cassidy spoke about the frightening ordeal.
She depicts an idyllic dream vacation, her "first-ever trip with a significant other." She was looking forward to spending her days eating rice and peas and basking in the Caribbean sun.
Staying in a villa outside of Kingston, Cassidy describes how the scene was not as idyllic as she had initially hoped. She describes the villa as having "bugs, a layer of grime and an unsettling vibe." The couple wondered whether they should find a different place to stay, but the non-refundable deposit prompted them to sleep on it.
Sleep didn't come easily, according to Cassidy, who says she woke up after a couple of hours, still able to hear loud music blaring from the beach below. Naked, she stumbled her way tiredly into the bathroom.
It was then that she first saw the man with the machete. He had come by earlier "on the pretense of selling fruit," and presumably "gone back to his home next door, armed himself, and waited in the bushes outside."
Inside the villa, the man, named Yuan, assaulted Cassidy by striking her on the left side with his machete and grabbing her right breast simultaneously. She managed to defend herself, stopping the man from striking her in the neck or chest where he was aiming.
Her screams and the attacker's screams woke her boyfriend, who grabbed a kitchen knife and approached the man, who "turned and ran out the back door." With the attacker gone, the couple locked themselves in the blood-covered bathroom and called for help.
Help eventually came, and the couple were saved from a worse fate, but the nightmare wasn't yet over for Cassidy. Following the event, Cassidy developed severe tendinitis in both wrists and suffered "a full four-months of the worst cramps [she'd] ever experienced," potentially because of an IUD put in just a week before the assault, the side effects of which may have been compounded by the PTSD.
Cassidy's PTSD grew worse in the subsequent months, and she relates that "by the end of the summer [she] was suicidal." She contemplated buying a gun or throwing herself off a bridge, and "spent one long night eating through a bottle of painkillers."
After this, she realized she needed help and checked herself in to a psychiatric hospital to begin "the difficult work of healing." Part of that healing is her pride for having fought back against her attacker, refusing to simply be another victim. She says that she still gets angry about the fact that "almost everyone who heard the story commended [her] boyfriend for saving [her]."
Concluding her article, Cassidy has this empowering soundbyte for women everywhere: "I refuse to lose my story to the power of a social narrative that says women are always victims... I am a victim, yes, but I am also my own hero."