Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Dramatic excerpts from Sukree Boodram’s life

(Originally published in Guyana’s Kaieteur News on 08 June 2011)

Tomorrow evening at the Pegasus is the World Premiere of Sukree Boodram’s documentary, “Break Out,” which is about her brave and silent struggle to survive domestic abuse and alcoholism amidst strict cultural and religious traditions.

After that, the Break the Silence, Stop the Violence Team will be hosting screenings of the documentary at four other locations throughout the country in the next ten days, and encouraging open dialogue with the attendees. All events are free and everyone is welcome.

As such, I have decided to dedicate this column to excerpts from Sukree’s book by the same name, “Break Out.” The reason for this is two-fold; 1) I want to entice readers to come see the documentary, and 2) I feel Sukree’s experience with domestic violence mirrors that of most victims, and it is my hope that her words can help others who read them.

Sukree grew up in Black Bush Polder in a loving family. From her book’s chapter entitled, “Dreams of All Young Girls,” she said, “Being born last, I felt very sheltered growing up…Nevertheless, I was confident I was not going to end my education with secondary school.”

“At the same time, I wanted to ensure I maintained my traditional values of being a kind, loving, and caring individual. In addition, my cultural expectations of being an obedient daughter and loyal wife were not going to change. I had to preserve these values at all cost.”

Sukree met her future husband in the same area in which she grew up. In the chapter entitled, “The One,” she said, “He came up to me bravely and said, ‘Robbie here,’ as he extended his hand to me. I said to myself, ‘How nice of him, not to mention, how cute.’ I stared into those dark brown eyes and fell in love. I said to myself, ‘This is the one.’ I knew it and I was sure of it. I was only fifteen, but who cares. It was love at first sight.”

Sukree left for the U.S. to continue her college education. After a few years, Robbie joined her and she began planning the wedding while he spent his time drinking with friends. After they married, the drinking continued.

In the chapter entitled, “The Lost Years,” Sukree said, “One night soon after we married, Robbie came home late and drunk, long after I had gone to bed. This was starting to become a routine. I got up and asked him where he was. Out of nowhere, he slapped me with such force on the right side of my head that I flew across the bed.”

“My head went backward, and I hit the iron heater on the other side of the bed against the window…There was blood everywhere. I turned around, and the sheer white window draperies were splattered with a streak of blood. My pink nightgown was drenched with blood.

I’m not sure if you have ever smelled the scent of fresh blood, but it is not a good smell. It is the scent of fear, in my opinion. I was experiencing fear for the first time in my life. I was afraid to utter another word in fear of the consequence.”

In that same chapter, Sukree tells her husband, “Don’t you ever touch me again, as long as you live. Do not ever touch me again. I won’t tell anyone this time, but if it ever happens again, I will ensure this marriage is completely over. Do not make me repeat myself.”

The physical abuse stopped for Sukree after that, but she soon discovered that abusers have many ways to cause harm to their victims. In the chapter entitled, “Nothing Beats Higher Education,” she talks about some of her experiences a few years into the marriage.

She said, “Robbie started to demonstrate more serious anger outbursts. He would get home late and order me to get his dinner, even though it was cooked and on the stove. I started to say no a lot.
This did not sit well at all. He would repeatedly slam his plate full of food on the floor or the wall or the sink when he was drunk and upset. More than once I called the police, and they came out to the house. Robbie told the cops he’d made a mistake and then asked for forgiveness.”

After more agonizing years of abuse, Sukree had come to the end of her rope and wanted a way to escape the torture. In the chapter, “The Longest Ending,” she said, “How long would I run from my pain? I’d learned the hard way that running did nothing. It only buried the pain deeper and deeper and delayed the inevitable. It did nothing to the pain except grow it and nurture it. The pain went with me everywhere I went.”

I could go on with more excerpts from “Break Out,” because I was truly touched by Sukree’s story. Instead, I will stop with the hope that these passages have given the reader a reason to come view the documentary at one of the events we have planned in the next ten days.

Here are the dates, times and locations of the events:
June 9 at the Pegasus in the Savannah Suite, World Premiere of the “Break Out” Documentary, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
June 10 at the Life Springs Cathedral, 1 Chateau Margot, ECD, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
June 12 at I.M.R.A.R.C., Sahwah, Cane Grove, ECD, 5:00 -8:30 p.m.
June 17 at World Harvest Mission, 34 Gay Park, New Amsterdam, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
June 19 at Grace World Harvest Mission, 67 Sera Lodge, Stewartville, WCD, 11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.

For more information on these events, please contact:
Email:; Kids First Fund @ 623-8505 or 226-5926, I.M.R.A.R.C @ 257-9012, Facebook page: Stop the Violence Against Women In Guyana

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