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Scars of Seychelles

By M T Straker

How one girl escaped from childhood abuse in paradise to find love and an education.

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My baby brother was killed as a result of my parents’ domestic violence, I was five years old. It was the start of a prolonged period of mental and physical cruelty. At age six and looking forward to starting school, I was faced with an ugly ordeal. I struggled to read, write or speak English, and when I was belittled in front of my peers on my first day at school I was heartbroken. I attended a Roman Catholic school run by two nuns, who took delight in humiliating me. The nuns asked me to recite a sentence in English, and when I couldn’t I was beaten, and had to walk around with a piece of wood hung around my neck by a chain, bearing the words, ‘Creole speaker’.

Through sheer determination I thrived in English classes, and at the age of eight the nuns chose me to present the Queen with a bouquet on her visit to my school. I was invited to tea on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, when I sat next to the Queen.

Sadly, my fortunes took a turn for the worse. At age nine my parents took me out of school to become their full-time slave, caring for a handicapped sister and my younger siblings. The cruelty I suffered at home was terrifying to the point that I attempted suicide; and when that failed I ran away, seeking shelter at a convent.

At nineteen, I left Seychelles to become an au pair in Jordan. Through my travels, I found love, marriage, family, ways to heal, and finally realised my dream of completing my education.


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