Carte Blanche : Jamie's story

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Carte Blanche : Jamie's story

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2008-03-07 08:15

Jamie's story


Date:17-02-2008
Producer: Diana Lucas
Presenter:Derek Watts
Researcher: Quereshini Naidoo
Genre: Abuse


"I've been to the worst place imaginable and I've come back."


Jamie Paterson: 'I knew the minute the light went on in my bedroom.
I could just sense the violence and the aggression with the people.
I knew from that minute that we were in big trouble.'


Derek Watts (Carte Blanche presenter): 'At the end of last year
17-year-old Jamie Paterson, a matric student, seemed to have it all.
Academically bright, musically gifted, part of a close and loving
family, a great future ahead of her. But what happened on the night
of October 2nd was to test every shred of her courage, inner
strength and determination.'


Jamie: 'I don't remember anything else except this fear and then my
mom came into the room with two guys and said, 'Get out of bed and
co-operate'.'


Minutes earlier two armed robbers had managed to manoeuvre
themselves through the small cottage pane window, surprising Jamie's
mother, Bronwyn.


Bronwyn Paterson (Jamie's mother): 'There was someone standing where
you are now - just here ... put a gun to my head and the one behind
him went like this. And then the two of them grabbed me and marched
me here and said, 'Open the front door'. And I opened the front door
and three more came in.'


Jamie: 'I went out into the passage and one of them had my brother
and I took him and snatched him away and pulled him against me. They
walked us down the passage and I remember saying to the one guy,
'Please don't hurt us. Don't hurt us'. My father was lying on the
floor tied up. And they made us kneel down and I wrapped my arms
around my brother and I just held him. And I kept my head down and I
said to Angus, 'Don't look at their faces'.'


Bronwyn was stabbed in her neck, beaten into a near coma, then
thrown onto the floor of the lounge where her husband Alan was lying
with a duvet over him. In full sight of nine-year-old Angus


Angus Paterson (Jamie's brother): 'And my mother ... the
overwhelming memory that I will have for the rest of my life is
getting up and seeing my mother. Her face was just was just'


Bronwyn: 'I kept on saying, 'I've given you all I have' and he said,
'You're lying, you're lying' and that's when they really started
seriously kicking me. They threw me on the ground and bashed me
across the face, pulling me up by my arms tied behind my back,
throwing me back on the bed and then hitting me again.'


Jamie: 'I was lying down and I could hear them undoing the TV and
then throwing it across and then something fell on me. I thought it
was the TV, but it was my mother. And then I looked up. And then
they dragged her away again and the carpet was covered in blood.
They kept saying to my father, 'We are going to kill you, we are
going to kill you now'.'


Derek: 'As the man of the house, you must have felt pretty
helpless.'


Alan: 'That was probably the worst thing of all. I could do nothing.
You think to yourself in abstract form I would fight, but you have a
man at the other end of the room with a gun, you have your wife
behind you held by two other men with guns.'


Jamie: 'My brother was shaking and would reach this crescendo. You
keep thinking maybe it's over because it builds to a climax and then
calms down. Then it started again and the one guy was saying, 'I
love you guys, God loves all of us, so I love everyone. It's just
money. I don't want to hurt you guys but my friends are going to
kill you'. Angus and I were just talking to him. We were trying to
get him to relate to us on some level.'


Alan: 'She was bargaining her flute, she was bargaining her matric
badge. She was doing it, almost knowing what was going to happen to
her was almost inevitable


Jamie: 'He said to me 'I'm HIV positive. But you're young, I don't
want to ruin your life. So if you could just give me gold. I want
gold, money and I want your gun.' I said to him, 'We don't have it.'
He hit me around the head and said, 'No, you have a gun, don't lie
to me'.'


Bronwyn: 'They started to fight over her and I knew she was going to
be raped.'


Jamie: 'And then he took me into the bathroom and locked me in and
raped me there. Afterwards he climbed out of the window and I sat
there in the shower for about 15 minutes. I couldn't hear my family
and I had this horrible feeling I was going to be the only one
left.'


Derek: 'After being raped in the bathroom and climbing out of the
window to find her father dazed and in total shock, her mother
beaten to a pulp - Jamie knew there was one thing she needed to do,
and that was to get her mother to a hospital as soon as possible.
She woke up the housekeeper's boyfriend who had his own car.'


Derek: 'I'm just amazed you could deal with all this happening.'


Jamie: 'It's not easy, but what other choice do you have?'


The Patersons had experienced the worst of humanity. But in the days
and months following they were also to see the best: friends and
strangers offered not just help but places to stay, to nurse their
wounds and for Jamie to study for her Grade 12 examinations.'


Derek: 'Apart from friends and family, the schools have been
tremendous support: The Ridge in the case of Angus, and for Jamie,
Roedean has been a wonderful source of inspiration.'


Mary Williams (Headmistress, Roedean School): 'She has a focus, she
has a direction and certainly she has always achieved what she has
set out to achieve. Don't ever be fooled by her very fragile
physical appearance.'


It was to Mary Williams, the Headmistress of Roedean, that Jamie
spoke about her decision not to hide behind whispers and rumours
about the rape.


Mary: 'She wanted her matric class to know and she wanted the staff
to know.'


Derek: 'There must be pros and cons about being so open and honest
about it.'


Mary: 'You know, I think in each case - and certainly this is not an
isolated case - there are many young men and women in schools who
are subjected to the devastation of an attack like this. It is a
very personal choice.'


Derek: 'The stance you've taken - being open about it - do you think
it has helped you through in a way?


Jamie: 'I think it's helped me absolutely to be open about it
because then you receive everybody's support. That is where I feel I
am lucky because I have got that support system and so many women
don't. I 'm really glad I did it.'


And the Paterson's best defence was not to let the barbaric actions
of the five thugs destroy them.


Bronwyn: 'We decided we were going to go on and do what we do best
as soon as we can.'


Alan: 'We sat down together and we actually toasted survival. We had
survived.'


Bronwyn: 'I am not saying it was easy. You have a choice: you either
do it or you don't do it. And what do you do afterwards if you
haven't done it?'


A week later Angus played in his piano exam, Jamie, fighting off the
possibility of HIV with a cocktail of nauseating anti-retrovirals,
had her music practical, the first of her finals. Nell Williams,
Jamie's music teacher, helped pick up the pieces.


Nell Williams (Music teacher, Roedean School): 'They do
compositions. She had stuff on her computer. Her history project,
her music history project ... that was lost. Some of her
compositions were dirtied. They had blood on them so we had to redo
her compositions. Through it all she just put her head down and she
did it. I know sitting across from me she was fighting nausea, she
was scared and she just carried on and did it.'


Derek: 'Jamie had worked hard throughout her school career and she
was expected to do well in her matric. But after the ordeal, the HIV
drugs, her family were more than a little apprehensive and concerned
before the results were announced.'


Derek: 'You have got to say that to get seven distinctions after the
night that she went through is just fantastic.'


Nell: 'The seven distinctions are wonderful. But it actually goes
beyond that, to have such courage and the refusal to be a victim and
you actually just take charge of what you have to do.'


Mary: 'Bad things do happen to good people. We know that. But if you
give up hope, if you simply just give up, there's nothing, there's
no future.'


Jamie's mom's ear had been torn, two ribs broken, neck stabbed, nose
shattered into seven pieces. Her body has healed but internally
she's angry.


Bronwyn: 'As for our security company I hold them culpable. I am
very angry. I feel the way they [the criminals] came in was in full
view of the street, through those cottage pane windows. They loaded
our cars in the driveway in full view of the street with all our
belongings. There was no patrol car in sight. They drove straight
out through the booms with all our belongings. They know our comings
and goings ... we have lived here for 30 years.'


Derek: 'Coming back home after all those weeks?'


Angus: 'It was nerve racking but in the daytime I'm fine with it.
It's at night in this place that really I'm jittery. Every single
little noise that you hear freaks you out. When your dog barks, even
if she's barking at nothing, you curl up and ask your parents if
[they] can just go check that out.'


Derek: 'Whether we talk about it over dinner parties or brood about
it silently, what has happened to the Paterson's encapsulates just
about every one of our thoughts and fears. Is the situation getting
better or worse? Is it worth the trade-off of living in this
beautiful country despite the dangers? Should we stay or go? And not
all of us have the luxury of that decision.'


Alan: 'We've had house breakings. We have had smash and grabs.
There's nothing new. If they had taken things again we would have
said 'Oh God, again!'. This was very different, this was gratuitous,
awful violence.'


Jamie: 'That is what is so sad. I was so full of optimism before and
I had planned my future in this country. I'm not going to stay here.
I'm not going to stay in a country where I don't feel safe.'


Jamie and her family are not unique. There are thousands of stories
like theirs and worse untold. Jamie hopes that by speaking out, her
ordeal will have some meaning.


Jamie: 'Coming out of all of this, out of this interview will help
others. I've been to the worst place imaginable and I've come back.'
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
GOSA
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