According to P. Antonio “Boo” Rudder in his book, Marching to a Different Drummer:
“Our culture is not static. We are impacted by the tourist industry, radio and television that are generally lacking in national focus, and too many Barbadians are becoming more aggressive in a style that is being evidenced across the world.”
This aggressiveness that Mr. Rudder mentioned in his book, has been evidenced by his very own son, Antonio Rudder, who is yet being called before the courts charged with ASSAULT WITH BODILY HARM to none other than me.
Our words cannot be prepared for books and academic circles if they are not first passed down in our homes and respected by our children. If our very own children cannot handle the weight of responsibility that we are asking others in our society to reflect, how effective are our words really? We must ask those who are AGGRESSORS to their own and the detriment of cultural integrity: “WHO TAUGHT YOU TO HATE YOURSELF?” What kind of MIRROR IMAGE is that? Transparency is key.
When I reached out to Mr. Rudder to use his intelligence, leadership and compassion in assisting me with a resolution to the unfortunate events occuring between his son, Antonio Rudder, and I he responded by stating:
“I don’t get involved in my children’s relationships.”
Mr. Rudder was quick to ignore my cry for help while failing to acknowledge that it wasn’t the relationship he was being asked to get involved with but rather the cycle of violence was being called to his attention. He REJECTED the call and marginalized me.
All this after he and I spent time together, I was asked and agreed to babysit his grandchildren, I spent time after time in his home, I attended his music concerts, I rode in the same vehicle, ate at the family table, received a free autographed copy of his book and many other activities that CHRONICLED Mr. Rudder’s INVOLVEMENT in his son’s relationship. We were all in a relationship through our mutual connection to and concern for Antonio.
This rejection by Mr. Rudder was a major turning point that prompted me to begin speaking out for my rights! I realized that most people expected me to just go away so they could move on with their lives. Karma required of me the same measure of REJECTION I was dealt. Therefore I had to reject the denial and silence imposed upon me.
As I searched and searched for answers to the questions I was asking myself about what was happening to me, I begin to learn more about the Bajan attitudes and behaviors that were influencing my experience. I begin to learn about all manors of SOCIAL INJUSTICE taking place on the island that are negatively effecting the livelihood of local women and children as well as tourists. The more I learned, the more I hurt and the more courage I gained. I had to do something! I had to expose the police, the courts, the criminal who abused me and his community that offered no support services. I had to pursue justice in order that others suffering in silence could find a voice in my refusal to shut up.
The second time Antonio abused me, he was strangling me and while doing so he yelled out:
“ARE YOU GONNA SHUT UP, YES OR NO!?!?!!”
This act of abuse took place in the Krosfyah band house and was witnessed by Ingrid Holder and brought to the attention of Edwin Yearwood. After Antonio attacked, Jason Paul (cousin of Tony “Rebel” Bailey and son of James Paul), without adequate provocation, and after his self sabotaging behavior became too much, he was fired from Krosfyah.
Strangling me and taking my life’s breath into his own hands was a most vicious, emotionally as well as physically aggressive and psychologically violent maneuver because with his hands around my throat his intent was to prohibit me from speaking. His question about my silence was rhetorical and his actions were psychopathic.
Still. I rise.
Even Mr. Rudder acknowledges the culture of violence to which he as well as his son are born and bred. Quote P. Antonio “Boo” Rudder:
“When I was a boy, I remember hearing many stories about the fortunes of women who neglected their household chores to listen to a mid-day programme called Second Spring Lives or The Bold and the Beautiful. Within the cultural paradigm of the time, many women received severe abusive treatment from their husbands and partners when meals were not prepared on time. Fortunately the rule of law, growing awareness among women about human rights issues, and the lessening of dependence on men for economic support because of access to better education, have eroded and reduced the incidence of a rather ugly aspect of male domination of the female population. Moreover, society no longer gives tacit approval.”
Mr. Rudder offered not one word of apology, remorse, regret, acknowledgement to me for the terror, pain and suffering his son, Antonio, inflicted. He had nothing to say to me about the”UGLY CULTURE” he exposes in his book. He never has made mention of the impact of the ugliness of his son’s actions on my beautiful experience coming to Barbados. Mr. Rudder, by remaining “neutral”, indirectly (and even directly) approved of his son’s domination of me.
Mr. Rudder did not insist that the RULE OF LAW be implemented in my case against his son. Even his wife, Veronica Rudder, had the courage to admit she had received complaints about her son’s abusive treatment of women before hearing it from me. Mrs. Rudder even offered me a pain pill when the police stopped me by their house as they were issuing a warrant for Antonio’s arrest informing the family that he turn himself in. Mr. Rudder, though vocal in the pages of his book, marched to an entirely different beat than the one he critiques is in the society’s best interest. He, like his son’s chokes, silenced me and exposed his inherent callousness and hypocrisy.
I, however, have learned to accept Mr. Rudder’s negligence as the wind to propel me forward along this rudderless drift!!!
I ,too, am the AUTHOR of my destiny and must SHARE MY STORY! Maybe all along Mr. Rudder was encouraging me to write and document my experience of Barbadian culture! His words gave me inspiration and motivation! Quote, “Boo” Rudder:
“Regrettably, there are some aspects of our cultural history which have never been documented and may never be, because we are often afraid to express our views, fearing reprisal from those who may be offended by an uncomplimentary comment. The more I reflect on this journey, the more I am convinced that the responsibility for sharing information which would allow our people to analyse, understand and contextualise events in our time, is a burden I am happy to bear.”
I have a responsibility to myself to honor Mr. Rudder and his son for their impact in my life! In their honor, I am happy to bear the burden of this blog: Focus Barbados! #ProtectTheChildren.