TESTIMONY: FROM BONDAGE TO FREEDOM
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CHAPTER SIX

Honeymoon!#&*@#$

My husband came to Canada on the 31st December, 1986, and I was on pins and needles. The first month was the happiest ever since I'd known Saul. He was very nice to me. He talked a lot about his God whom he now referred to as "Father" and "Jah". I heard very little about Jesus and absolutely nothing about the Gospel of Salvation. He was now into the Rastafarian lifestyle. He grew his hair and had it braided. We both enjoyed Reggae music.

He talked about his grandfather who used to do black magic. He had a fair knowledge of the Old Testament but brushed off the New Testament. He said the real Bible was the one used by his grandfather and the Rastafarians, called the Maccabaeus Bible. He said the Truth was not in the Church. So any aspirations I had of going to church and learning about Christianity was snuffed out. I had no reason to question his accuracy since he reasoned with the Father, Himself.

As ignorant as I was of the Truth, I didn't for one moment think that God would ever lie to anyone, nor would He condone lying on the part of any of His children. So I believed my now husband, call me stupid if you want. Before you start thinking how could I have been so na´ve or that you would have known better, let me say you can never know what you would do or believe until you are presented with the exact same things I experienced and with the limited knowledge I had. That is what happens when we put our trust in someone other than the Truth Himself. Many people have been led astray, EASILY, just look around you at all the cults and false religions. Look at Jim Jones, Hitler (these two were Saul's heroes). Look at the Jehovah Witnesses, Baha'i Faith, even Judaism and Islam are separated from the Truth.

Under this kind of a belief system, Saul woke up one morning and said to me, "You have until sundown to tell me how many men you have slept with since we've been married." That came out of the blue and the old fear crept into my soul. Fear of telling the truth, fear of the consequences of my infidelity. At sundown that day we were on a bus on our way to visit my parents. I was already about six weeks pregnant and he asked me to answer his question. I lifted my index finger to indicate one. He took it rather calmly, in fact too calmly. He said he thought the 'Father' was lying that he kept saying to 'The Father' that I couldn't have done that, that 'The Father' was wrong about me. So I naturally thought that God must have told him and he doubted God.

A few days later he asked me to tell him about this man and I told him. Of course I bore the blame and the guilt and rightly so. I was wrong. He said that I should not have invited the men to my place, etc., etc. He said he forgave me. All this time he was revealing to me his own sexual relationships he had had. One included a certain aunt and also a cousin who was found five months pregnant with his child. He said he wanted to keep the child but his mother had the girl abort the child. It turned out that Mona, the one his mother referred to as his grandmother also had two abortions, and both pregnancies were his. So I thought I wasn't so bad after all.

After he had told me about all his past relationships, he asked me about all the men I had been with and I told him. I mentioned my brother-in-law, I did not give details. One day he came home from work and when I greeted him at the door he kept his hand behind his back. He sat down at the kitchen table, hand still behind his back and said to me, "What did you and Tony (my brother-in-law) do?" I sat down at the table and said to him, "I am not telling you." He took out his hand from behind his back to show me a bandage on his hand. I still refused to tell him. He said he had an accident at work with a saw and when it happened he cried out, "Why?" and the reply he got was "Tony."

I told him if I tell him, he must promise not to tell anyone especially my brother. My youngest brother had got him the job at the company where he worked and they saw each other everyday. I felt this was, and should be, just between us. He agreed, so I told him I gave Tony a hand job. Up until this moment I had never ever been so humiliated and emotionally violated in my entire life. Sadly, it was just the beginning of the emotional, psychological, and verbal abuse that would follow. He had me make a list of everyone I had ever had sex with and he made me go over the list, to make sure I hadn't forgotten any. I cried and cried and cried.

One day Saul sent me to bed to "reason with The Father," it was that day that I came to realize that there is a God and that He is knowable. It happened as I reasoned in my heart with this God I hardly knew, although at this point I felt He hated me.

By now I was about three months pregnant and was constantly sick. Nothing stayed in my stomach. Ironically, whenever my husband was around I was ok; when he wasn't around I was sick. He has a presence that is very calming and I guess I drew from that. I decided that I didn't want to keep the baby because I felt I wasn't in a position to raise the child alone. It didn't even occur to me that abortion might be wrong, since two other women aborted his kids and others in my family had had abortions. I told Saul of my decision and he said nothing. One day I began to vomit blood. I decided to go to the hospital but before we got there he suggested we come back home and pray about it. So we came home without going to the hospital.

He prayed. I didn't know how to pray besides I didn't think God wanted anything to do with me. I thought as far as God was concerned, I didn't deserve to live. I took notice when I stopped vomiting blood (miracle numero uno?), after Saul prayed for me. I didn't forget to thank God either. Saul decided that this was a sign from God that we should keep the baby, so I did. The brainwashing, manipulation, and controlling continued.

One day he didn't come home from work. I was worried sick. That night he phoned me. I asked him what was wrong, he said, "Nothing." I asked if he was ok, he said yes. I asked where he was at; to this day he hasn't answered that question. He said he would not come back home until or unless I tell my parents about my sexual indiscretions. More humiliation. I told him I would and he came home the next day. That weekend I visited my parents. I took my dad for a walk in the nearby park. I couldn't bring myself to tell him, instead I told him that Saul asked me to tell them how many men I had been with since I married him and I told him one. I told him Saul wanted me to tell them. My dad said nothing.
 
When I came back home, Saul asked if I had told them and I said yes. He didn't ask what I told and to whom and I didn't tell him. I later realized he just wanted them to know that I had been indiscreet, because he had plans to leave me. This way he could leave with his reputation intact. At the time I didn't know because he never gave away what he was thinking. To this day he is like this, very secretive and distrustful. There is a darkness within him that is frightening. What is more frightening is that he has unusual self-control, charisma and intellect that work to his advantage. So you never know what he is up to, one never knows where one stands with him. I became very bitter towards him and towards his God, whom I felt would not forgive me. I blamed God for everything Saul Rodriguez ever did to me because he, Saul, did it all in His name.

I was about five or six months pregnant when we took my parents to a Hindu temple in celebration of one of their religious days. After the function, Saul told me to take my mother up to the front where all the statues of the Hindu Gods stood. There was a statue of Ram and Sita, Ganesh, Hanuman, and several others. While my mom knelt and prayed to each one of them, I just stood there. When we came back to where Saul was standing he said angrily, "Why didn't you kneel and pray" to the statues? I didn't even bother to answer him. Here was someone who claimed to reason with the God of the universe, who had been preaching from the Bible to me and had even wanted me to be a Christian, telling me I should do obeisance to idols. I hadn't read the Bible yet, but I just didn't feel right about bowing the knee to images. If I am made in the image and likeness of God, why dishonour myself by bowing to images made by human hands? It seemed rather stupid, besides I would have felt like a traitor, a hypocrite.

One morning I was getting ready to go to work when I had a unique experience. I took a shower, and as I turned off the water and straightened up I saw a shower of sparkling gold coloured confetti floating down, over and around me. I marveled at the spectacle. I looked to the floor to see what they were made of, but the floor was bare. I thought maybe it was just the blood rushing to my head as a result of bending but then I thought, "I've never seen something like this and I've bent down umpteen times before!" I was in awe. I wondered what it all meant. Did it mean that the baby I was carrying was special? I didn't know what to make of it. I never saw that beautiful vision again but I felt blessed, even if for a brief moment.

That August 1987, I came home from work to find the chain lock on the door. I was locked out. I knocked on the door - no answer. I kicked the door and the chain lock gave way easily. I went into the apartment to find Saul on the bed, passed out. I tried to wake him up but I couldn't. I called 911 and they came over and took him to the nearby hospital and I went with them. I was now seven months pregnant. They ran all kinds of tests to see what was wrong with Saul and couldn't find anything. They asked me and I told them I didn't know, I came home from work and found him. They even took him to the Toronto General Hospital downtown for a CAT scan and found nothing. A blood test result showed some drugs in his blood. As he started to come around the doctor asked him if he took anything, then he told them he took some sedatives.

They asked me about the sedatives, I told them I didn't know about it. Apparently he had gone to the doctor for insomnia and the doctor had prescribed the pills. Saul may have mentioned it to me but since I didn't see him taking them, I thought he wasn't using the pills and I forgot all about it. Besides it never occurred to me that he would try to kill himself. Even though he had told me that when he was in Guyana he ate a handful of rat poison but nothing happened, I didn't think he would try killing himself again, especially with me being pregnant.

I was traumatized by the whole episode because I felt it was my fault. When the doctor asked him why he took the pills, in my presence, he didn't answer at first but when the doctor asked him if he didn't like where he was living, he said it wasn't that. "Is it you marriage?" asked the doctor. He replied, "That's part of it". I never found out what the other part of it was, he never talked about it but if I had any value for life that experience cheapened it.

One Friday, Saul came to my work to pick me up since he got off work early on Friday afternoons. I was in the lunchroom at work when a co-worker came in and sat down and we started chatting. Don was a bi-sexual who had just broken up with his girlfriend. He was attracted to Indian women or so he had said, I couldn't have cared less. If he was attracted to me, he kept it to himself because he never crossed the line with me. My husband walked into the lunchroom and saw Don and I talking and he walked back out. I said bye to Don and left knowing I was going to get it from my husband. He asked what we were talking about and I told him. He asked why I didn't leave the lunchroom when Don came in. I couldn't get him to see that we were simply talking and I didn't understand where he, Saul, was coming from.

That weekend he went out with his friends and got drunk. It was my fault or so I felt. He came home, went to bed, and all he kept saying was that he thought he married a wife, instead he got a knife. "A wife like a knife." He kept saying that until he fell asleep. The abuse continued. He said, "The wrong woman is having my kid." He asked me if he wanted a divorce if I would give it to him. I said I would. Now with 20/20 hindsight, I guess that was too easy for him for he woke up one morning and announced, "I have to have two wives." The second wife was going to be Savitri, his next door neighbour's daughter, who had been in love with him since she could remember. We fought bitterly over that girl. He had nothing bad to say about her and nothing good to say about me. She was a virgin. She was a real woman, "She would be a Rodriguez; she would be a wife."



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CHAPTER SEVEN

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