I almost didn’t go to court that day.

I had placed my child’s father on ‘pickney maintenance’ and sued him for the paternity test I was forced to do on a child that he later confessed to know was already his. I kept asking myself, why am I on trial here?

I was on trial. It came to my knowledge that several members of our community were upset if not ostracizing me for taking my child’s father to court. I am being labelled as “dutty gal, – a dutty gal alone cah man go a court”
What type of man knows a child is his yet disowns the child so that he isn’t required to support the baby financially?

What moniker should I attach to a man that knows a child is his, let’s me do a DNA test then before the test results are out, confesses that the baby is his? He later admits to me that he knew the child was his, and had only disowned it to spite me for “dissing” him.

This wasn’t a one-off thing, this baby was nothing short of a planned pregnancy. I broke off the relationship when I was a month into my pregnancy, because he cheated on me with my cousin. Why was I on trial here? 

I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around the things that we as people embrace. I am always of the opinion that the very ills of our society thrive because somehow, some people support slackness. We seem to have a latent dislike for people of good character and glorify shoddy personalities like gun men, thieves and ‘wukliss baby fathers”. I said it before, my child’s father could not have done what he did, if he did not live within a setting, if he was not surrounded by people who supported that type of behaviour.

I was right!

When I took out the lawsuit against him, the remarks were blistering.
“A thru the man no want her mek she a dweet?”

Everyone had something to say and I was made to feel bad about my decision, all the time pondering why he was never made to feel ‘any type a way’  when he disowned my child. Why am I on trial here?
A friend of his sought to counsel me, convince me to “cut out the courthouse biznez”. Where were they when he needed counselling? I recalled once, when I was seven months pregnant, I asked that very friend to ask him if he wasn’t going to give me any money in preparation for the birth of the child. The friend said he would speak with him, he never did as he said he didn’t want to get involved.

When I had my baby via cesarean, I could barely move and had to be out on the road by week three replenishing my supplies of baby diapers and wipes. Where were they to counsel him? Why wasn’t he ostracized? Why am I on trial here? 

I waited on him to come around after the birth of my child. I took him to court when the baby was six months of age.
It came to my knowledge that he was telling everyone my child was not his. I had a declaration of paternity test done before the results were out and my baby father, after he made me spend 39,500 dollars unnecessarily to pay for a legal DNA, said he knew the baby was his. He has no shame in his game. When we went to do the court, he saw our seven month old for the first time. I gave him 16 months to make it right. Why am I on trial here?

He told me that I should be ashamed to tell anyone I was pregnant for him.
I am as he has been nothing but an embarrassment to me. He thought he could humiliate me, break me because he had the support of a grimy, misogynistic culture that devalues women. 

How he can call himself “top man” walk around sprouting feathers and fawning like a peacock while his children have little or no support from him is beyond me. Clearly we needed to revise the eligibility of the so called “top man” position.

Immediately after the DNA results, I didn’t sue him, I gave him another chance to redeem himself – I didn’t want to appear as a woman scorned, bitter and revengeful. Fathers are important and as such I place my child’s need for a father figure in her life before my need for revenge and satisfaction.
I compromised, when some folks told me I should have let that “Wicked bwoy” have the full length of the law. 

I had a voice note to play in court, it was a WhatsApp message of him, denigrating and hurling insults at me after I asked him for $2000 dollars. I am not a bad person, I only ask him for money when I am out of it. I don’t treat him like an ATM because he is my baby’s father. Why am I on trial here? 

I’ve said it before that to be a strong woman is to set yourself up to be left stranded. My child’s father won’t support our toddler on the premise that I can afford to be a single parent,  yet he begins a relationship with a girl that has a young baby that is not his. The irony of it.

Some might ask how did this happened to me?

To that I respond: I am only responsible for my behaviour. I hate that society also holds me culpable for the choices a man made. Why am I being dumped on for his choices? He made his choices. Why should I be modifying, accommodating him and compromising every step of the way?I cannot do this for seventeen years.

As a woman regardless of what you have or where you are in life, you are as vulnerable and susceptible to the wiles of a dishonourable man as any other woman.
Every black woman knows, if she wants to lose everything that she has, begin a relationship with the wrong man.
Why am I on trial here? 

The baby is ill, I have not heard from the father in weeks. I have only heard from him twice and on both occasions, it was to pour insults all over me.
I have rethought this baby father issue. I now understand why most simply cut men like him off and take care of the child. 

I am rethinking so many things. Do I want to tie a man to a child he clearly doesn’t want?  Does my child need someone with his values in her life? It’s an uphill battle. I’ve been in it for seven months and God knows I cannot do another year of it.

Why am I on trial here?

By Michelle Thompson

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I almost didn't go to court that day. I had placed my child's father on 'pickney maintenance' and sued him for the paternity test I was forced to do on a child that he later confessed to know was already his. I kept asking myself, why am I on trial here? I...

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