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From Abuse Victim to Victor! Dadiere Licona Shares Her Story of Triumph

by Kesha Stewart | Associate Writer

Abuse whether physical, emotional, sexual, mental or otherwise is an abhorrent yes opening piece to the narrative of many individuals’ life regardless of gender. It is notoriously difficult to overcome abuse, particularly consistent abuse. The story of overcoming and becoming was shared on by one of our guests who detailed her experience with abuse.

You can watch this video on My-Island-Jamaica's YouTube Channel.

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From as early as 8 years old she experienced traumatic sexual and physical abuse.
In the first heart-breaking instance, she was sexually abused by someone she described as a great-uncle, someone who she and her family held in high esteem and was in fact her caregiver at points when her parents were unable to provide physical care for her because they were attending to business to create an income for the family.

She reported the abuse and this resulted in severe beatings which left many physical scars all over her body. However, she believes that the physical scars have waned but the emotional scars have the tendency to re-emerge at times. For example, upon hearing that others whether minors or adults have experienced abuse.

One common thread that seems to run through many abusive situations is the fact that the abuser has a close relationship with the victim. In Dadiere case her initial abuser was a part of her extended family. When we review the cases of sexual abuse we realise several societal problems, but in Jamaica, the one that stays with me is where the victims of certain types of abuse (especially sexual), actually risk exposure to additional abuse (mostly physical and verbal) if he/she reports the abuse to family members.

The victim is usually accused of lying to the abuser and in Dadiere Licona can a severe beating accompanied this. As a result, there is mental trauma that can prove devastating further down the road even while having a tremendous impact on the developing child.

Dadiere refused to allow her abusive situations to dictate the terms of her life as she believes that her less is one of purpose. Therefore she sucks mentorship engaged in physical in extracurricular activities to keep herself on a path of personal growth.

At each stage, she was mentored because she has sought out someone to guide her through left life. She refused to perpetuate the usual image of someone who faced this form of victimization, instead, she set out to become a victor.

Later in life, at about age 15, she was again the victim of physical abuse by her mother's husband. The enraged man gave her a severe and unexpected beating with a strip cut from a motor vehicle tyre. This is a common instrument used in corporal punishment in Jamaica. The beating resulted in injuries all over her body in areas such as her face, breasts and back.

Though the beating was harsh Dadiere did not cry. She grabbed some clothes and hastily left. She explained that there was an atmosphere of domestic violence permeating the home and as such, she had no remorse in leaving. The then teen was granted sanctuary with a cousin where she slept on the floor. After returning from seeking medical treatment at a prominent local hospital Dadiere learned that her mother's husband was seeking her life. She then decided to leave her cousin's residence and seek refuge elsewhere.

Later on, Dadiere revealed that she was raped a total of 4 times and experienced sexual assault abuse more than 8 times. This could wear down just about anybody however it became a stepping stone for her because she did not allow the abuser to be the victor she persisted in accomplishing the plans she had for her life. She repeatedly reiterates that she got involved in extracurricular activities which she said served as a deterrent for her from being absorbed in the victim mindset. Instead, she is an overcomer.

What we also find with abuse, as was underlined in this revelation by Dadiere, is the fact that abusers perceive that they love or care about the person they are abusing. The interview also shows us that people and systems can fail from time to time. In Dadiere’s case, the parental response to the first incident was to label her as a liar. In the second incident when she needed medical care, the attending physician asked her what she had done to cause the abuse.

Many victims of abuse tend to be viewed as somehow inviting the abuse on themselves. In fact, they too begin to accept that “it’s my fault”. We remember too that her grandaunt was in the room at the time she was being beaten. The hospital did not report the case as it should have. There are agencies such as the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) and the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).

Our perception of abuse causes us to overlook the plight of the victims. This can prove to add further trauma to the situation. Dadiere overcame all of that. We are not advocating that systems and people should be let off the hook. Certainly not! However, when situations are not in our favour there is still opportunity for personal growth and when personal growth occurs it is not something that leaves you stagnant. Rather, it allows you to reach out to others. We see Deirdre reaching out in many respects to those around her.

She wrote a book entitled, Me: Overcoming and Becoming which is now available on Amazon. She describes the book as a compilation of narrative poetry that documents her traumatic experiences. Dadiere alluded to the power of extracurricular activities and mentorship as being key to her growth. She also attributes reading powerful books about leadership and success as playing a role. However, the most critical component is her relationship with God which she says positively impacts growth, development and, significantly, healing.

Many victims of abuse develop a poor self-concept and low self-esteem and they often grapple with suicidal tendencies. Dadiere gives an honest review of her challenges as she admitted to her mistakes, the fact that she experienced periods where she attempted suicide and felt like quitting. Thankfully as we observe, she has triumphed into a person which shows resilience and strength. She epitomises someone who is on the path of growth and her trajectory suggests that she will continue to grow.

“Keep your head up. It gets better.” Is her advice to those who are growing out of abusive situations. She announced that we each have a purpose to which we should remain true despite the hardships we may encounter.

You can reach Dadiere at her email address at or her Instagram handle me_poetry_book.

I also recommend you read DWAYNE GRIFFITHS; NAH GIVE UP!.


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