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Last Friday on International Women’s Day, reggae singer brought many persons together for a good cause.

Though the event got off to a late start, the audience was enthralled by stories of the guest speakers including Natassia Wright, who said she lost her parents before age 17. Her grandmother, who was her guardian, passed away after she enrolled in the University of Technology, Jamaica.

According to Wright, she had to do part-time jobs and give up school to survive. She uses her story as an inspiration; today, she is an administrative secretary at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.

The National Safe Schools and Training Coordinator, Sergeant Taneica Johnson, expounded on the frequent reports of rape and abuse that she receives. According to 2016 statistics from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, 473 women were raped between January 1 and December 24 that year.

Nearly 50 percent of the cases involved children. The statistics revealed that 180 victims were under the age of 15. Some were younger than five-years-old.

Other speakers included Dr. Rosalea Hamilton and Lieutenant Colonel Claudette D Graves from Atlanta, Georgia.

Performances came from Verlando Small, 2013 Digicel Rising Stars winner, singer and bass violin player Jamila Falak, and the Bashy Bus Kru.

Shuga (given name Mitsy Campbell) moved some in the audience to tears as she performed her song Phenomenal Woman, a personal story she says women around the world have faced. She also did Ebony.

Guest artiste Davianah, daughter of Tony Rebel, also shared her story of hardship and having being raised and molested by her brother.

The organization’s priority is to empower and uplift victims of abuse. Lewis says Femme Phenomenal is in the process of selecting the first schools that will be part of its tour.

Presented by: Talia Soares

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