Shuga to the rescue

Singer to set up foundation for rape victims

By Aaliyah Cunningham
Observer writer

Thursday, January 10, 2019

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AIMING to empower and encourage rape and abuse victims, Shuga will be launching a foundation — Femme Phenomenal — on March 8, International Women's Day.

The reggae singer said she was inspired by her own experience.

“Rape is a serious problem in Jamaica and there are so many unreported cases and too many broken women. I know women who have been raped by their dads and silenced with the fact that if they report it the younger siblings would be left all alone and it would be her fault,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

“I am finally recovering. But it was another woman who shared with me and empowered me why I can now share and empower others through music, word, sound and power,” she continued.

According to 2016 statistics from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, 473 women were raped between January 1 and December 24.

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

“I want to kick off the year empowering sisters,” she said. “We are more powerful when we empower each other.”

Shuga (given name Mitsy Campbell) is the 2009 winner of televised talent contest Digicel Rising Stars.

According to the singer, Femme Phenomenal will visit schools and women's centres across the island and have one-on-one conversations with victims of abuse and troubled girls.

She plans to secure sponsorship for her foundation through various corporate entities and fund-raising activities inclusive of charity concerts and auctions.

“I just want women to feel empowered and know that they are phenomenal women and they are not a result of their circumstances,” she said. “The road to freedom begins with knowing that the transgressor is personal and has absolutely no bearing on who you really are.”

Shuga hopes the foundation will help to stop the cycle of silence.

“To every woman or girl who has ever been raped, abused or manipulated, I know the memories won't allow you to get over it because scars don't just go away,” said Shuga. “No struggle is easy, so we have to fight to be free.”

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