Advocacy …

Being a children’s advocate is really kinda gloomy.

When things are bad, they’re really bad. This literally clouds whatever ray of sunshine there may actually be. There are never ever any words of comfort for the child who’s been molested; who has become pregnant; or who has unexplainable scars all over his body. What does one advocate for in this instance? How can an advocate proceed?

Last week was horrible. A teenage girl was murdered and later discovered to be pregnant and in another incident a group of children was burnt to death after an alarm was made when an older relative attempted to molest one of them.

What can you really say? What do you do? Especially this weekend as other children develop respiratory complications because of poor planning and a lack of effective governance; i.e. the current situation with the Riverton City Dump. Yes, some of these children were hoping to sit GSAT on Thursday & Friday but will have no choice but to wait an extra week.

As the debate about sex education continues, so do the deliberations on pinching, hitting and slapping in schools. Children continue to be victims in every sense of the word. Leaving me to wonder where a children’s advocate’s responsibility lies?

State care is awful. It can be just as bad the existing unsafe living conditions that the children are running from.

But what do we do?

Do we simply report these instances of abuse and succomb to the likely consequences? Do we continue to smile at parents who are missing in action and also missing the point? Do we scold our children when they don’t score the grade they need to on their GSAT exams because they’ve been ill for the entire week before the actual exams? Do we turn a cold shoulder to those who work in state care for pittance who also need our support?

Perhaps retweeting, liking and hitting favourite on the various social media avenues can make a difference? After all, it means you show support for these helpless members of society. Or does it show your anger for what has happened? Does it give you hope that people think the same as you?

Reality lies in the fact that abuse has always lived here in Jamaica. It has resided with our parents and forefathers. And I suppose that optimism shows its face when we see these victims continuing their lives and meeting their happy endings after many self-soothing sessions. Right?!

Today, I feel as outside looks and smells. Grey and sad; as I contemplate the fate of our children. When will this smoke clear? And once again, how will we effectively advocate for our most precious commodity?

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