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Aria’s Story defines and highlights the nature and extent of abuse that children experience in order to empower those in abusive situations to take action and find solutions. Join Aria as she discovers herself, finds courage from an unexpected source, and uncovers her own path to hope and freedom. Aria's Story is an initiative of the Office of the Children's Advocate in Jamaica and is funded by the Canadian High Commission to Jamaica. Click to join her on this journey.

Aria's Story Is Here

Aria’s tale of trial and triumph is here! Everyday at 9:00AM, 12:00PM and 3:00PM, we will be releasing new bits of her story on social media. The scenes will be uploaded here the following day.  Follow her on social media to be the first to read her story

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Aria's Story

Aria dreams of becoming a Doctor, her Mother hopes to offer her the best opportunity…

Aria’s mom decided to call her younger sister to see whether or not she could help to give Aria the best upbringing possible. She wanted opportunities for her daughter to pursue her dream. “Can you take her, I can’t do any more for her” Aria’s mom asked. “Yes mam, send her come”, she replied.

“Aria come here you’re going to visit your Aunt Susan.” Aunt Susan is rich and fancy, and very different from her simple life here in the country. Aria didn’t spend a lot of time with her in the past but was looking forward to seeing her big house. ”Really mom! I can’t wait. I’m going to go pack for the weekend.” Little did she know, the trip would last much longer.

“I love you baby, when you look at this, know I am only a phone call away”, she said, giving her a token of her love; a bracelet to keep her safe on the long journey. “I’ll miss you mommy.” Aria was her only child and it was the first time they would ever be apart for more than a day.

With wide-eyes, Aria looked up at the big house that would be her home. “Wow! This place is great, I wonder if I will have my own room.” she thought. At home she shared a very small space with her mother. The thought of having her own space was exciting.

It’s Aria’s first supper in her new home and everyone has their own idea about her future there. Aria’s aunt intends for Aria to earn her stay by being the housemaid, even if it means keeping her from school. Uncle Ted has other ideas that are even crueler.

Happy in her new world, Aria still thinks that she will only be here for a little while. She plans to make the most of it, and whispers a sweet prayer for her mother as she drifts peacefully to sleep. She doesn’t notice danger lurking in the hallway.

Aria didn’t think much of Aunt Susan asking her to clean out the basement. She did her share of chores at home, and she also liked the chance to explore. There seemed to be some interesting items stowed away down here.

Aria was also happy to run errands for her Aunt. It would give her an opportunity to see a bit more of the city. Before running out, Aria grabbed the glowing book on the shelf… maybe she would read it later.

As Aria left the house, Uncle Ted approached her. Aria wasn’t sure what to make of it, but she did feel uncomfortable. “Maybe he’s just trying to be nice,” she thought.

On her way home from the store, Aria found herself distracted by her Uncle’s strange comments. “I wonder what he meant by that.” She barely even noticed the billboard behind her. It would come to have a significant meaning later on.

Suddenly, she found herself on the ground! Her aunt’s wine, cheese and olives were dashed onto the sidewalk. “Where did that stone come from?” she thought. “I hope Aunt Susan doesn’t get too upset.”

Aria felt hurt and ashamed. She knew that she messed up, but she also thought that Aunt Susan was being unreasonably hard on her. Now Aria wasn’t sure if her Aunt really had her best intentions in mind.

“I wish I could go home,” Aria thinks as she sits on her bed crying. Uncle Ted approaches her in her vulnerable state and offers to comfort her and calls her his “Special Girl”. Again, Aria feels uncomfortable but doesn’t know what to do. She objects as he begins to touch her, “No Uncle, I don’t feel comfortable.” “Don’t worry,” Uncle Ted says. “You’ll like it.”. Aria’s Uncle, who should have protected her, took her innocence.

Aria didn’t like what Uncle Ted did to her. She was even more upset now. She knew that what he did was wrong. He even broke her bracelet. This could not be the peace that Aria’s mother wished for. She thought of her mother as she tried to fall asleep.

The sleep wouldn’t come. Aria could not stop thinking about what had just happened to her. Her dream of coming to the city had turned into a nightmare. She noticed the book she had found in basement. “Maybe it will help me to get my mind off things”, she thought. So she began to read…

As Aria opens her book she is transported to rural Jamaica, a scene quite similar to her own home…

Stacy's Story

Stacy is a 14-year-old who is living with her mom and step-dad in Guroney Pen, rural Jamaica.

Her favourite chore is tending to her family’s chickens. It seemed that the only place she could find peace was with the clucking chicks. If she tuned in hard enough, their clucks drowned the shouts of her parents fighting, but this time, it didn’t seem to be working…

Stacy’s mom and Step-Dad Gary, would fight almost every day. No matter how hard she tried to please him, he was always dissatisfied with something she did. This time around, she buys the wrong brand of juice for the house. In his rage Gary shouts, “Why you so blasted stubborn woman? Why you never buy the proper ting like I tell you!” “Gary, please don’t!” Tricia pleaded.

It’s no surprise that Stacy found solace in going to school. Though her step-father hit her too, her mother’s experience was more painful for her. It bothered her that her mother was going through so much, in fact, she was terrified, but she didn’t know how to step in.

Today, at school, things were about to change. Mrs. Brown, the teacher, introduced a visitor to the class. “Good Morning class, we have a special visitor today, Miss Diahann from the Office of the Children’s Advocate. Make her welcome.” Stacy was excited for the change in the regular schedule and wondered what this lady would have to say. As she stood there, Stacy couldn’t help but notice how well-put-together she seemed. She knew that one day she would want to look like Miss Diahann.

Miss Diahann introduced herself as an advocate for children’s rights. That meant she wanted to protect children in Jamaica from harm. She told the class that even though they were young, they were worthy of respect, “It is not okay for a man to hit a woman or a child, we are all worthy of respect. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Text, write or call the Office of the Children’s Advocate if you need to. We are here for you.” It was almost as if Miss Diahann was in Stacy’s mind. “Does she know about my home situation…” she thought, “how would she?” In any case, she listened with keen interest.

As the Children’s Advocate continued to speak, Stacy started to think about George and the way he disrespected both her and her mother . “Sometimes it helps to write things down, to express your feelings and if you like, you can share with us so we can help you,” said Miss Diahann. Stacy was definitely going to take her advice, she had always liked writing anyway. She started to feel a bit of hope and could not wait to get home to tell her mother what she learned in school.

Stacy has gotten hope! She rushes home eager to share with her mom, praying that she would be hopeful too. Stacy found her mother watching the news in the living room. She began sharing the things she learned from the Children’s Advocate.”Mummy, this lady came to school today and was talking bout how we shouldn’t let Gary hit us…” “Stacy, shhh! Him just going through a rough time.” “Mummy, is years now this a gwaan. From you married. When it going stop?” “Stacy, we not talking about this. Mi alright. Mi just glad him don’t hurt you.” “But the lady said…” But Stacy’s mother didn’t want to hear it. Instead, she defended her Husband and told Stacy to keep quiet. They didn’t know Gary was just outside the door, listening to their every word.

Gary swept into the room furiously. “What else this lady tell you? Me run this house, you hear me! You and you Mother better understand that. Get outside, Now!”. In a quick and aggressive motion he had Stacy draped up by her collar. Stacy’s mom pleaded for Gary to let her go. “Gary, no!” she begged. “Please leave the girl alone!”. The TV flickered in the background while Stacy tried to escape Gary’s death grip.

Somehow, Stacy managed to break free from Gary’s hold. She instinctively ran towards her usual safe place; the chicken coop, but Gary followed in hot pursuit. The chickens fled in all directions as Gary and Stacy ran towards them. Their terror could not compare to what Stacy felt in that moment.

Stacy was terrified. She tripped and fell, crawling backward to create as much distance between herself and Gary. “Come yah gyal! Let me show you who in charge.” For as many years as Gary had come to live with them, this was Stacy’s safe place. But it seemed as though this peaceful pen was no longer a safe haven.

Stacy wasn’t sure how to process what Gary did to her. She felt disgusted, dirty, tired and overwhelmed, but she was also angry. She remembered Miss Diahann’s words “Sometimes it helps to write… we are here to help”, so she took a pen and paper and began to do just that. It took her a while, between tears and intense emotions, but Stacy wrote all of her feelings on that paper.

Outside Stacy’s room her mother stood, hopelessly. Tricia never expected that the man she loved would hurt her little girl in this way. She stood at the door all night, listening to Stacy sobbing and crying tears of grief.

After school the next day, Stacy found her way to the Office of the Children’s Advocate in downtown Kingston. She lifted her hand to knock on the door. Suddenly, she couldn’t move. She had flashes of the attack from her Step-Dad, and wondered if the Children’s Advocate could really help, or if they would only make things worse.

Stacy couldn’t find the courage. She returned home and crumbled at her desk in tears. The letter stayed in her backpack. She wanted to believe that the Children’s Advocate could help her, but she was also worried about how Gary would respond if he found out. His last attack on her was enough to scare her into silence.

Stacy’s neighbour, Anna, noticed that she had left school early, and wanted to check on her. Anna lived with her Aunt next door. Stacy and Anna had been friends since childhood, but they had never spoken about what was happening in Stacy’s house. “Hey Stacy, you left school early today, I did have these east indian for you,” said Anna. “Oh, Hi Anna, I had somewhere to go,” Stacy replied. “You good? You look sad. Me can come in?”

It turns out that the talk that Miss Diahann gave also inspired Anna. She was no longer comfortable pretending that she didn’t know what was happening. If her friend was being hurt, she needed to know. If a crime was being committed, it needed to be reported. She spoke with caution, but with real concern: “To be real Stacy, I came over because I heard screaming the other night. I wanted to check if you were okay. My auntie said I shouldn’t come over but I remember what that lady told us at school the other day, about being our sister’s keeper and how we must reporting things. Mr. George do something to you?”

Stacy couldn’t hold it anymore. “Yes! He raped me!”. Through tears, she told Anna what happened. Anna was deeply saddened, she couldn’t imagine what Stacy was going through, but she knew that she wanted to support her as much as she could. “What you going to do?” Anna asked. “I know what I going do. You will come with me?” In that moment they decided that they would no longer pretend as though the attack hadn’t happened. They were going to do something about it.

She was scared, but Stacy couldn’t forget Miss Diahann’s story and the support of her friend helped give her the courage. She knew what she had to do, she had to seek help for herself and her mom. With a tight grip on the letter, she walked with a steady determination, inspired by her friend at her side. The journey to the office was a good distance, but an inner strength told her not to give up.

Anna waited outside as Stacy walked in to the Office. The lady at the front desk greeted her with a smile and kindness. “Hello, I’d like to make a report,” Stacy whispered. “Okay dear, please have a seat. Someone will be with you shortly.” Stacy found her voice soothing and encouraging. She suspected that she had made the right decision.

A few weeks later…

A few weeks after her initial visit to the Office of the Children’s Advocate, Stacy and her mother are called in. Over the weeks, the Office conducted investigations in order to get to the root of the allegations against Mr. George. The lady assigned to their case spoke with them, “Okay ladies, we’ve done our investigations on your case and we have enough to charge Mr. George.” There was enough evidence to charge him for domestic violence and carnal abuse. Stacy and her mother were relieved.

While Stacy and her mother were at the office, Mr. George was being confronted by the police. Calm and relaxed at home he was startled to find these men coming and asking for him. “Are you Mr. George?” they asked. “Ye..yes,” Gary stammered. “Can I help you officers?” “We need you to come with us, you are being charged for domestic violence and carnal abuse.” Gary was stunned. He never expected any consequences for the way he treated Stacy and Tricia.

Stacy and her mum have now been rescued from a harmful situation. Tricia holds Stacy, she feels relief but she also feels sadness. She feels that she may have failed Stacy as a mother, and feels responsible for having an abusive man in their home. “My daughter,” Tricia says to Stacy. “I am so sorry about this. I know it not going be easy, but we going get through this, okay?” “Okay Mum.” “You have been very brave.”

It’s been 5 years since Gary was sent to jail. Stacy is now a grown woman with a professional career as a writer. She believes that the challenges she went through only made her stronger, and that she now has a responsibility to empower other young children. In fact, Stacy volunteers from time to time with the Office of the Children’s Advocate when they have school tours. As she wraps up a speech at her alma mater she tells the children, “There is always hope, don’t forget to be brave. The Office of the Children’s Advocate is here for you, they were there for me.”

A couple days have passed and Aria feels intense shame around what has happened with her Uncle. She found some inspiration in Stacy’s story but isn’t sure if she can be that bold to talk to someone. She definitely doesn’t trust her aunt and tries to be obedient to her requests to avoid trouble. One morning, while washing dishes Aria notices some children on their way to school. She wonders why she is still at her Aunt’s house, and why she still isn’t going to school. Her mother had told her that that was why she came to the city. Aunt Susan’s voice breaks Aria’s thoughts, “Aria! I’m going to work, make sure all the cleaning gets done. You and your uncle will be here.”

Aria felt nervous about being left alone with her uncle, so she was relieved when he told her he would be going out for a while. “Aria, I’m stepping out. Be a good girl til I come back,” he said. As Aria scrubbed the floors she felt as though her work was never-ending, and she also wondered about the kids she saw walking to school earlier. “I wonder when auntie going to send me to school,” she thought. “I’m so tired of working. Maybe I can read a bit when uncle leaves.”

As Aria opens her book, she reads: “Somewhere in hills above the city, is a grand house with a beautiful courtyard. A teenage boy video chats with his Dad…”


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Yuri's Story

Yuri is a part of a well-off family that runs a chain of popular hardware stores. His mother died recently and he lives with his uncle and cousin while his father works abroad.

Yuri lives in the hills above the city. His family owns a chain of hardware stores. Yuri’s mother died recently, leaving behind Yuri, his dad and his younger brother. Yuri’s father is currently working abroad, so they video chat often to stay in touch. “Hey son! How have you been? How’s your bro?” Yuri’s dad’s voice is strong and joyful. “Hey Dad, I’m okay. Chad is good.” “Okay great, school going alright? How Uncle and your cousin treating you?”

To be honest, Yuri hates living with his Uncle and cousin. Uncle Joe wasn’t so bad, but his cousin Vincent often make Yuri do things that makes him uncomfortable. He feels really ashamed and doesn’t want to talk to his dad about it, so he just pretends that everything is okay when his dad asks. “It’s okay,” Yuri lies. “I miss you. When are you coming back?” “Aww, I miss you too son, but you know it’s been different since your Mum died. As soon as you’re done with high school you can come live with me.” “But that’s two years!” “It’ll be okay Yuri, tell Uncle Max and cousin Vince I said hi.”

This is the moment Yuri dreads everyday. As he turns the key in the door of his Uncle’s home he secretly hopes that cousin Vince isn’t home. His little brother won’t be home until later when his Uncle picks him up, so it may just be himself and Vince in the house. Vince usually picks on him whenever they were home alone, so Yuri’s aim is to get in the house as quietly as possible and just hide out in his room.

As Yuri enters, he notices Vince playing video games with their neighbour Jeff. He tries to tiptoe as quietly up the stairs as possible. All he wants right now is to spend some time alone in his room.

But Vince did notice when Yuri came home. He knows that Yuri may be trying to avoid him but he doesn’t care. Vince wins his round of the video game and rushes his friend home. His friend is unaware of Vince’s intentions with Yuri, but he has noticed that everytime Yuri got home, Vince ran him off.

Yuri was hungry, so he came down to the kitchen to make himself a snack. Vince comes and begins to taunt him. Yuri knows the ‘game’ Vince wants to play, but he doesn’t find it fun at all. He tries his best to ignore him and hope he will leave him alone this time.

Vince grabs Yuri in a chokehold. “You ready to play our little game?” he asks in a menacing tone. Yuri is filled with fear and finds it hard to talk since Vince’s arms are around his throat. “Leave me alone,” he croaks. “Please!” “Shut up and do wah me say!” With that Vince drags Yuri upstairs.

Later that evening Yuri, Chad, Vince and Uncle Joe gather for dinner. Uncle Joe has noticed that Yuri has seemed a bit depressed the past couple of days. He assumed that this was related to his mother’s death, which has been hard on all of them. It isn’t always easy for guys to talk, but Uncle Joe was getting more worried about Yuri’s sadness and decided to ask him about it. “Yuri, everything okay? How come you so quiet?”

That Weekend, Yuri was at the club for his weekly tennis lesson. He was there a bit early today because he especially wanted to get out of the house before Vince woke up. As he sat and waited for his coach to arrive, he got a call from an unknown number. He answered hesitantly. “Hello… who is this?” he asks.

The voice on the other end says that they are calling from the Office of the Children’s Advocate. Yuri feels a mixture of hope and anxiety and starts to pace as he takes the call. Gently, the man on the line explains that their only concern is for Yuri’s safety and that he can trust them. Their ultimate goal, he tells him, is to find a solution. Little by little Yuri feels more comfortable and soon he shares all of the emotional, physical and sexual abuse that he has been experiencing at home.

A few weeks have passed since Yuri got that first call from the Office of the Children’s Advocate. They have done their investigation and it has been decided that Yuri and Chad would be safest joining their father in Canada as soon as possible. Currently, Yuri, his brother Chad and a representative from the Office of the Children’s Advocate are visiting the Canadian High Commission to try obtain a visa.

Inside the building, Yuri and Chad wait as the man from the Office of the Children’s Advocate speaks with an attendant there. “Do you have the required documents?” the attendant asks. “Yes, they are in this envelope here. We are seeking expedited service based on special circumstances.” Chad is too young to fully understand what is happening but her finds comfort in being by his brother’s side. They exchange looks of sadness and support.

The boys were able to get their expedited visas and traveled to Canada within days! As their father greeted them he felt immense sadness to know what Yuri had been through, but assured him that all will be well now. “Sons, I am so sorry to have left you there, you are safe now.” Yuri gave a half smile. “We love you Dad.” For Yuri, even though he was in a different country, being able to hold his Dad was enough to make him feel right at home.

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Aria had spent most of the day reading Yuri’s story. What a tale of hope! The happy ending gave her a sense of peace and calm, so much so that she fell asleep right there in the middle of her cleaning. When Aunt Susan came home she was angry! “Aria! Why haven’t you finished cleaning the house?!” she shouted. “You have been here all day, you think I have you in my good house to be of no use? You have to earn your stay young lady. I want this place spotless before you go to bed tonight! “

Hours later, Aria has finally finished the long list of chores from her Auntie. Up in her room, as tired as she is, she finds it hard to sleep. Even with the bad treatment from her aunt and uncle, she finds interest in her book. At least she can escape into someone else’s problems.

Lisa's Story

Lisa is a 12 year old girl, working in her parents’ wholesale store. Everyday she daydreams about having the freedom of other children her age…

Lisa is a 12 year old girl, working in her parents’ wholesale store. She attends first form at a nearby school, but has to leave as soon as possible to get home to work. She’s just got back to the store but is a little distracted by thoughts of being elsewhere, anywhere but here. “Little Miss Chin, pass me a blue soap there nuh… Miss Chin?! You nah hear me?!” Lisa is so caught up in her own thoughts she doesn’t even notice the customer in front of her.

Lisa’s parents notice her daydreaming and immediately start speaking aggressively to her. “Lisa! Stop day-dreaming! You don’t see customers waiting!” her dad said. Her mother chimed in, “You always in a your own a world! Why you can’t be focused like Tommy?” This is why Lisa hates working in the shop, there is no escaping their constant criticism. They are always comparing her to her older brother Tommy who is more efficient and does better in school.

Even though she is constantly being compared to Tommy, Lisa and Tommy have a good relationship. He shares a sympathetic look with his younger sister. Tommy feels sad for the way Lisa is treated, and he’s overheard his parents talking about how she wasn’t even wanted. He doesn’t know what say or do, but tries to be as nice to Lisa as possible.

At school, Lisa’s teachers have noticed her daydreaming in class as well. She seems to be unable to focus and has failed a couple of tests recently. After Math class her teacher calls her aside. “Lisa… What is the matter?” Mrs. Brown asks. T”his is the 5th test you’ve failed, but you are a good student. What’s happening?” Lisa held her head low and barely let out a mumble. Her teacher continued “You know when your brother Tommy was here, he was my best student.” Lisa still said nothing and waited for her teacher to be done so that she could leave. All this while, a nosy classmate peeks in through the door and eavesdrops on their conversation.

As Lisa walks out to the playfield during the lunch break, the eavesdropping classmate leads the others in teasing her. “Chiney dunce, chiney dunce!” they scream. “You never know seh Chiney pickney supposed to smart? Ha ha ha!” You see, Lisa’s classmates have always been jealous of her because of her good performance, now they can tease her about how poorly she is doing. Embarrassed, Lisa tries to find a secluded area on the playfiels to stay until lunch break is over.

From his office window, Guidance Counselor Raymond notices what his happening. “What’s going on out there,” he thinks to himself. “Lisa’s teachers have been expressing their concern about her, maybe I should ask her teacher to pardon her near the end of the day so we can have a chat”. Witnessing her withdrawal from the other students made Mr. Raymond believe that Lisa may do well with some guidance.

Lisa answers the phone timidly. On the other end her mother barks at her, asking why she isn’t outside already and saying that they need her at the shop. “Lisa! We’ve been outside for the past 5 minutes, where are you? Come out now! You need to get to work at the shop.” Even though Lisa wasn’t talking, she did a find some peace sitting in the Guidance Counselor’s office. Now that peace was immediately gone. She quickly says goodbye to Mr. Raymond and hurries outside.

The next morning, Lisa is in the kitchen preparing food for her family. This is how it usually is, she is responsible for cooking and cleaning. But this morning her mind is distracted by the concern Mr. Raymond showed her yesterday. She’s starting to wonder if it may be good to talk to someone about how she feels, even though she isn’t sure what to say. Her mother and father are getting impatient at the table as they want to hurry and open the store. As they sit there they grumble about the curse of having a daughter. “Lisa, hurry up with our food! And make sure you clean the house and the store before school.” “Why were we cursed with a daughter? One who can’t even do her role?”

In the Guidance Counselor’s office, Lisa is hesitant to speak about what is happening to her. As Mr. Raymond speaks she stays silent and as far away from him as she possibly can. He speaks to her in a gentle tone, giving her room to respond. “Lisa,” Mr. Raymond says. “I called you in here because you seem to be having a hard time. Your teachers think that you are failing your classes on purpose. Is that true?” But Lisa only sits there silent, with no response.

20 minutes go by and Mr. Raymond began thinking and looking through some of his pamphlets to try to find a way to get through to Lisa. As soon as the bell rings, indicating the end of the school day, Lisa’s phone begins to ring. On the one hand, Lisa doesn’t feel comfortable enough to talk to Mr. Raymond, but on the other she knows who is calling her on the other line and does not want to answer.

As Lisa enters the school hallways that morning Mr. Raymond notices her in her usual mood. Concerned he calls out to her again, hoping she may be more open to talking to him now. “Lisa, are you okay? Come on let’s talk.” He says kindly. “I can’t…” Lisa stutters. “I have to get to class.” “Don’t worry, I’ll talk to your teachers.” “Okay.”

No sooner had Lisa reached in Mr. Raymond’s office than she burst in to tears. She just couldn’t hold in the pain anymore. At first, Mr. Raymond tried to talk to her. “Lisa,” he asked. “Is everything okay at home?” But Lisa was inconsolable, he just sat back and allowed her express herself.

Lisa cried for about an hour in Mr. Raymond’s office. She could hardly pull herself together. As soon as she started talking about everything she had held in, all the pain came rushing to her. She thought of the things her parents would whisper about not wanting a daughter. She thought of the fact that she had no friends because her parents kept on such a tight schedule and all the other students thought she was weird. It hurt her to know that she would never fit in at school and she believed that no one at all cared. As she sat on the floor sobbing, Mr. Raymond began thinking about how he could help.

“I know someone who can help.” After calming her down and talking to Lisa, Mr. Raymond realized that there were a couple issues at play here. For one, they whole school could benefit from a sensitization session regarding respect for fellow students. He also thought an outside voice could offer inspiration for Lisa, to at least recognize that she is not alone. He decided to call the Office of the Children’s Advocates Educational department to see if a workshop could be held at their school.

A few weeks later the Children’s Advocate visited the school to have a talk with the students. In the talk she outlines the need for them to respect each other as well as to respect themselves. Mrs. Gordon Harrison explained that part of self-respect is knowing when you are being mistreated and reaching out for help. Lisa listens intently, it’s the first time anyone has ever told her that she mattered and that her voice was important. She began thinking about Mrs. Gordon Harrison’s advice and made a decision.

The Children’s Advocate advice had pushed Lisa to make a decision to go see Mr. Raymond to talk. She knew that the way she felt was not good and she wanted to get help. She believed that he would be able to help her. She visited his office once more. With tears in her eyes she said “I’m ready to talk.”

Lisa spent about an hour in Mr. Raymond’s office, pouring out her heart. He listened keenly and offered some advice on how she could condition her mind to tune out the negative comments at home and at school. He also suggested that Lisa invite her parents to come to the school. Lisa agreed to visit him once a week to discuss her troubles. Mr Raymond felt happy that Lisa benefitted from the empowerment program with the Office of the Children’s Advocate and that felt safe enough to come talk to him.

Aria had been reading for most of that night already! As tired as she is, she wanted to keep reading. She was inspired by Lisa’s decision to talk to someone. If only she could find someone to talk to. Sleep-eyed and yawning Aria says to herself, “I think I can read one more…”

Brian's Story

Brian is a 12-year-old high school student who has always loved reading and study. Though he is so young, he is already in the third form at his high school. Unfortunately, he experiences some bullying…

Brian has never quite felt accepted at home or at school. Every day, at the end of school he dreaded the short walk home and so would take some time sitting in a nearby park while he lost himself in a book. This was one of his favourite places, sitting in the grass absorbed in study. By 4:30 though, Brian knew he’d have to head home. It was also a good time because most of the kids who bothered him at school would have left by then.

But Brian wasn’t lucky enough to avoid the bullies today. He had to pass the front gate of the school on his way home. The boys called out to him, teasing him about his bag and the size of his head. “Hey big head! How you bag look so big today?! A parachute? “ Brian tried to ignore them, he knew he should have waited those extra four minutes! He started walking a little bit faster, but his bag full of book made it hard for him to move too fast.

Brian’s classmates were feeling particularly mischievous today and chased him to a secluded area close to the school. There they began beating him up. Brian could hardly do anything to defend himself as the boys were a lot bigger than he was.

Even though he lived close by, Brian decided to take a taxi home because he was hurting from the beating. It was even more painful to squeeze between the two other passengers in the back of the taxi, and they didn’t even seem to notice his plight! On the radio, a public service announcement came on that caught his attention: “Child on child abuse is also a problem. The age of criminal responsibility is 12 years old. The Office of the Children’s Advocate is committed to protecting the welfare of ALL our nation’s children. This message brought to you with support from the Canadian High Commission.”

Out of curiosity, Brian took out his phone to look up the Office of the Children’s Advocate as he arrived home. He spent a few minutes browsing their website and recovering from his bruises before going inside. He knew once he got inside that his Dad would ask him about the bruises and he wasn’t sure what he would say.

As soon as Brian walked in his dad enquired about his bruises. His voice was gruff and he a disapproving look on his face. “Brian, a wah happen to you face?” Brian often felt a little intimidated by his father. He stammered a little and then lied about having a fall. “Nuttin daddy, I just fell at school.”

Brian’s dad continued, “You fell, an look suh? I tell yuh seh yuh too soft enuh bwoy. Move from here, me nuh want see you.” He was concerned that he was too “soft” which is why he spoke to him in this way. He could tell that Brian had been in a fight, and had lost. In his mind, his son should be tougher, if he was tough then other boys wouldn’t trouble him in the first place. Brian kept is head low and trudged inside.

Brian plopped on the couch and tried to not to lean too much on the bruised sections of his body. He felt misunderstood by his dad. It felt like he couldn’t escape ridicule, neither at home, nor at school.

These older boys in Brian’s class seemed to find joy in teasing him. He was easy to pick on because he wouldn’t fight back. Brian wasn’t necessarily scared of these boys, he just thought that fighting and aggression was unnecessary. He sat quietly and stared out the window when the lead bully approached him the next morning. “Big head Brian! Where’s my lunch money?” the boy shouted.

Annoyed, Brian responds in a low voice. “I don’t have any money today.” The bully isn’t satisfied with Brian’s words and begins to try to intimidate Brian. He moves in closer and raises his voice in response to him. “What you mean you don’t have no… a wah dis?!”

Just in time the homeroom teacher walks in. “Settle down everyone,” the teacher says. Brian feels a bit relieved because now the bully will have to leave him alone. But before he leaves he threatens Brian saying, “Watch me and you, wait til after school.”

After school Brian tries to leave school as early as possible. He was already off the school property when the gang of bullies spotted him, they began chasing him. Even with his heavy backpack, Brian took off! He wasn’t interested in getting beat up again.

Fed up with being bullied, and not sure where to turn, Brian headed to the Guidance Counselor’s office. He made it clear that he wasn’t trying to get the boys in trouble, in fact he was trying to avoid it. But it was getting more and more difficult to ignore them. He hoped that the Guidance Counselor could offer some insight on what he should do next. “What can I do?” he asked. The Guidance Counselor responded “Brian, hmmm I know this is a hard one and you don’t want to be seen as a snitch. Okay, let’s arrange a sensitization session. Kids need to know that this is not cool.”

The Guidance Counselor thought that the entire school could benefit from an outside perspective on what it meant to be respectful of each other. He thought it would be a good way to address the issue without singling out any one group and making things worse for those being bullied. The Children’s Advocate, Miss Diahann came to address the class, “Hello everyone, I’m here from the Office of the Children’s Advocate. Today we’re going to have a little talk about respect…”

As she wrapped up her speech, the Children’s Advocate said, “Be true to yourself, and report any situation where you do not feel respected. You have rights. Know them.” By the end of her talk, Brian felt a bit more empowered. He was grateful to hear her tell everyone the importance of showing respect to all.

Aria spent most of the night reading her book. It’s been just a couple of days that she’s been at her aunt and uncle’s home in the city, but so much has happened! Based on what she’s read, she starts to wonder what she can do for herself. She woke up early the next morning and tiptoed to her Uncle’s office. That’s where the phone and computer were, but her Uncle was already up and her aunt was ready for her to start working again.

Here we go again! Aria has opened up her book looking for another inspiring story. It begins, “Tashanya is a pretty 15 year old girl from a well-off family. Her father is often traveling and she rarely gets attention from her mother who is always busy running the family business, even when she is home…”

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Tashanya’s Story

Tashanya is a pretty 15 year old girl from a well-off family. Her father is often traveling and she rarely gets attention from her mother who is always busy running the family business…

Saturday mornings are the rare time that Tashanya’s mother is home when she wakes up. It’s just the two of them in the big house, but they have never been close. Tashanya gets dressed to go meet up with her friends. She got dressed in a cute cropped top (that she knew her mother would hate) and headed out. Her mother barely paid notice as she discussed business with one her partners on the phone. “Hey Mum, I’m going on the road with my friends.” “Hmmm?… Alright. Okay, yes Jackie, back to you. Yes the report is ready. Sorry that was just my daughter.”

Tashanya was definitely the popular girl in her clique, but even when she was surrounded by her closest friends she couldn’t help but feel some sadness about her fractured home situation. Her friends wanted to know when her Dad was getting back from his latest trip, he usually returns with fancy gifts for Tash and all her friends. Tashanya was distracted by her own thoughts, she wondered why her mother couldn’t have taken a moment to actually greet her when she was leaving. “Hey Tash, when did you say your Dad is coming home? Tash!” “Huh? Ummm, I don’t think he even wants to come back.”

Tashanya’s friends did help to put a smile on her face though. As they walked down the boulevard, they chatted and laugh with Tashanya as the obvious centre of attention. She was grateful for their attention, but it still felt like something was missing. Things were about to change though, an unexpected encounter was just turning the corner.

The roadway was pretty busy as they teenagers walked along, but one car slowed down after turning the corner. Tashanya had caught the eye of the driver, Don. He drove a matte black high end vehicle and was very confident, if not cocky. He rolled down his window and gave “lyrics” to Tashanya. “I must have driven in to heaven… What a lovely caramel angel! What’s your name cute girl?”

Tashanya’s friends gave each other worried looks. They definitely didn’t think this guy should be talking to Tashanya. He seemed super sketchy… and old! But Tashanya didn’t have the same response, she seemed interested. They knew her to be a little flirty at times, but this looked like flirting with danger.

Tashanya leans over car window. Her friends stand by concerned, and alarmed… whispering to each other, hoping she isn’t doing anything crazy.

Tashanya did use the number after all. The next weekend, after meeting up with her friends, she met Don at a bar close to where they had met the week prior. Tashanya didn’t tell her friends where she was going, and she had a change of clothes in her bag. At the bar, Don sat trying to convince Tashanya to “be” with him. “You know that a lady like you deserves to be treated right? ” he asked. “I can be the man you need.” Tashanya sat there giving him a coy smile and appreciating the attention. Before she could respond her phone rang.

Tashanya answered her phone, it was her mother. She wanted to know why Tashanya wasn’t home yet. “Where are you Tash?!” she asked. “You should have been home long ago!” See, Tashanya’s mother had called her friend Trish and heard the Tashanya had headed for home hours ago. Worried, Tashanya made up a lie about shopping and quickly said good bye to Don. “Ah… I stopped by the mall to shop a little.” She rushed out of the bar and took a taxi home.

Tashanya’s mother had bought her lie. Later that evening Tashanya lay in bed when Don began texting her. He wanted to know when he would see her again.

The conversation continued for a couple of minutes. Tashanya and Don sent flirty texts back and forth to each other. Even though he was almost 15 years older than her, Tashanya felt like she could relate to Don, and he took advantage of her desire for attention. They made plans to go out another time.

Tashanya loved the attention from Don, and he loved having a pretty young thing to call his own. For three weeks they continued texting, getting to know each other and going out on weekends without Tashanya’s mother knowing. Tashanya felt a sense of freedom being with him and she also felt glamorous visiting clubs and bars.

Tonight they joined a group of Don’s friends and their girlfriends. Tashanya noticed that most of the girls were about her age. They all rolled up to Club Exotica, a place Don told Tashanya that she would love. “Babes”, he said. “I think you’re gonna like this club you know.” “Oh ye?” Tash responded. “What makes it different from all the other clubs you’ve taken me to?” “You’ll see.”

Inside Club Exotica, Tashanya and the other girls were quite surprised to see naked ladies dancing around on stage. Tashanya tried to hide her surprise but her face gave it away. She wasn’t sure how to feel when Don suggested they go to the next room, perhaps it would be less shocking. Don led her around to the back to give her a “surprise”. “Come on Babes”, he said as he guided her with his hand on her shoulder. “Let me show you around the back. I have a surprise for you.”

But Tashanya could never have expected what was about to happen next. Don led her to the door of a small room. The door was open and inside a man with a wry look on his face sat on a dirty bed off in the corner. Confused, Tashanya looked to Don with a worried face. With a firm hand on her arm he said “Tash, I think you’re so sweet. I think it’s only fair to share.” “What?!” Tashanya asked with shock. “This is Tim, spend some time with him. I think you’ll like it.” With that, Don shoved her in the room and locked the door. The man on the bed looked at Tashanya with a smirk on his face. “Come een baby, me have sumn nice fi you. “

Tashanya would have never imagined this! Locked in the room she banged on the door, trying furiously to get out! She was terrified. Inside the man was pulling her towards him and she couldn’t get away! Frantically she yelled, “Let me out! Don! Don! No… don’t touch me… don’t touch me!!!!!!! Nooooo!!!!” Tim violated her.

After the ordeal Tashanya was disheveled and confused. It seemed that she may have been drugged because everything was hazy when she came to. Tashanya and the other two girls who were with Don’t friends found themselves in the back of a van. Thoughts began racing through Tashanya’s mind. “Where am I? Where si Don? How could he have done this?” Tahanya felt violated and confused. In the front of the van, the driver had hi mini TV tuned to the news.

The van pulled up to an old yard with zinc fence and an overall shabby appearance. A man pulls open the van door as the girls sit scared and peering out cautiously. He welcomes them to their new “home”. Timidly, the girls filed out of the van and followed him into the building. “Where are we?” they ask. “Where you will be for the rest of your lives.”

One day, a new girl arrives at the house. Tashanya has been at this house for a couple of months now working as a call girl. At first, she tried everything she could to escape, but was beaten severely whenever she tried, or if she refused to do the work. There was no contact with any outside life, just the handlers and her clients. Tashanya shares her story with the girl, hoping to calm her down. “And you’ve been here ever since, Tash?” the girl asked. “Yea, I had nowhere else to go and I’m afraid if I runaway they’ll find me and beat me, it nuh suh bad… you get used to it. But I do miss home…”

As they talk, one of the handlers calls for Tash to come out to the main area. “Tash, a your turn. Hurry and come!” “Aight, me a come!” she responded. She quickly starts arranging her things and give the girl a reassuring look before getting up. Deep inside it hurts her every time she has to meet a new “client” or dance on stage, but if given a choice she preferred dancing since it gave her a small sense of freedom.

While going through her purse Tash finds a piece of paper that she had forgotten about. A couple weeks ago, while out in the town to get new clothes, she had noticed a billboard for the Office of the Children’s Advocate and scribbled the number down. She quickly handed the paper to the new girl. “The first week a di hardest, don’t worry too much it will get easier.” she said. “Oh, one ting… Check out this fi me, saw the number somewhere. Don’t make nobody see you. I did mean fi call it and forget.”

As Tashanya re-enters the room, she notices that the girl is gone. At first, she assumes that she is being groomed, or has been called to serve a client. But then she looks down on her phone as a text comes in. ‘I called the number,’ it reads. ‘ you shuld 2’

Tash smiles as she dials the number and looks out the window. She has a good feeling about this, the phone rings and on the other end Tashanya hears “Good Day, this is the Office of the Children’s Advocate, protecting the rights of our children. How can we help?”

Inspired by the outcome in Tashanya’s story Aria tries to find a resolution to her problem. While her aunt and uncle are asleep, she sneaks in to his study to research this organisation she’s been seeing in her book. One letter at a time she types the letters “Office of the Children’s Advocate” in to the search bar.

After visiting the Office of the Children’s Advocate website, Aria finds their toll-free number and decides to call. With a trembling voice, she asks for help. The operator on the other line listened to Aria’s story and told her not to worry, help would come soon.

That night, Aria sits below her window and stare out at the full moon. She makes a wish to see her mother very soon.

The next day, things took a turn for the better for Aria. The OCA had contacted her mother as part of their investigative processes. Alarmed and unaware of the abuse being laid on her child, Aria’s mother called Aunt Susan right away. She was angry and wouldn’t even let Susan get a word in edge-wise. She vowed to come pick up Aria that very day. “What you saying Sis? You got a call from the OCA? Calm down… I don’t know what you’re talking about!” “What is going on with Aria?! I’m coming for my daughter!”

That evening, Aria’s mother arrived with police officers in tow. Uncle Ted was taken in to custody for questioning, while aunt Susan cried tears of despair. Aria embraced her mother, happy this nightmare was over! She was able to turn a new page on her own life.

After their long journey back home, Aria and her mother are relieved to have her back to safety. Aria’s mother vows to protect her and keep her close. From now on, only positive things will be written in Aria’s Story!

Thank You For Reading Aria’s Story. 

About Aria's Story

Aria’s Story is an initiative by the Office of the Children’s Advocate, Jamaica. The intent is to define and highlight the nature and types of abuse that children, girls and boys, experience and to empower them with information and to take preventative actions and find solutions for those in the centre of abuse.

In the story, Aria faces domestic and sexual abuse. She finds escape by identifying with characters from a book she found one day while cleaning her aunt’s home. This book features six characters and catalogues their lives as they go about their day-to-day activities seeking friendship, avoiding trouble and living seemingly normal lives. However, one thing ties their seemingly disparate stories together; all are victims of abuse in some way, shape, and form.

Aria’s Story encapsulates the experiences of the six culminating in Aria’s own freedom, having learned what each of the six children did to escape their situations and find some semblance of peace and solace in their lives. Stay tuned as we reveal more of their stories each week.
Follow @readariastory on social media to get real-time updates each day.

Funding support by the Canadian High Commission to Jamaica.




Air Jamaica Building, Ground Floor,
72 Harbour Street,
Phone: 948-1293 or 948-1469
Toll Free: 1-888-948-1134
E-Mail: info@oca.gov.jm
Website: www.oca.gov.jm