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Protect Our Girls! Local Organisation Tackles Sexual Abuse

Young girls take part in the Leading Ladies movement.

Young girls take part in the Leading Ladies movement.

By JEFFARAH GIBSON

Tribune Features Writer

jgibson@tribunemedia.net

Thanks to the #MeToo movement, women across the globe have felt empowered to speak out publicly against sexual harassment and abuse in an unprecedented fashion.

The movement, which started in October 2017, has incited bravery among many women who are now taking a stand against grave transgressions committed by men around the world.

And in the Bahamas, the Leading Ladies Organisation is making sexual abuse and violence the focus of its upcoming retreat, which geared towards educating young girls.

Under the theme "Protect Our Girls", the Leading Ladies will be hosting its annual three-day retreat at the Treasure Cay Beach Resort in Abaco. The retreat begins today and ends August 2.

It will take the form of a series of workshops, presentations, meditation and activities for teenage girls in the Abaco community. During the retreat, the young ladies will learn about violence and abuse against women, find the power to speak out against such acts and for the value of life.

The retreat will also feature worship sessions, health and fitness exercises, self-defence sessions by Janice Roberts and an art empowerment session lead by Leanne Russell. Mentors including Jade Williams, a singer/songwriter and a graduate of the University of the Bahamas, BBA and Michelle Louidor, fashion model and founder of Ladies Influence for Tomorrow (LIT), and a member of Savage100 will help to build confidence in the young ladies.

"With recent reports (of abuse) in the Bahamas, we wanted to shed light on this topic of violence against women, a subject so common in Bahamian life yet so readily swept under the rug," said Moline Jeune Pierre, co-founder of the Leading Ladies Organisation.

"We believe that it is important for our girls to be aware of those abuses and it is important for them to know that they have a voice just like those women who have spoken up and that there is power in their voice and in their actions."

Molina teamed up with Chantel O'Brian, former Miss World Bahamas and Bahamian Icon nominee, to establish Leading Ladies as a way to give back to their community and do their part in inspiring young women to believe in themselves, embrace their inner strength and to be brave.

"This retreat is really an opportunity to pour into the lives of these young ladies. Saying that they are the future is cliché, but it is the truth. How they feel about themselves determines their decisions in the future. Not only should they know their worth, but they should know how to react and defend themselves when they are being preyed upon. With some of the personalities we had last year and the new ones, there is no doubt in our minds that the retreat will leave a lasting impression on the girls and of course, their parents," said Chantel.

Moline added: "We definitely hope that the girls learn that they are worthy - worthy of love, worthy of respect and worthy of protection. We encourage persons to visit our website, www.leadingladiesorg.com, and donate to our cause. That way we'll be able to create more safe havens for these young girls, not just in Abaco, but throughout the Bahamas."

Moline has a background in digital marketing, acting, in hosting ("Paradise Tea"), as well as in creative blogging for her page Granted Grace. She has served in the capacity of youth director at her church, Church of God of Prophecy in Dundas Town, for several years. She is an entrepreneur and is also known for her brand, LadyLike Me, and is a mother of two boys and the wife of singer/songwriter Wilner Pierre.

Chantel has always had a love for youth. In addition to participating in organisations such as the Royal Commonwealth Society and Majority Minority Development Association, she's been avid in giving back to young people, especially in her role as youth leader in her church. She's currently a social media coordinator at ALIV Telecommunications and a professional pageant/modelling coach of P S O'Brian Consulting.

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