Editorial & Opinion

The courageous resilience of Jocelyn Mae

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What could be worse than to be born an unwanted girl child with a speech and hearing disability due to an alleged botched abortion and to be disowned by her own family?

 

Jocelyn Mae (not her real name) suffered all of that and grew up a neglected impoverished child without any education or ability to talk or understand the world into which she was born. It was a loveless traumatic childhood in an isolated world of fear and loneliness.

But even worse was to come. She was unwanted and rejected by her own father and because of the impairment he gave her away to her grandmother and was deprived of her family life with her half-sisters, children of a previous marriage of her mother. For a few months she went to a special school for impaired children but did not have the family support to continue and had no education whatsoever.

When she was 14-years-old her grandmother was unable to understand her growing teenage frustrations and her disability. Jocelyn was brought back to her family and lived in an uneasy relationship with her half-sisters but her father had no affection or love for her. Jocelyn’s mother left to work as a domestic servant in Qatar and is the only one that is supporting the family .The father has only part time work as a butcher.

To breakout of her world of isolation and speechless silence Jocelyn Mae devised her own rudimentary method of sign language to communicate with them. She could only utter a single sound AAAAHHHHH.

Such disabled children as Jocelyn are prime targets for human traffickers because these cruel heartless criminals know that such children cannot cry out when afraid or hurt and sexually abused. The traffickers think their victims cannot testify against them successfully in a court of law. The system is stacked against such children with disabilities.

Human traffickers have many ploys to abduct children. They sometimes pretend they are charity workers offering help to disabled children and promise free education. In this way they can find where the disabled children are living without arousing suspicion. They wait their chance and then they pounce.

That fateful evening when Jocelyn Mae was sent to the local store in the village to buy snacks for her half-sister the human traffickers were waiting. Richard F. and a woman, ”Nane”, approached her. They were friendly and showed her money and made signs to her that they will buy her nice things and took her away in a tricycle to the 7/11 store where they treated her and introduced to a man by the name of Chris I.

Bewildered and unable to protest she was bundled into a tricycle and taken to the Blue Hotel in Castellijos, Zambales. She was forced inside a hotel room and then repeatedly raped by the suspect Chris A.I.

When Jocelyn did not come home from the corner store her sisters raised the alarm that she was missing. They went around asking where she was last seen and got a tip off from someone in the 7/11 that she was seen with the two men. The trafficker Richard F. was identified. He was arrested and he told the police where Chris I. had brought Jocelyn. The next day the police and father found her in a hotel room with the abuser. The trafficker Richard F. was jailed with Chris I. Shockingly the father decided not to file charges and dropped the complaint allegedly in return for a pay off and the suspects were set free.

Despite the overwhelming indisputable evidence of a heinous crime of multiple acts of rape against a vulnerable disabled 14 year old discovered by the police themselves and the suspects were allowed to go free.

Even though they were “Caught in the Act,” confessed to the crime, amazingly the chief of police of Castelljos did not pursue charges against the two. However he may yet do so.

The child Jocelyn was taken home by her two half-sisters who were very angry at her and blamed her for having been abducted and sexually abused. Among some families this is a common attitude. Considering her a bad girl they forcibly held her down and cut off her beautiful head of flowing hair. She suffered bruises and abrasions when she fought back and resisted. The municipal social worker of Castellijos heard about this further abuse of the child brought her to the Preda home for Girls.

The Preda social workers and therapists supported Jocelyn and with the help of her now repentant half-sister the Preda Foundation social workers were able to communicate with her in rudimentary sign language. After some weeks of therapy and group interaction Jocelyn became part of the Preda family and showed her resilience and fighting spirit. She experienced the welcome and friendship of the other girls and staff and the love she never had. In the therapy room she vented out her anger and frustration at her abusers and family.

The Preda paralegal and social workers helped her make her formal criminal complaint against her abusers. With the help of the provincial prosecutor the criminal case will surely bring them to court and with a just and fair judge they will be held accountable for their crimes of trafficking, rape and sexual abuse.

Jocelyn is now safe and happy in the Preda Family of recovering survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation. She is enrolled in a special school for impaired children. She is learning fast and has a happier brighter future ahead of her and her beautiful hair is growing back again.

 

 

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