Fri | Sep 20, 2019

Miss Universe Jamaica finalist tackles sexual abuse with high fashion

Published:Sunday | August 25, 2019 | 12:24 AM
Miss Universe Jamaica finalist and sexual abuse survivor, Annecia Morgan, hands over a cash donation of $40,000 to executive director and co-founder of Eve for Life (EFL) Joy Crawford, at EFL offices in Kingston, recently.
Miss Universe Jamaica finalist and sexual abuse survivor, Annecia Morgan, hands over a cash donation of $40,000 to executive director and co-founder of Eve for Life (EFL) Joy Crawford, at EFL offices in Kingston, recently.

Miss Universe Jamaica (MUJ) finalist Annecia Morgan made good on her promise to support young, vulnerable girls whose lives have been disrupted by sexual violence and HIV and AIDS. She recently made a donation of designer clothing, footwear, and $40,000 to Eve For Life’s (EFL) Mentor Moms.

Mentor Moms is geared at providing emotional support and guidance through mentorship to adolescent girls served by the organisation.

The initiative, which forms part of Morgan’s altruistic project with the MUJ pageant, has seen her lending her voice to the call for more support of girls and protection by the State from the perpetrators of sexual violence against them.

“It means everything to me to be able to support Eve For Life by making even a small difference to the work they do. The organisation has been a lifeline for many young girls who have suffered the horrible experience of sexual abuse, some of whom are living with HIV, and they deserve to get every support they can,” said Morgan, who, along with her agent, Dwayne Hinds, handed over the items to EFL’s Joy Crawford and Shantal Facey.

The items of clothing were made possible by Sashauna Guthrie through her Get Fab Now Fashion outlet in Kingston. Guthrie lost her brother to HIV and AIDS two years ago.

EFL’s executive director and co-founder welcomed the donation, noting that it signalled support for the girls by a growing cross-section of society.

“The support from Miss Universe finalist Annecia to Eve for Life is very significant and important as we are in support of persons who have a platform being able to discuss the issue around the cause and the clients who we serve. The donation of the designer wear to the Mentor Moms affirmed our commitment to ensuring that they are able to experience the best of all sectors has and also that the clients are reassured that the wider Jamaican society, and not just the health sector, has an interest in them,” said Crawford.

DETERMINED SURVIVOR

Herself a survivor of sexual abuse, an assault which, she says, started when she was eight and continued for seven years, Morgan emphasised that she was determined not to be defined by her childhood trauma.

“I could have allowed this to take over my life, but I refuse to. There’s nothing that says I cannot accomplish everything I set out to make of my life. I am so much more than the pain and betrayal that this person inflicted on me. I am a survivor,” the poised and positive young woman said.

Morgan, 23, who has graced runways in Europe, is also using her MUJ platform to raise ­awareness of the stigma and ­discrimination of people living with HIV and AIDS by ­highlighting how they are affected when they are shut out of their communities.

Morgan lost her mother to AIDS-related complications in her pubescent years and was raised by an aunt, whom she says stepped in at the right time.

Located in Kingston, EFL is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to supporting ­adolescent girls who have suffered sexual abuse and violence and those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in Jamaica.

Morgan is set to take the stage with 17 other contestants who will vie for the crown of Miss Universe Jamaica Beauty and Wellness on August 31 at the National Arena.

The winner of the local leg of the pageant will go on to represent Jamaica in South Korea at the Miss Universe contest in December.