Davina Smith tells a harrowing tale of allegedly having been molested by a trusted relative – giving birth to his child as a 15-year-old ninth-grade student, and 17 years later, now doing what she can to save the daughters of others.
Smith, 31, is the founder of “Save Our Daughters 242: Changing the World, One Girl at a Time”, a non-profit organization geared toward encouraging and inspiring teen girls and young women to live out their full potential no matter what they face in life.
“The organization was formed to shine light on issues that many are afraid to talk about,” said Smith. “I was molested by a man I thought was supposed to protect me, love me and guide me – but [who] instead molested me. I was told never to tell anyone because it would ruin my family. I was told that no man would ever want me if they knew my story. So, I grew up thinking that I wasn’t good enough.”
Smith says she knows that she’s not the only young lady to have faced battles, but she wants them to be able to come out on the other side the way she did. She is seeking to empower young ladies through her “You Are Royalty Gala”, a free event for girls ages 12 to 18, to be held November 30, at the Edmund Moxey Community Centre, between 6 p.m. and 10 .m., at which Brinique Gibson, former Miss World Bahamas; Jesadette Hepburn, strategist/safety expert and CEO of Pregnancy to Pre-School Expo; and Alexandria Mackey, attorney, will speak.
“The main purpose of the event is to empower our daughters. I realize a lot of our daughters have been battling – they’ve been faced by so many things … and if we empower our daughters, we then empower our women to be great citizens of this country. I want them to know that they are royalty and are loved, regardless of what it is they’ve been going through. I want them to know if God can do it for me, He can do it for them. And the speakers are three dynamic young women that I think would be an asset to the young ladies to empower them,” said Smith.
“We wanted the girls to feel and know that they are royalty no matter what they are faced with daily. We know that life can be challenging, so we planned a day of royalty for the girls in attendance.”
Smith said the inappropriate touching began at age six and evolved into sexual intercourse during her teenage years – the result of which was not only the loss of her innocence, but the conception of the oldest of her four children.
“I was a ninth-grade student, and I fell sick. They sent me to the nurse. The nurse asked me a few questions and by my response she sent me to the restroom to [urinate], and then she found out I was pregnant. She said ‘Davina I’m going to have to call your parents in’ and I just started crying.”
Smith recalled her parents coming to the school, her getting scared and just keeping quiet, not saying anything. She said she kept quiet until her daughter was a year old, and the male relative continued to molest her, even though she refused. She said she got tired of him forcing himself on her and she ran away and found herself riding the bus going in circles as she tried to figure out a plan to get away from what was happening to her. Eventually, she found herself at a friend’s house for a few days until her aunt found her at a bus stop. She recalled the process that saw her being admitted to Sandilands Adolescent Centre for approximately six months. She also says no paternity test was ever administered to her daughter to determine if the male relative was her parent.
Smith says she stands by her truth after having lived a lie for a very long time. She also says her daughter is aware of her parentage. The now mom of four also credits God and her deceased husband Santonio Smith with helping her to get to where she is today and her ability to open herself up and seek to help others.
“Even though I was married I was still damaged. I asked God to help me and save me and told him if he helped me I would help other young girls to get through and overcome whatever it is they’re going through, but I just need you to save me from me. I vowed to God that if he saved me from myself that I would be the one to advocate on behalf of the voiceless, and so ‘Save Our Daughters’ was birthed three years ago, and I have been doing the work ever since.”
Smith said she also had to find it in her heart to forgive the male relative who stole her innocence.
“I had to forgive him, so I let God handle everything else.”