The Love146 Round Home is a safehome in the Philippines offering holistic aftercare to survivors of child sex trafficking. In the Filipino language, there is a beautiful and rich word for which there is no equal in English. The word is pagdamay.
“Pagdamay” is like sympathy or grief, but those words aren’t deep enough. It is to align yourself — emotionally and practically — with someone in a difficult situation.
A child who has been trafficked and exploited should evoke the deepest “pagdamay” in all of us. The root word — “damay” — implies being pulled into a mess. In the case of trafficking, the mess isn’t simply something that happened in a girl’s life- It is the girl’s life.
The mess is self-contempt, hopelessness, cutting, bittersweet pregnancies and children born of abuse, calls from family asking you to go back to the brothel to earn money so you can feed them, flashbacks, post traumatic stress disorder, STDs, being in love with your trafficker…
Aftercare is a work of “pagdamay.” We must allow ourselves to be pulled into the mess in order to make way for restoration. None of this is easy or comfortable, yet we invite you to enter into the mess. When armed with Love, we have seen beautiful things.