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Sunday 25 June 2017

Jermaine full of praise for Dublin model's anti-abuse campaign

Monika Walsh
Monika Walsh
Monika and Jermaine Jackson
Monika Walsh

Jermaine Jackson has praised a Dublin beauty queen who is campaigning to help victims of domestic violence after she lost her own godmother to abuse.

Monika Walsh (35) met Michael Jackson's brother when she was invited to attend the Cannes Film Festival by a London fashion designer.

Impressed

Jermaine (62) a one-time member of the Jackson 5, congratulated Monika, a former Mrs Universe Ireland, from Blanchardstown, on her work with the international charity Queens Without Scars.

"I met Jermaine at a private party in Cannes and he talked to me about my charity work and campaigning," Monika said.

"He was really nice, he has a soft voice just like Michael, but when he sang you could hear the power.

"He told me 'well done' for what I'm doing and he genuinely seemed impressed.

"He told me he always supports charity and it was such an important thing that I'm doing."

Queens Without Scars is a group of beauty queens who campaign against domestic violence, and Monika has been at the forefront of that movement.

Jermaine's ex-wife Halima Rashid was infamously arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in November 2015.

Jermaine, then 60, called the police after he claimed his wife bit him on the leg at their Woodland Hills, California, home.

She was jailed for five hours and released on a $50,000 (€44,000) bail.

Jermaine later insisted he loved his wife and wanted to work things out, but the pair divorced last year. At the Cannes party, Monika said Jermaine was looking "very happy" with his new young girlfriend, 23-year-old Maday Velazquez.

"They looked so happy and were together holding hands all the time," Monika said.

"It was really special to meet him - he really cares about this issue."

Suffered

Monika, a mother-of-one who is married to 35-year-old Kieran Walsh, was born in Poland. She started campaigning for victims after entering beauty pageants, where she met contestants who had suffered violence in the home.

"My godmother, Halina Cegla, was only 35 when she died and left behind two young children," she said. "I was only a child when this happened, but it stayed with me. She was beaten and pushed against a wall and eventually she was hurt so badly, she died.

"No one should suffer like that. That's why I speak out - I want victims to know they don't have to do this alone."

For anyone affected or concerned about domestic violence, a list of services and helplines are available on whatwouldyoudo.ie

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