Prevention of child sexual abuse needs advocacy, action

CHILD sexual abuse is a serious matter and preventing it will require education, awareness, and collaboration in the community.

Non-government organization Cameleon Association Inc. said the community has the responsibility to keep the children safe and be free from child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Japhet Grace Moleta, advocacy coordinator of Cameleon Association, said the environment or the surroundings where a child lives is a factor in the prevalence of child sexual abuse.

“That’s why we emphasized to the children that we talked to that they should protect their private parts – the mouth, the chest, and the parts between the legs and the buttocks,” she said.

Data from the Iloilo Police Provincial Office showed that a total of 102 cases of rape were reported in 2016. Of the figure, 27 cases are incestuous rape and 8 are statutory rape.

Moleta said that among young children, the lack of general and sex education is cited as the reason why two out of three children do not report the crime.

“Many cases are unreported and the perpetrators are relatives,” she said.

She said that this hardship is worsened by the abuse caused by the very people whom the children trust and go to for protection.

Meanwhile, Blessa Marie Libo-on, Cameleon advocacy and communications staff, shared the three touching rules to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation.

“First is shout, so if may nagpalapit sa imo nga perpetrator or stranger who would touch you on your private part or nagpakita sa imo sang porn material, the child should ‘shout’ just to say no (if a perpetrator or stranger approaches you and would touch you on your private part or show you a a porn material, the child should shout),” she said.

Libo-on said the second rule is to “run” away from that person and the third is to “tell” that incident to the person they trust.

Founded in 1997 by French national Laurence Ligier, Cameleon is a non-profit, non-government, humanitarian organization aimed to provide healing and rehabilitation to sexually abused and maltreated girls in Western Visayas.

With a center at Sablogon village, Passi City, the organization also provides educational assistance to children from poor communities in the neighboring communities.

The second week of February of every year is declared as the “National Awareness Week for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation” by virtue of Proclamation No. 731. (PIA-Iloilo)

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