‘BE THE SOLUTION!’: CAMELEON urges public to help fight child sexual abuse inWV

In 2017, 2.95 million girl children have experienced sexual violence in the Philippines, according to the Council for the Welfare of Children. In Western Visayas, the Women and Children Protection Desk of the Philippine National Police reported that 3,299 children were sexually abused in the same year.

While the Philippine National Police Region VI recorded 451 reported cases of sexual abuse committed against children as of last quarter of 2019.

One out of five children experience sexual abuse at home, at school or in the community according to UNICEF. Every hour, one woman or child is raped, based on police records cited by the Center for Women’s Resources.

To make the situation worse, the Philippines is one of the countries in the world that has the lowest age of sexual consent in determining statutory rape which is at 12 years old – a major obstacle faced by victims during court trials to prove the act was nonconsensual.

Seeing the growing numbers of rape victims in Visayas in the past, French national Laurence Ligier founded CAMELEON Association Inc. a non-profit, non-government organization in 1997.

Its mission is to rehabilitate girl survivors of sexual abuse in Western Visayas, and to provide educational support and sustainable livelihood opportunities for economically disadvantaged children and their families.

Presently, the association supports the healing of a total 130 young girl survivors of sexual abuse in its two centers in Passi City, Iloilo and one in Silay City, Negros Occidental.

To promote awareness of the crime of child rape, CAMELEON Association Inc. enjoins the nation in the observance of the National Awareness Week for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on February 10-14, 2020, as declared in Presidential Proclamation No. 731 series of 1996.

With this year’s theme “I am the solution!” CAMELEON strongly encourages the public to participate in their respective communities to uphold policies that protect children from sexual exploitation. Being one of the most underreported form of abuse, the association urges ordinary citizens to report the crimes to the authorities.

Children who have experienced sexual abuse tend to self-blame, fall into depression, use illegal drugs, and worse, commit suicide to cope with the trauma. People must take action by reporting cases of rape to Women and Children Protection Desk of the Philippine National Police, City or Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, and to Barangay Officials.

Standing up to crimes that conservative Filipino society consider to be taboo and vulgar can be a daunting task, but our children need strong adults with big voices to fight for them.

Together, let’s raise our voices so children can be heard; silence is not the answer.

By helping CAMELEON, you contribute to building child sexual abuse-free communities. Help girl survivors of sexual abuse heal and recover from their trauma by sharing your generosity through donations (in-kind and cash), becoming a sponsor, and contributing as a volunteer. Visit our website at www.cameleon-association.org or our social media FB: @cameleonphils & Instagram: @cameleonphilippines. Email us at communications@cameleonph.org.