Response to sexual abuse
Recent cases of sexual abuse, especially of minors, move us to reflect on certain characteristics of our society. The report on incest shows how some parents view their children.
Fathers in the case of incest feel they have a right to do as they please because the children belong to them. This sense of ownership has been seen in the cases of cyberpornography that victimized our children.
Mostly this has resulted in a degree of emotional, psychological confusion on the part of the children who had been victims. With the presence of child and women advocates, these children have undergone debriefing. Those who had not benefited from these experienced lifelong trauma from such violation.
Before, I noticed a great deal of victim-blaming. Why was she roaming around late at night?
She deserves such treatment because of that provocative get-up. Aside from those, complainants became further victimized by macho jokes. Recently I have been relieved to hear that there has been assistance and a variety of support.
The action of church officials towards the priest charged with qualified trafficking (accused of using the services of a pimp to have sexual services of a young girl — both minors) has been speedy and business like, with no defensive statements.
This an improvement from our being asked to stop pursuing a case of a priest accused of sexual harassment.
Many will say that to understand violence against women and children, we have to look at it from the perspective of power. Inequality in power between females and males is actually a big issue.
As has been earlier said, fathers have this sense of power over their children. Many husbands continue to have such control over their wives — at times forbidden to work and kept domesticated.
In an earlier time, pre-colonization, women had more power.
In fact, while many females now would take the trouble to attract a man, before males would make sacrifices to give pleasure to females. But there have been more than three centuries of Spanish colonial rule and decades of American colonization.
Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil describes this influence as three centuries of friar influence followed by years of the influence of Hollywood.
The parish priest was the most powerful person in the islands during Spanish colonial rule.
He was even more powerful than the governor general because of his close contact with the people. The historian Agoncillo declared that the priests of the period instructed women to be faithful to their husbands even when they were immoral.
This led our class to a discussion of the double standard of morality by which many females continue to suffer.
While females were taught that their main role was to give birth to children and rear them, they were forbidden to display themselves to attract a man.
Don’t you think that has been a challenge for females to be honest about their feelings and straightforward in their relationships?
So while sexual exploitation still continues to plague our females and children, we will push for empowerment and sexuality education. Again I will clarify that sexuality education is different from sex education.
It is not only biological information. It is not instruction on sexual intercourse.
It is age-appropriate holistic learning about one’s self, needs, emotions and relationships. In the past, we had consulted parents about this and they preferred that the school play a greater role of this form of empowerment.
Sexuality education nowadays would even include knowledge of laws to protect women and minors. But sexuality education would not only be for females but for all the students.
Here young people can also learn about wholesome expressions of affection.
They will be able to be comfortable with warm, healthy, even healing touch as opposed to the malicious touch of sexual harassment.
A well-planned sexuality education curriculum could reduce unhealthy sexual explorations and lessen teenage pregnancy.
It is more helpful for your children if parents go to the school and take a look at the sexuality education curriculum and actual teaching than just to oppose it.
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