Opening up and speaking about their traumatic experiences can be excruciatingly difficult for young victims of sexual abuse and exploitation— especially when they are surrounded by people who do not understand what they are going through. This is exactly the reason why Plan International Philippines (PIP) saw the need to launch its book entitled Face Your Peers on March 7 of this year. The book hopes to inspire the members of the youth to become “Superheroes for Others” by simply fostering an environment that is more compassionate and understanding toward young abuse victims.
According to Dennis O’Brien, country director for PIP, abuse victims need to be surrounded by people–and peers–whom they feel safe with, and who are willing to listen and understand their stories. “We need young people to speak out and foster an environment of healthy and open discussions on exploitation. We need young people who have the confidence and capability to stand up for themselves and their peers,” he wrote.
The book features three modules that will guide young readers on how they can become effective support systems for victims of abuse. The first module, Becoming a Peer Educator, gives readers a list of activities and tips on how to assess themselves to see if they are physically, mentally, and psychologically fit to provide support for victims. The second module, Understanding Commercial and Online Sexual Exploitation of Children, educates readers about the realities of sexual abuse and exploitation in the Philippines, and provides an understanding of how a perpetrator’s mind works. The last module, Establishing Support Mechanisms, discusses how peers can connect with abuse survivors on a more personal level, and what possible support or treatment services they should offer them.
While inspiring the youth to influence change is the primary goal of Face Your Peers, campaigns and advocacy specialist Pauline De Guzman says that it still is the duty of everyone–regardless of age and status–to show warmth and be more compassionate to others. “A strong woman stands for herself, but a stronger woman helps others stand for herself,” she said.
Are you a young person who wants to make a difference? Visit PIP’s website to get a free digital copy of Face Your Peers!
Text by Aizel Dolom. Photos courtesy of Plan International Philippines.
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