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The Silence of the Victims

January 6, 2010 · 

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This is the story of a Filipino child, Angel-grace, one of many, representative of millions around the world. I will be frank in telling her story. My readers will want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They will settle for nothing less difficult as it may be to open the shutters and allow the blinding light shine in.

When she was five years old, this child was living in a poor family in Angeles city, two hours North of Manila known for attracting and encouraging sex tourism, locals and foreigners. As a result, the moral fabric of society is shredded and in all the other places where such abuse is tolerated.

The culture of corruption and the sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children is rampant, ignored, denied and covered up by the authorities, a source of profit by the business community and political advantage by the politicians. It is here that such a degenerate environment fosters alcoholism, drug-abuse, broken homes, abandoned, unwanted children and fosters the spread of diseases especially HIV-AIDS.

Angel-grace was raped one night by her step-father, as I said, she was five years old and it happened again and again. This is not a rare or shocking event; it is a common crime in every nation around the world. Mostly it goes unreported because what can a five year-old do or a child of any age do, to resist, cry out, overcome the fear planted with threats and intimidation? What can a helpless child do against a grown man, her own father, a grandfather, a step-father, a live-partner, or a brother, a pedophile, or a sex tourist?

Nothing! Until one day, she sees a glimmer of hope, learns that there is someone who cares, someone she can trust and ask for help and who will respond immediately and know what to do. The Preda Home for abused children is filled with 56 victims of such abuse at any given time. They keep on coming, our therapists and counselors keep on healing and helping them and our legal office keeps on fighting legal battles that they can hardly ever win. But while there will be healing there will be a scar, a hurt and a break that can never be undone. Until justice is done there is never closure, it is a memory that cannot be forgotten.

The crux of the crime is that the hateful and evil act is done with the additional abuse of power, position, ascendancy and total absence of adult responsibility. It is evil to inflict hurt, pain and harm and exploit the vulnerability and weakness of the helpless child. The victim is frozen in fear, terror, shock that in most cases in a life of buried secrets and silence. It is a pain that we can never know the full extent, only the victims who can hardly bring themselves to talk about it.

Angel-grace was silent for years but then told her mother who called her a liar and warned her not to make up such lies her step-father was the only source of food for the family, she said. She was burdened with three other children, she would not go up against him.

Angel-grace ran away and lived in the streets and joined other children with similar stories and they wandered the streets as beggars, street children, unwanted and rejected. By eleven years old, she had no education, no self-awareness, saw no value in life, just lived by an instinct to survive. Soon a female pimp was offering Angel-grace hamburgers and drinks and money to go with foreign tourists and massage them. She taught her how and soon the child was into it.

For two years she lived such a life with no thought of an alternative, this was her life, this was her future, always poor, always wanting and longing for something she never had – to be loved. (to be continued)

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