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A Child Finds Justice When her Abuser gets Life in Prison

December 11, 2017 · 

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A Child Finds Justice When her Abuser gets Life in Prison
Francisco B. Bermido, Jr.

There is the growing knowledge that child sexual abuse is a serious crime especially by children themselves. When eight-year old Jessica was on her way to school in Bacong, Bataan, her neighbor Reynaldo Quiambao accosted her and asked her to go buy him a cigarette. She did it and when she came back to him he took her inside his house, into a bedroom and raped her. She was crying and begging to be let go. After the act of sexual abuse, he gave her twenty pesos (about $0.40 ). She went to school and was crying. Her teacher told her to stop crying and asked why but she was afraid of her teacher. When she went home she was crying and courageously told her elder sister Juliet. That was in August 2011. Her mother was very angry and immediately they went to the police and reported the incident. They responded and as it was within the legal time frame the accused was arrested and jailed under the inquest procedure.

The family sought the help of the Preda Foundation legal team and since Jessa was still traumatized she was admitted to the Preda Home for Girls. There, she felt safe and secure from her attacker and was welcomed by the other children who had similar experiences. She took the Emotional Expression Therapy and overcame the trauma and began to be happy and play and study again in Preda. She was empowered even at that early age and she was able to testify in court and point out the abuser and tell her story. It was like another #MeToo.

However, it took from February 2012 until October 2017 for the court to decide that the accused was guilty and he received a life sentence. Jessa is now back with her family and continuing her studies with the help of Preda Foundation. It is a happy conclusion to a very serious and traumatic experience for the child who will remain with her all her life but yet she was able to cope with it and overcome the negative effects. The sentence to life in prison for her abuser will help her believe that justice has been done and she has won the greatest victory of her young life.

We need many more such victories. There has to be more empowerment of young and older children and women to enable them to speak out and tell when they are abused. It is shocking that statistics shows one-in-four children worldwide are victims of sexual harassment or abuse. Every minute a women is raped. It is all around us. We just have to find it ourselves and take action to defend the victims.

 

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