At the end of 1993 a small group of professionals agreed that we needed an organization to focus on child sexual abuse. We worked for a year collecting research and understanding the issue and finalizing the name of our organization. In 1995 the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse opened its doors to do exactly what its name states. We framed our work based on the environment at that time. Our frame of reference has changed over the years and the development of our logo reflects the journey we have taken along with the country.
Child sexual abuse is extremely complicated and its eradication requires understanding and working on each of the individual pieces to this vast puzzle. In 1995 the country was putting much needed effort into the pieces of the puzzle related to sex tourism and prostituted children. Many, but far fewer, were dealing with children who were being abused not by foreigners, but by family and community members. The level of understanding about abuse by family members at that time can be seen with three sharings:
When an experienced teacher was asked how much does child sexual abuse by family members exist in the Philippines – she responded that we are a Catholic country so she believes only about 5% of our children experience sexual abuse. An experienced social worker was asked the same question – she responded that we value extended families in the Philippines so stated that perhaps 5% of our children experience sexual abuse.
A common awareness raising exercise in sessions led by CPTCSA the participants were asked to analyze a story about a girl who dresses sexily to visit her boyfriend and is raped in the process. 20 years ago, most of the participants would state that the most objectionable person in the story was the girl and that she was at fault for being raped.
Teachers insisted that no student in their class was being sexually abused because certainly they, as their teacher, would know.
Not really understanding the issue meant that no matter how many pieces of the puzzle we build, there will always be many gaps because those pieces won’t fit together firmly. A big part of the problem was that we often couldn’t even talk about the issue because we, and especially our children, did not feel comfortable or were even punished for using the names of our private body parts. This most basic part of discussing sexual abuse was needed to build any paradigm for developing programs and this inhibited us for so long.
When we opened our services, our logo was a butterfly. The butterfly represents the fact that while there is beauty in all our children, because child sexual abuse is not understood, we are all fragile. The whole with their lack of awareness was far more powerful than the individual child, victim, and even organizations working for and with this population. In our first 20 years we perhaps had more failures than successes because of this fact – but in the end we feel we have come out strong, we have learned from our many failures, we have bonded with many others, and we have made a difference.
Some of our many accomplishments because we listened to and bonded with others include the National Awareness Week for the Prevention of Child sexual Abuse and Exploitation held each second week of February, the DepEd order mandating PSL, publication of local groundbreaking research for the Philippine Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, and even the beginning of including this difficult issue in every day discussion as Eugene Evasco stated in his essay on the history of Philippine children’s literature.
Paglalathala ng mga aklat pambata kaugnay sa proteksiyon ng bata laban sa seksuwal na pang-aabuso. Nauna nang nailathala ang Ang Batang Ayaw Gumising (UNICEF Manila, 1997) ni Rene Villanueva, guhit ni John D. Crisostomo, isang kuwento tungkol sa seksuwal na pagmolestiya sa isang bata. Nananatili lamang kontrobersiyal at mapangahas ang akdang ito. Mahalaga ang ambag ng mga aklat gaya ng Hoy bata! Mahalaga ka! Sina Biboy at Nina para sa patakaran ng ligtas na paghawak (2006), Ang aking aklat para sa pansariling kaligtasan (2003), at ang Erika and Jay Learn the Touching Rules (2005) na inilathala ng Center for the Protection and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse. Dagdag pa rito ang Ang Lihim ni Lea (Adarna, 2007) ni Augie Rivera, guhit ni Ghani Madueño.
After 20 years it was clearly time for the fragile butterfly to rest with our thanks.
Since CPTCSA opened, and based on research and experience, for #1 above regarding the prevalence of child sexual abuse in the country we had to ask the question, “Is it really only at 5% of our population?” We as a professional community now know that being Catholic or in an extended family does not protect children. We know that sexual abuse covers a wide range of behavior and is not confined to penetrative behavior. We now know that at least 25% of our children, perhaps more boys than girls, experience sexual abuse in some form. And many of the perpetrators are children themselves.
For #2 above, we have come to note that now when the same story of the sexily dressed girl is analyzed, most will state that the most objectionable person in the story is the man who raped her instead of the girl who behaves like a teenager and dresses inappropriately.
And for #3 above, teachers are realizing that children are resilient, they do not obviously show or behave as though abused, and certainly do not disclose easily. Our students must feel safe to disclose and our environment is not necessarily a safe place to do so.
And so, what should our new logo be?
Let’s begin with our color.
Our butterfly was lavender in colour because we liked that colour. No thought was put into possible symbolism of colour – we now know that lavender or purple represents a color indicating inclusiveness and acceptance of all gender identifications, and sexual orientations. While we do focus on sex as an important component of sexual abuse of children, this is not really what our organization represents.
We are no longer lavender, but have chosen green. In the Philippines green traditionally represents eternity, family, harmony, health, peace, and posterity. All these are core concepts when addressing child sexual abuse.
So what about the design? The transformation of CPTCSA has taken 20 years and has been built on the resilience and many strengths of our people and culture, building the complicated interconnectedness of communities, and increasing our strength by bringing together knowledge, technology, and the many pieces of the puzzle necessary to end child sexual abuse. We chose a geometric design to represent this effort to help pieces of the puzzle fit together well.
CPTCSA has been listening to the many stakeholders in the field of child sexual abuse, especially our children and their families. CPTCSA has been working to bridge the education gap about child sexual abuse and facilitates the conversation with strong, effective content which finds its way into the center of conversation, and helps to provide words and knowledge where people may be unsure of what to say or how to approach a problem. This image positions CPTCSA as a well-established, serious expert in the field that intends to continue to be in the center of a critically important ongoing discussion.
Our logo is a word bubble that comes from the bottom upwards. We wish to continue to focus on the bottom up approach in order to gather information from those who work with the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse on the front lines, and to develop content and solutions based on those experiences.
Child sexual abuse needs to be discussed in the open. Preventing child sexual abuse is everyone's business, and can only be prevented through education.
Since we opened as the 1st organization to focus on csa, many other organizations and programs have popped up, many trained by us. We rejoiced when we heard about each new project. They are fulfilling many needs at different levels. For us now, we are challenged to go even further up river, building bridges and filling gaps by using kapwa and the many Filipino strengths to help overcome our weaknesses.
CPTCSA is now re-framing our work to take the next step to eradicate child sexual abuse. Our vision does not change. But we acknowledge the progress made and thus our need to continue to fill new gaps that exist and work to continue to build forward with new innovations and leadership.
So, after 20+ years who are we now? We are no longer the delicate butterfly, although still beautiful and vulnerable. We are now strong, standing with many others.
So we have developed a new logo to represent the next leg in our journey to eradicate child sexual abuse.