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Philippine Journal of Child Sexual Abuse – Volume 4, 2014
Students’ Responses to Personal Safety Lessons in Zamboanga Pensinsula: Results from Focus Group Discussions
Maria Theresa Cordial-Gulapa, RSW
Nationwide the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse, together with the Department of Education, has implemented Personal Safety Lessons (PSL) in 10 regions, 58 school divisions and over 510 schools. It was taught to over 100,000 students since it was piloted in 1995. Appropriate research was conducted throughout the process to assess student learning, teacher awareness and readiness to teach, parent participation, and general system preparedness to respond.
During the first 15 years, the project had been concentrated in Luzon and Visayas areas. In 2011, the PSL project expanded into the Zamboanga Peninsula for two reasons. One, is that there had been a high prevalence of child abuse cases reported to DSWD in Region 9. The second, is that it was a response to the government’s call to prioritize humanitarian and social welfare efforts in Mindanao due to its social and political instability and peace issues.
In previous years, assessment of the materials and methodology were sought using pre- and post-tests. The issues to assess learning were body access, private body parts, touch, safety rules, secrets, blame, intuition, support system, assertiveness and self-esteem. However, because of the cultural and other issues that differ between Luzon and Visayas, we felt the need to expound on the data previously collected. For this purpose, we selected the focus group discussion technique in order to give more meaning to the generic pre- and post-test examinations done in Luzon.
Three of the issues were predominant: 1) Body access and touch: Most of the elementary students viewed PSL as lessons that help protect them from ‘bad” people”, dangerous situation/s and unwanted touch. Secondary students were more specific by stating that the lessons are for child sexual abuse prevention. 2) Safety rules: It appears that
safety rules related to stranger danger is dominant. 3) Private body parts: The issue of sex remains a major factor, with difficulties talking about sex perhaps impeding effectiveness of personal safety lessons.
However, of significance is that the students enjoyed the methodology of open discussion used in the lessons. They recognized the importance of the subject because they are aware of the issue from the media. They stated clearly that all students should learn prevention.
A partial list of unpublished Philippine university research related to child sexual abuse
Monaliza V. Calapini-Prasad and Lois J. Engelbrecht
The purpose of the Philippine Journal of Child Sexual Abuse is to encourage Philippine-based research that will facilitate to build a national paradigm for child protection. Most research is western-based and published in western international journals. This journal aims to publish indigenous research in order to develop effective services to our indigenous population. This appears a daunting challenge. Yet local research does exist, albeit mostly unpublished.
The search for university research yielded a healthy list. This article shares a mere handful from some of the Luzon and Visaya universities. The next issue will share Mindanao research. The research chosen to share were not for any particular purpose except to show the multidisciplinary nature of the issue.
In order to maintain the integrity of the individual authors, very little editing was done on the text. The purpose of what editing did occur was to report the research in a somewhat similar format. This was a challenge because the research was done at different levels (course work, thesis, dissertation) and from different universities and thus using different formats with different expectations and standards.