“I was the victim of sexual abuse by my father when I was a child. But the worst thing for me was discovering, several years later, that my little daughter also suffered from my ex-partner ”. Thus begins the story of Nuria Calero, one of the three testimonies that star in the new awareness campaign against child sexual abuse of the Vicki Bernadet Foundation.
Parents, grandparents or partners of the mother: half of the cases of sexual abuse of minors are committed by their relatives
The campaign, called ‘The cards on the table’, exposes through testimonies the reality of a problem that affects one in five minors, according to the calculations of the World Health Organization (WHO). During the presentation of the campaign this Friday, the foundation recalled that 80% of cases of child sexual abuse occur in the family environment and has called for greater social awareness of this problem.
“In the same way that it is complex for a boy or girl to assume sexual abuse by a member of their trust nucleus, it is just as complex for the rest of the adult members of that same nucleus to think that the abuser is a member what should be the environment of maximum protection for a minor “, has assured Vicki Bernadet, founder of the foundation.
The videos star Nuria Calero, Carles Castells and Mercè Pàmies, three victims of child sexual abuse who for the first time expose the harsh situation they had to experience and who are part of that 80% of the cases of sexual abuse suffered in an environment trustworthy. Their testimonies put different situations on the table with a common denominator: the difficulty that arises when trying to talk about what was experienced.
Calero was sexually abused by her father when she was a child. As a mother, she discovered that her daughter had suffered a similar situation at the hands of her stepfather. “I feel guilty for thinking that, since I had already encountered a monster, I had to focus all my attention and concern on protecting my daughter from it,” he explains in the video. “I never imagined that it was possible to find a second monster in this life equal to or worse than the previous one.”
Carles Castells also suffered sexual abuse at the age of 10, but it was not until he was 47 that he dared to speak about them. “Many of you believe that most abuses are experienced far from home, by unknown monsters that we can control,” he narrates in his testimony. “But the reality is that most are committed in the child’s environment of trust, by relatives and references. A chilling fact that, personally, worries me and that comes to mind every time I hear that: ‘in my house it will not happen’ ”.
“I changed suddenly”, explains Mercè Pàmies, another of the campaign’s protagonists. “After suffering the abuse I felt bewildered, trapped, sad, dirty, alone … And I cried, I cried a lot, in silence. I grew up with fear. I felt old, out of place, examined, silly … Everything seemed so normal, and it wasn’t. ”
“Child sexual abuse is characterized by secrecy and silence imposed on the victim. The child cannot know that what is happening is something that he or she should report. She is afraid and trusts her abuser because he is an adult in her environment from whom it is assumed that she will receive attention, affection and care “, points out Noemí Pereda, doctor in Psychology and member of the Board of Trustees of the Vicki Bernadet Foundation.
For Bernadet, the appearance of three real testimonies in the campaign supposes “a gesture of generosity and courage” that is rarely recognized. “Breaking the silence at the collective level is necessary, but no less necessary is to remember and recognize that it is a complex process for any victim ”, he added.
The objective of the campaign, beyond promoting donations and raising funds for the entity, -which since 1997 has been working in the comprehensive care of victims of sexual assaults and in the prevention of new cases-, is to help raise awareness child sexual abuse, a taboo subject today.