Young advocates in the Philippines pay tribute to survivors of child sexual exploitation in spoken poetry
The ECPAT Children and Youth Advocates (EYCA) held a spoken poetry event dubbed as Sumama at Mamulat Laban sa Child Trafficking (Join and be Aware on the Fight Against Child Trafficking) on July 28, 2018 at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. This is to commemorate the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons which happens every 30th of July.
The event aimed to be a venue for young people to freely and creatively express their thoughts on the plight of Filipino children victimized by sexual exploitation. Over100 children, youth and adults from across Quezon City graced the event.
The evening was filled with performances of original song and dance numbers, composed and choreographed by the ECPAT youth advocates themselves. Songs like Kabataang Pinoy (Filipino Youth) and Gawa sa Luha (Made of Tears) were written to inspire and empower young people to protect themselves and their peers from sexual violence.
The highlight of the evening was the open microphone spoken word and poetry as the youth participants poured their hearts into their interpretations of the ordeals, hopes and strength of children who have survived sexual abuse and exploitation.
Youth advocate Dolly Ann, 18, used the metaphor of being repeatedly defeated in a game of Bato, Bato, Pik (Rock, Paper, Scissors), as she spoke of the unending hopelessness that a victim goes through in the hands of an offender.
“Papel, gunting, bato
Unang laro ikaw ang panalo,
Papel ka bato ako,
Ikaw ang demonyong sumakop ng mundo ko”
(Rock, paper, scissors,
First round, you won
You were the paper, I was the rock
You were the devil who wrapped my world around)
“Ikalawang pusta, ako ulit ang talo,
Bato ka gunting ako,
Parang ako, pumupurpol kapag nararamdaman ko ang kamay mo,
Kamay mong dumarampi sa katawan ko,”
(Second bet, I lost again,
You were the rock, I was the scissors.
I get dull when I feel your hands,
Your hands touching my body)
“Ikatlo, hinihiling na sana sa larong to ako na ang manalo,
Sana ako naman ang magpapaikot ng mundo mo,
Yung tipong lahat ng yong kasalanan,
Ay kaya ko ng ipaglaban.”
(I wish I’ll win the third round
So I’ll be the one to spin your world around
So I’ll finally be able to guard myself
From all your evil deeds)
“Pero mali! Sa ikaapat na laro,
Ikaw parin ang panalo,
Gunting ka ulit at papel ako.
Nagpapakagat nalang dahil iniisip na akoy isang batang walang kwentang nilalang,
Hinahayaan na akoy iyong saktan”
(But I was wrong! You still won;
You were the scissors, I was the paper;
So I surrendered and let you cut me;
Believing I was just a creature who meant nothing)
But amid hopelessness and suffering, parents’ love bring hope to their children, according to Aizel, 17.
“Habang nangyayari ang kahayupang
gawa ng demonyong iyon
Naalala ko ang ngiti ng mga magulang ko
Kung papaano nila hinahaplos ang aking ulo
para lang makatulog
Kung papaano dumadampi
ang mga labi nila saking noo
Kung papaano ang pakiramdam
na mapayapa at ligtas”
(While the devil does his evil ways,
I remembered the smiles on my parents’ face
How they gently kiss and caress my head, so I will sleep tight
How it feels to be at peace and safe)
Meanwhile, Rayven, 16, called on the society to stop stigmatizing survivors, and instead, do something to help children recover. He also urged people to dig deeper into the societal problems that push children to sexual exploitation.
Pasintabi sa mga nakikinig
Pero isang katanungan na sa inyo’y magpapatid
May nagawa naba kayo para sa kanila?
(Pardon to those who are listening;
But I have a question that will make you trip
Have you done anything for them?)
Wala nang intro intro, may sasabihin ako sa inyo
Bagay na kahindik-hindik, masakit sa tainga ito
Sa inyo na walang ginagawa kundi husgahan ang katayuan at katauhan nila?
Anong sinasabi ng iba? Na sya’y walang hiya dahil lang sa pera?
TIgilan na ang pagiging impokrito, buksan ang ating mata
At alamin ang isyung panlipunan na kaakibat nito
(Let’s skip the intro, I’ve got something to tell you;
Something alarming, it will hurt your ears.
To those of you who have done nothing but judge their disposition;
Telling them they are shameless for money;
Stop your hypocrisy and open your eyes;
to the societal issues enabling it.
In the end, everything will be alright if survivors have friends who empathize and believe in them, according to Malen, 17.
Hindi mo na maaninagan ang sariling repleksyon
Hindi mo na masulyapan ang dating pagkatao
Tila nakakapaso na ang iyong balat
(You can no longer see your own reflection;
You can no longer recall who you used to be.
You feel like your skin is burning)
Dahil iisa lang naman tayo
Ako ang repleksyon mo
Ako ang pagkatao mo
(But I know.
Because you and I are one
I am your reflection;
I am who you are.)
Na higit pa sa iba
Dahil sa pagbagsak mo, kasama mo ko
At sa pag-ahon mo, ay kasama mo rin ako
Sabay natin tapakan ang masalimuot na mundo
(More than anyone,
I will be with you when you fall;
I will be there when you rise back up
Together, we will fight this complex world.)
As the event ended, ECPAT youth coordinator Homer Forte called on young people to always support, empower and protect each other. “Life is all being there for each other especially for those who need help the most like child survivors of sexual violence.”
The ECPAT Youth and Children Advocates (EYCA) is an organization and an advocacy arm of ECPAT Philippines. The organization empowers the children and youth to organize advocacy and campaigns that will promote their rights, specifically, their rights to protection and participation. Since the previous years, EYCA through the support of ECPAT has mobilized children and youth to different campaign activities on issues that affect their well-being. EYCA believes that through spoken poetry, a theater play and other creative venues, children and young people can express their views on the issue of sexual exploitation of children.