I was down in the village of Esperanza with CDF today speaking with about 40 girls from age 8 to 16 about the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and sexual abuse. We covered the definitions of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse and then addressed the medical, social, emotional aspects of the issue and broke into small groups for a time of discussion. The girls were put into 2 large groups from ages 8-12 and 13 & up to cover the medical and emotional issues. It was a long day, but a productive one. We have no idea what the girls took away from it all. The most important message that was stressed over and over again was that if something had already happened to them it was not their fault.
I was not scheduled to be a speaker today...I was just supposed to be a small group leader. But I got asked to share my personal story of abuse so I did. I had to tailor it so that the little ones could understand and that was a first for me. One young lady shared with me in the small group time about a friend of hers that had been exploited. I was grateful that my story led to her opening up to me. And it was evident on the faces of others that they had stories to share but were not quite ready.
Tomorrow we will be presenting to Sunday School teachers and Children's workers here in Belmopan and giving the same talks. Tom will join us and speak about the importance of counseling. We aren't sure how many there will be at tomorrow's session. But the plan is for 40 again. And we expect it to be mostly women.
We have heard that there will be a small group of ladies coming from the Mennonite community and we are very excited about getting the chance to work with them. It would be great if doors were opened through them that would lead to us being able to do a seminar specifically for the people in Spanish Lookout. Please keep CDF and this work in your thoughts and prayers!