For more than a decade, Elizabeth Homberg, president of Fundación Rana, has been working on the Balearic Islands, together with her experienced team of professional psychologists, social educators and public relations managers, to combat sexual abuse of children. A global stigma that affects, according to the Council of Europe, one of five children on our continent. An outrage, no doubt, always sustained by eyes that do not see and hearts that do not feel. Endorsed by the mistaken belief that this will never happen in one’s family. As if belonging to one social class or another would avoid it.
About Fundación Rana
Fundación Rana is committed to tackling sexual abuse of children and collective ignorance. In the beginning, the organisation started raising the society’s awareness in the streets in a progressive way. With campaigns like ‘The real monsters do not live in stories’,’# ni1abusoinfantilmas’ and ‘# yosoyrana’, the foundation urged adults to get involved in the active protection of children all over Mallorca. Whether they are sons or daughters, patients in the case of health professionals, or students.
The campaigns served as a call of attention to take responsibility. They gradually opened the doors of hundreds of schools on the islands. This has to date allowed 26,897 primary students between 6 and 11 years to receive a life education. The students now all know what to do, how to recognise and react to a person who pretends to abuse their innocence. They recognise the tricks that these persons will use to intimidate them. As well as the blackmails and the secrets that they will be asked to keep.
The children learn that there are kisses and kisses. Distinguishing those that are loaded with ‘good love’ from those that are not. Thanks to the story ‘Estela, shout very loud!’, a tool with which Fundación Rana educators and teachers reinforce the teaching of self-protection, the children have also learned that, if necessary, there will always be an adult willing to help them break the silence. Something that to date only ten percent of the victims do.
Educating both Children and Adults
Preventing sexual abuse isn’t a simple task but key for our children to grow up safely and happily. The foundation dedicates a special school programme to kids and young adults, 4,390 to date. It teaches them to build healthy interpersonal relationships. And also to be aware that the internet in general and social networks in particular are a minefield that kids must handle with responsibility.
And, of course, Fundación Rana approaches the parents through the talk ‘Educate our children today. Know the risks to prevent’, which aims at deepening the need to strengthen the emotional bond with their children. Furthermore the foundation can’t ignore those people, now adults, who were victims of sexual abuse in their childhood or adolescence. They are also part of the Fundación Rana network, which is precisely what RANA stands for. It’s the Red de Ayuda de Ninos Abusados (help network for abused children). So far 300 persons have participated in the psychological therapies the foundation provides. Once and for all they are burying the guilt and other negative emotions that they dragged with them for years.
Seven steps to protect our Children
To prevent, recognize and act responsibly against sexual abuse of children.
1. Know the facts – Adults have a responsibility to protect children. Accept the reality.
2. Minimise risks – Be aware that sexual abuse occurs when a child is alone with an adult. Know who you leave your child with and what they do.
3. Talk about the issue – In general, children keep the abuse a secret, but will open up if you talk openly about the matter.
4. Be attentive – Do not expect obvious signs that a child is being sexually abused.
5. Get informed, know how to react – Know where to go, who to call and how to react. Sexual abuse of children is a crime. Denounce it!
6. Act when you have suspicions – The future well-being of a child is at risk.
7. Get involved – Volunteer or become a partner to support organisations that fight against abuse and sexual abuse of minors.
Breaking the painful Silence
Over the last few years Fundación Rana has done a great job with tangible results. Such as the first expulsion of a member of the Catholic Church in Spain as a result of the denunciation of two of his victims. They were patients of the foundation. After years of suffering from the consequences of their abuse they broke the painful silence. There are also numerous cases in which children and young people dared to tell that they were suffering after hearing the story or the talk of Fundación Rana in their schools or institutes.
Find more information about the foundation and ways to help on www.fundacionrana.org
A better World is possible
The foundation’s resources are sparse but it is obvious that the team manages them well. This allows the organisation to grow in a sustainable manner. It is supported by the public administration and some private entities. These choose the foundation as the recipient of a part of their funds available for corporate responsibility causes. But the foundation needs to reach more and more children and young people. Therefore, with the help of volunteers, the team organises activities every year. These combine awareness raising with fundraising, such as the charity gala. Some of the events take place on the street, like the annual street market in September.
There are several options to collaborate for a good cause. From becoming a member with a minimum contribution of ten euros per month to making a one-time donation. You can even choose Rana as an heir or become a Rana-friendly company. That means you get to organise events, transfer installations and/or finance part of their programmes. Of course, there is also always the option of joining the Fundación Rana family as an active volunteer. Together we can get children to enjoy their childhood like we did. A better world is possible.
Written by Gema Izquierdo