Lindsay: Reality

I returned from the Galapagos Monday night, and it was absolutely phenomenal and will be getting its own deserving post later. Now I am back in reality, and back to my internship. In Ecuador, the students at the universities have just come back from a winter vacation, meaning that there are so many new Ecuadorian students also doing their internships at Tres Manuelas. For universities in Ecuador, every semester social work and psychology students must be involved in a social service agency in some way and it progresses in involvement each year, which is very similar to my social work program. Today, two other social work students and I went to a school for a workshop about the rights of children and sexuality. When I was in Ser Joven, I also went to a high school workshop similar to the one I went to today. However, this time each of us went with a member of the Prevention Team, and the member personally taught the class to 6th and 7th graders. The workshop was fairly basic, and emphasized that only they had the right to make decisions about their body. At the end of the session, they were asked to fill out a confidential survey if they had been abused sexually, and if they would like help. In two classes with about thirty students in each room, seven answered that they had been sexually abused in just one classroom, and one student left the classroom crying. In the other class, one student said they had been abused. With the information, Tres Manuelas then begins investigations and psychologists and social workers at Tres Manuelas at the school, then work together with the students (the student crying went to a social worker after the class). The coordinator who taught my class said that not all the “yes’s” will probably actually be cases of abuse, but I am still shocked at the proportion of students that are affected by just sexual abuse in the classroom, and this is not even covering emotional, physical, or psychological abuse. The Prevention Team of Tres Manuelas goes into schools regularly putting on workshops and investigating, as well as working to help students, in cases of abuse. With so many children being at risk of abuse, I can see even more, just how important prevention is for the community of Quito.

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