A theatre production for advocacy against child sexual abuse and exploitation performed by those who have experienced abuse themselves on the streets of the Philippines.
An educational campaign focussing on commercial sexual exploitation. Leaflets, posters and online banners were used in English, Polish, Ukrainian and Russian. Preventative workshops were also delivered to young people and a helpline was made available.
Type of intervention
Target groups, level of prevention and subgroups
- Children and Young People (Victims) | Secondary prevention | Young People (12-17 years), Young Adult (18-20 years), Adults (21+ years) | Male and female | Theatrical | English, Filipino
- Communities and Families | Primary prevention | Young People (12-17 years), Young Adult (18-20 years), Adults (21+ years) | Male and female | Theatrical | English, Filipino
The production has performed before numerous audiences including teachers, students, law enforcement agents, church groups and the general public.
TASK (Talented, Ambitious, Street Kids; Stairway Foundation), Philippines
Mode and context of delivery
Cracked Mirrors is a theatre production for advocacy against child sexual abuse and exploitation, by raising awareness and breaking the silence surrounding it. The Cracked Mirrors performance incorporates rap and songs into a series of four monologues to express the painful realities of child sexual abuse.
Level/nature of staff expertise required
Cracked Mirrors is performed by four actors, who themselves used to live and work on the streets in the Philippines. They are now in their twenties and able to use their experiences to try to help other victims. A Stairway Foundation trained Facilitator also leads an open forum discussion following the performance.
The Foundation provides various levels and modules of training to become a facilitator:
Level 1: Introduction to child sexual abuse
- Module 1 - Gender sensitivity (1 day module)
- Module 2 - Introduction to child sexual abuse (3 day module)
- Module 3 - Basics of handling disclosures (1 day module)
Level 2: Advanced topics on child sexual abuse prevention
- Module 1 - Advanced CSAP topics (1 day module)
- Module 2 - Technology-related crimes against children (1 day module)
- Module 3 - Personal safety and protective behaviour for the prevention of child sexual abuse (3 day module)
Level 3: Training of trainers (3 day module)
Level 4: Communication skills handling sexually abused children (5 day module)
Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)
In the facilitated open forum discussion after the performance, the audience is encouraged to take that first step in moving from simply being viewers to becoming active participants in changing that culture of silence.
Description of intervention
TASK uses the power of the theatre arts and street culture to reach out to thousands of children at risk. TASK members go directly to the streets, to child-care organisations and into prisons to teach their peers about the dangers of substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and child sexual abuse. They also empower them with knowledge about their rights.
The concept of TASK originated in 1999 with a group of seventeen 17 street children who were a part of a unique rehabilitation and recovery program that used musical theatre to help bring about changes in attitudes, behaviors and outlooks on life. With the support of professional artists and musicians, they brought their street experience to the international stage with an international tour that reached as far as the United Nations Palais in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Stairway Foundation believes that there is an urgent need to break the taboo around child sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation of children. Having mixed emotions of guilt, shame, confusion and pain, those who have experienced child sexual abuse (either first or second hand) may feel unable to discuss their situation with others.
Presently, TASK performs in Stairway’s theatre advocacy piece called Cracked Mirrors, Stories of Child Sexual Abuse. It is a realistic portrayal of the deep pain and suffering that children endure as a result of sexual abuse. The Cracked Mirrors performance incorporates rap and song into a series of four monologues to express the painful realities of child sexual abuse and exploitation. The production has played before numerous audiences including teachers, students, law enforcement agents, church groups, and the public in general. After the performances, TASK engages the audience in a discussion about child sexual abuse. Their personal stories help other victims of abuse to overcome their feelings of shame and guilt, which helps them to disclose their own abuses. Due to the emotional nature of the play, it is recommended that counsellors be made available after the performances. In the facilitated open forum discussion after the performance, the audience is encouraged to take that first step in moving from simply being viewers to becoming active participants in changing the culture of silence.
O’Neill, H. (2007). An Evaluation of “Cracked Mirrors”: A theatre production for advocacy against child sexual abuse and exploitation. Available from: http://www.stairwayfoundation.org/stairway/index.php/articles.
This evaluation examined the responses of 446 individuals: students, NGO workers and delegates from the First South East Asian Children’s Conference through a written questionnaire administered at random after the theatre performance. All respondents were based in Manila, Philippines. Respondents represented various ages and countries but were not asked for any personal information. It was found that the Cracked Mirrors performance is effective in raising awareness and breaking the silence around child sexual abuse and exploitation. The audience stated that the real life experiences of the actors’ added credibility to the information presented. It should be noted that the actors were a major factor in the effective delivery of the information, and the audience clearly felt that the actor’s own histories of abuse combined with acting talents made the performers the strength of the play. The audience did not believe that changes should be made to the performance and confirmed that this drama is, indeed, an effective method of advocacy
- O’Neill, H. (2007). An Evaluation of “Cracked Mirrors”: A theatre production for advocacy against child sexual abuse and exploitation. Available from: http://www.stairwayfoundation.org/stairway/index.php/articles.
- The Stairway Foundation (2013). Break the Silence Child Sexual Abuse and Prevention Training Package Information. Available from: http://www.stairwayfoundation.org/stairway/index.php/articles.
Telephone: +63 917 843 1922
INFORMATION CORRECT AT 2013