Every human being has a right to a safe space – a place or environment where we can feel confident that we will not be exposed to harassment, discrimination, or harm – be it emotional or physical. It is depressing to know that women’s abuse happens in a place where they should feel safe, and abusers are people they know.
I attended the launch of Sagip Babae Foundation on July 29, 2022, at Bondi and Bourke, Makati. It is a newly created organization dedicated to offering safe spaces for women who have suffered from—and survived—domestic violence, sexual harassment, and abuse in its myriad forms. Because such experiences can have severe short- or long-term effects on victims’ mental health, Sagip Babae will stress on granting aid and relief for these women in the aftermath of their ordeal.
The launch marks the start of Sagip Babae Foundation’s online Facebook community for women survivors of abuse, giving them access to various activities and resources that may prove beneficial in their journey towards healing and recovery.
The overall socioeconomic effects of the pandemic have created situations that render women more vulnerable to abuse. A recent study by the Commission of Population and Development (POPCOM) found that 25 percent of surveyed Filipino adults consider violence against women one of the more critical issues during the current health crisis.
The deleterious effects of abuse likewise resonate with Sagip Babae founders Francesca Fugen and Melissa Rina Profeta’s own life experiences. They cite their personal trauma, as well as those of women they have helped, as their inspiration for starting Sagip Babae. Fugen and Profeta hope to provide—from the get-go—comforting assistance to women victims, aged 18 and above, from all over the country.
Sagip Babae Foundation’s Facebook community will hold webinars and bi-monthly group sessions, and offer self-care strategies, wellbeing education, as well as more information on meditation and holistic healing. It will seek the best possible path of recovery and healing for beneficiaries by carefully matching them to the appropriate partner experts and practitioners. The foundation will shoulder all expenses for therapy and medication within their first month of participation, as well as half of the costs in the second and third months.
The foundation will have a dedicated counselor for the initial session with beneficiaries. Core team members, along with volunteers for the foundation, have undergone mental health first responder and psychological support training to ensure that each beneficiary receives competent treatment during their time with the foundation.
Sagip Babae commits to providing mental healthcare through its partnership with experts in the field such as Mr. AJ Sunglao, a licensed psychologist and mental health advocate, and Ms. Charlene R. Lucas, a registered psychologist and international clinical traumatologist. For a more extensive approach, Sagip Babae has also consulted with Third Eye Wellness, a provider of holistic healing services, and Ms. Jenny Umali, a life coach and Reiki practitioner.
To show their support for Sagip Babae’s cause, a slew of mental health professionals, officials from relevant government agencies and organizations, and influencers attended the launch.
These include Ms. Carmen Reyes Zubiaga, an advocate for gender equality and chairperson at Angat Persons with Disabilities United 2030; Ms. Angel Dei, a social media content creator and women’s advocate; Ms. Cassie Uyoco, an influencer who advocates for destigmatizing mental health; Ms. Joyce Pring, a TV presenter and podcaster; and Cheris Faustino, a social media content creator and mental health advocate.
Sagip Babae hopes to forge lasting partnerships with these attendees moving forward in order
to better serve their future beneficiaries. The foundation will endeavor to reach out to these women and offer them vital resources for safeguarding their mental health in the days ahead.
After the event, we pledged on how we can help the cause: I pledge to create a safe space for everyone – be it online and offline.
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