Sexual abuse in childhood , despite the fact that at a social level it is not a very visible issue, is a problem that exists. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four women and one in seven men admit to having suffered it. It is alarming that only 3 out of 10 affected people report these facts.

Unfortunately, there are some myths and mistaken beliefs that cause a distortion in the vision of this phenomenon, and rejecting them is important to address the problem by adjusting to its real forms.

Interview with Margarita Ortiz-Tallo

Some psychology professionals have been aware of and committed to the prevention of child abuse in childhood , as well as to the psychological treatment of victims, since the effects on their mental health are not only short-term, but can accompany them for the rest of their lives.

The prevalence of child sexual abuse in Spain is 19% in women and 15.5% in men, and many affected people never disclose the abuse, so they suffer this traumatic event in secret.

Today we talked to Margarita Ortiz-Tallo, Professor at the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Malaga (Spain) to hear about the project Corazonada focused on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse in Children

What led you to work on this subject?

Our research team has a long history of dealing with issues related to mistreatment and sexual abuse. We have publications in international scientific journals with people convicted and imprisoned for paedophilia and also with people convicted of assaulting their partners. We have been thinking for a long time about the importance of broadening our view and carrying out psychological interventions that would prevent these issues.

We started with evaluations and publications on adolescents and sexism. In this scenario, we were very interested in carrying out a preventive programme against child sexual abuse. We thought it was of great interest to provide resources to minors, parents and teachers in the face of this terrible type of psychological, physical and sexual abuse that is, in a high proportion, hidden in society.

What does the Corazonada project consist of?

The project is notable for including the adaptation of the play “Corazonada” in Spain. The play was designed by Carolina López Alvarado, director of the CENDES Foundation in Mexico. It tries to reach children in an experiential way through an artistic language with music, dance and imagination. In this way, resources are given to the children and educators, transmitting the information in a way that reaches the intuition, the reason and the heart.

The project also includes the design by our team of workshops for children, parents and teachers through active and participatory methodologies. And finally the evaluation of the programme and its social impact.

How did the project come about?

Because of our profession we are highly sensitive and very committed to contributing something to society that will help in the prevention of this tremendous problem. Our experience has also led us to believe that any information that is transmitted in an active, experiential and participatory way manages to convey the message in a deeper way.

During a stay at the Universidad Autónoma de México we got to know the Corazonada project. It began in Mexico in 2015. A country with a high rate of sexual abuse in children. Later we established agreements with the author to adapt a part of the Project in Spain.

Recently as a research group from the University of Malaga the project was selected to achieve Collective Financing through the GOTEO Crowdfunding platform.

What repercussions do you think this project could have in Spain?

We believe that it is a project of enormous social interest and our wish is that it can have a significant impact on the initial detection and prevention of this terrible abuse. To undertake projects of this type and to spread them, we are convinced that it already helps to sensitize society to the subject.

When is the play “Corazonada” opening?

The day of the premiere of the Spanish adaptation of “Corazonada” is Monday, November 5, at the Edgar Neville Auditorium of the Malaga Provincial Council, by invitation. After that day, the play will also be performed on November 12th and Tuesday 27th of the same month, although there are only tickets available for the latter date.

Child abuse prevention

Without a doubt, the work of psychologists and educators is key to preventing and detecting this phenomenon in time, which can appear in multiple environments. In fact, the data show that 30% of those affected were victims of a family member, 60% of an acquaintance and in only 10% of the cases, the victim and the attacker did not have any link.

If you want to know more about preventing child abuse, you may be interested in reading this article: “How to prevent child sexual abuse”.