The increase in reporting of sexual abuse among young girls in Samoa of late is an ongoing challenge to the Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) and its work as a child protection agency in Samoa.
While most of the young survivors ended up under the care of SVSG at the Campus of Hope shelter facility, SVSG’s innovative approach to the survivors’ rehabilitation and recovery processes remain a priority. This is because the Campus is the only refuge for children survivors of gender based violence and abandoned children available in Samoa.
A range of rehabilitation programs are carried out depending on what is most suitable to a child’s recovery ability. The most popular one of late is the art therapy conducted by a Japanese volunteer with SVSG, Mrs. Junko Hoshino.
Through creative art and group work, the young survivors are able to describe sexual abuse and the feelings evoked in them; some just scribbled with no clear direction, others drew images with boundaries, while a very few drew positive images. The art therapy by Ms. Junko has assisted in the improvement observed in the mental, physical and emotional wellness amongst the young survivors of sexual abuse at the Campus.
As a work in progress, we have seen the images as representing the mysterious environment of therapy as well as of course the abuse experiences themselves, being transformed into beautiful work of art. With the festive season around the corner, glittering stars and other various Christmas ornaments are being created by the surivors of sexual abuse at the Campus, as part of their art therapy.
Mrs. Hoshino is accompanying her husband who is working for JICA for the next 2 – 3 years. And the President of SVSG Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledged the volunteer work by Mrs. Hoshino. “Thank you Junko for your contribution to the rehabilitation programs for the children survivors of sexual abuse at the Campus. Your smile added to the positivity of the art therapy.”