NGO provides mental health support for sexually abused women 

SAGIP Babae Foundation, a Philippine-based non-government organization (NGO), will grant aid and relief to Filipino women who have suffered from domestic violence, sexual harassment, or sexual abuse.   

“We are here to make women realize their true value, and getting back on their feet is one of our main goals for them,” said Francesca Fugen, co-founder of Sagip Babae Foundation, at the NGO’s July 29 launch.  

Its Facebook community will hold webinars and bi-monthly group sessions, and offer self-care strategies, wellbeing and holistic healing education. 

Aside from matching beneficiaries to the appropriate partner experts, the foundation will also shoulder all expenses for therapy and medication within a woman’s first month of participation, as well as half of the costs in the second and third months.  

“We would like to be able to provide a safe space or shelter for women who are affected, but as of right now, we just have a physical office that is located in Las Piñas. It’s small, so we cannot house anyone or use it as a shelter yet,” said Ms. Fugen.  

Jun Angelo “AJ” Sunglao, a psychologist and mental health advocate, and Charlene R. Lucas, a psychologist and international clinical traumatologist, will serve as the group’s in-house experts.  

The foundation, which operates mainly online, plans to expand its advocacy to minors in the future. However, technicalities and legalities that require involvement of social workers from the government and even parental consent complicate matters.  

“We can start with women aged 18 and above. We can’t help everyone yet. As of right now, we would like to be able to get our foothold,” said Ms. Fugen.  

Around 25% of Filipino adults cite violence against women as a pressing problem during the pandemic, according to a Social Weather Stations survey released by the Commission of Population and Development in March 2021.  

The foundation will reach out to these women and offer resources for safeguarding their mental health, Sagip Babae Foundation said in a statement.  

To sustain operations long-term, the group is accepting pledges, whether through monetary donations, raising awareness for the cause, or joining as a volunteer. — Brontë H. Lacsamana