Family friends from church were the first to notice the little girl’s growing belly. They had her checked by the local midwife, who suggested that the child get an ultrasound.
Camille (not her real name) was raped at the age of eight, got pregnant at nine, and gave birth when she was ten years old. She is now 12 years old. According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, she is one of the youngest mothers in recorded Philippine history.
The father of her child is her own father.?
Camille says: “Nung nalaman nila, tinanong ako ni Mama, ‘Alam mo bang mali ang ginawa niya?’ Sabi ko, ‘Hindi.’”??
Her story was the subject of the documentary "Ang Pinakabata," which was produced for the weekly GMA News TV documentary program "Front Row."
After admitting his crimes to the family, Camille's father surrendered to the authorities. Camille says she only began to understand what had happened to her when her father was incarcerated. She says her father was usually drunk when he molested her.
Camille was also puzzled by her mother’s reaction to the abuse. “Si Mama kasi, as in, love na love niya si Papa. Minsan sinasabi niya, ‘Wala ka bang balak iurong [ang kaso]?’ Tapos sinagot ko na ‘Ano ako, tanga? Bakit ko iuurong?’”
Camille’s mother, Corazon, says her husband was out of work when the abuse happened. While Corazon worked as a laundry woman during the day, her husband would take care of their children. When she got home at night, both her children and husband would all be asleep.
“‘Yung husband ko, sabi niya, hindi raw niya alam na ginawa niya. Hindi niya raw alam. Parang may sumanib sa kanya,” Corazon says. She has since forgiven her husband and insists that he is a good man. She says unemployment caused his depression at the time.
Corazon admits that she is torn between wanting justice for her daughter and wanting to keep her husband. “Hindi ko po alam. Siyempre may batas. Nakapagbayad na rin naman po siya sa kanyang kasalanan. Depende po sa anak ko kung paano na niya ... kasi hustisya ang hanap ng anak ko.”? ?
Camille is currently under the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. She has embraced all the counseling and rehabilitation programs the institution has provided for her.? ?Aside from counselling, the DSWD has also provided her with housing and education. She is doing well in her English and science subjects, and is usually at the top of her class. Right now, she is interested in photography.?
After a long deliberation, Camille has decided to put up her child for adoption. She says she wants her child to have a clean slate—a shot at a different future.
“Napag-isipan ko na much better na i-surrender ko siya. Kasi kapag nagdesisyon akong hindi siya i-surrender, hindi mapuputol ang istorya. Maraming magsasabi na, ‘Ay, ‘yan ‘yun. Siya ‘yun.’ Kapag narinig ng bata, siyempre magtatanong yun. ‘Sino ba talaga ang Papa ko?’ ‘Si Lolo.’”
For Camille, narrating her story over and over again is like opening old wounds, but she is determined to reach out to other children who have also been sexually abused. “Mahirap ikuwento pero kinukuwento ko pa rin. Tina-try kong ipilit ang sarili kong ikuwento, kahit hindi ko gusto. Pero gusto kong malaman ng mga ka-level ko na kung may nangyaring ganito sa kanila, na maging aware sila. Para maging conscious sila.”
The 12-year-old advises other victims to immediately tell someone about ongoing abuse. “Sabihin niyo agad kung kanino kayo komportableng sabihin—’yung sa tingin niyong makakatulong sa inyo. Sabihin niyo agad. ‘Wag niyo nang paabutin pa sa kung anuman ang mangyari. Kagaya ko, hindi ko sinabi agad, kasi wala akong alam.”
For those who want to extend assistance to Camille and her child, you may contact the Front Row team at 02-500-3635. “Ang Pinakabata” will be screened at the 2012 Cinemalaya Film Festival on July 25 at the CCP Dream Theater.—Alyx Arumpac/PF, GMA News
RELATED VIDEO: A clip from 'Ang Pinakabata'
"Front Row" airs every Saturday night at 8:40 PM on GMA News TV 11. Follow the program on Facebook and Twitter for updates about their upcoming documentaries.