25 years of fighting against sexual violence for the Caméléon association!

6 October 2023

For 25 years, the Caméléon association has been working to help and rehabilitate young girls who are victims of sexual violence, both in the Philippines and in France. Through awareness and education programs, the association aims not only to protect these young girls but also to advocate for societal changes.

Laurence Ligier, the founder of CAMELEON, reflects on her commitment and on the history and actions of the association.


  • How did the CAMELEON association come into existence, and what are its main missions and activities?

[Laurence Ligier] After several missions in the Philippines, including one year in the heart of a slum in Iloilo (Visayas region, Panay Island), I was confronted with the daily violence suffered by street children. Faced with the local situation and at the request of the Filipinos with whom I had worked, I founded the CAMELEON association in 1997 to help young girls who are victims of sexual violence. In a world where these violence acts are insidious, normalized, taboo, and rarely punished, fueled by a culture of silence linked to ignorance, fear, shame, or denial, it was urgent to take action.

CAMELEON aspires to a world without sexual violence. For over 25 years, CAMELEON has been assisting, protecting, and rehabilitating young girls who are victims of sexual violence, placed in our shelters by the Philippine social services. CAMELEON conducts awareness and advocacy campaigns among the population and authorities while promoting children’s education and socio-economic development in communities. We have also developed actions in France to combat child sexual violence, especially cyber-pedocriminality. Our mission revolves around raising public awareness, preventing violence, and advocating with public authorities.

  • Could you describe the support program you provide for young girls who are victims of violence?

CAMELEON intervenes with a comprehensive program to combat child sexual violence by working directly with young girls who are victims, their families, and communities in partnership with local institutions. This is to address the shortcomings of the Philippine government in implementing child protection programs.

The program aims to strengthen the personal reconstruction and sustainable reintegration into society of young girls who are victims of sexual violence through a holistic and integrated approach, enabling them to become independent, empowered, and responsible adults. The girls receive medical, psychological, legal, educational support and participate in innovative therapeutic activities such as circus, animal-assisted therapy, sound therapy, etc.


  • What is the situation in the Philippines regarding child sexual violence, and how are child victims supported?

The situation remains alarming in the Philippines over the years: one in five children is a victim of sexual violence, and 70% are girls. The majority of these abuses are committed by family members. A woman or child is raped every 52 minutes. Only 3% of girls who are victims of sexual violence are placed in care and treatment facilities. Furthermore, most victims do not report the violence to authorities and/or are not informed about legal recourse.

The precariousness of existing structures and socio-cultural factors explain these alarming statistics: the political context, the increase in the sexual exploitation of women and children, especially through sex tourism and cyber-pedocriminality, and the taboo surrounding incest in a Catholic and sexist society (culture of silence and victim stigmatization).


  • Who are the girls you support? What are their profiles and backgrounds?

Young girls who are victims of sexual violence are referred to CAMELEON by Philippine social services (DSWD), the main referral agency. They are between the ages of 5 and 17 at the time of admission to our shelters, victims of sexual violence, and residing in Region VI of the Philippines. They come from various localities in Western Visayas (Region VI), which includes the islands of Panay, Guimaras, and Negros. These young girls come from rural, poor, and marginalized backgrounds, and their lives are at risk if they remain with their families and communities.

  • How does your organization help these girls rebuild their lives after the violence they have experienced?

Through a holistic, individualized, and long-term approach, girls who are victims of sexual violence are guided toward healing and resilience, with the goal of their empowerment. The empowerment of all beneficiaries and their role as leaders and role models for their families, communities, and future generations are continuously reinforced.

They become agents of social change and advocates against sexual violence, aiming to break the silence taboo and the cycle of violence.


  • You are celebrating your 25th anniversary this year. What is the assessment of your work, and what are your greatest achievements?

[Laurence Ligier] As the founder, I am proud to see the life paths and successes of our beneficiaries who have flourished and have turned their traumas into strength. The new generation carries the DNA and values of CAMELEON, ensuring the continuity of the association’s missions. In this sense, I am happy to see that the young girls and boys we support in villages through educational sponsorship proudly represent CAMELEON and are aware of the role they have to play in breaking the cycle of violence and protecting children in their community. They act with passion and conviction at their level, as well as their parents who are actively involved and regularly engaged in community projects.


Association CAMELEON - Institut IDEAS - Label IDEAS

To learn more about the association 

Stay tuned

I subscribe to the newsletter