Prologis is a company fully committed to solidarity and the well-being of the communities of which it is a part, assuming its social responsibility as a company by promoting numerous actions and initiatives for the benefit of society. 

One of the entities with which Prologis has been collaborating for years is the Vicki Bernadet Foundation, which offers comprehensive care, prevention, training and awareness of child sexual abuse. 

Cristian Oller, VP and Head of Portfolio Operations Southern Europe at Prologis, brings us closer to the reality of the Foundation through an interview with Vicki Bernadet, founder of the entity, to understand the characteristics of this social scourge and how companies can play a crucial role by sponsoring Third Sector companies and contributing to a better future.

Cristian: The Vicki Bernadet Foundation has been working for 26 years on comprehensive care, prevention and raising awareness of child sexual abuse. What are the data on this scourge of society? 

Vicki: According to WHO data, 1 in 5 children suffers some kind of sexual abuse before the age of 17. Unfortunately the data have not improved. 85% will not seek help until adulthood and 80% of the perpetrators are members of the victim’s own family or circle of trusted individuals. This makes it very difficult for these cases to come to light and shows the emotional burden that victims carry for years. In reality, every adult carries some emotional burden, for whatever reason, but the big difference is that, in general, these burdens are visible and it is thus relatively easy to find the necessary support, while in cases of childhood abuse, silence and loneliness add to the trauma. 

C: What can we do to be part of the solution? 

V: There is a positive message, which is that as a society, we have moved forward, and we have now come to terms with the fact that we have a social problem that we need to solve from all sides. I am referring to legislative changes, active policies that work towards prevention and a commitment to the defence of children’s rights. The problem is that this issue continues to be rejected on an individual level and that these necessary advances are only made by education, psychology professionals or legislators, but we still haven’t managed to break the glass ceiling represented by families and citizens. That is to say, most cases occur within the family and trusted environment and it is precisely in this environment where individual denial about what can happen to us persists. We have to find a way of ensuring that there is a global responsibility for protecting children. Adults have to listen without fear and with the capacity to believe them, help them, support them and protect them. There are many victims who believe that they are alone without anyone who understands them. 

C: How many requests for help do you receive at the Vicki Bernadet Foundation? 

V: The silence of the victims means that most of the requests for help to which the foundation responds derive from adults. Over the last year, the organisation has dealt with 1,511 requests for help and offered support to 377 new victims. The fact that only 15% of the cases of sexual abuse are reported and that most of the victims whom the foundation assists are adults demonstrates the complicated situation of those who are affected and are forced to remain silent. Only 15% of sexual abuse cases are disclosed during childhood, while they are still happening, a scourge that the charity wants to help to eliminate. 

C: And with regard to the business world, how and in what way can we contribute? 

V: Sponsorships of Third Sector Entities are an example of social responsibility which aligns companies with Sustainable Development Goals. This is an investment in the future that we all hope to experience. The solution involves all members of this society, evidently public authorities, families, professionals, but the value of the commitment of the business sector is representative of the change in outlook and responsible involvement that can change the lives of a large number of children. 
Thank you for committing to this common challenge. 




C: In 2023, you were awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi [Cross of St. Jordi], one of the greatest awards that a person can receive from the Generalitat de Catalunya and which values the services provided to the community. What has this recognition meant to you? 

V: For me, it has been a great honour to win recognition for my cross-disciplinary work. A single individual doesn’t get this far without the support and appreciation of the people around you. Personally, I have been lucky enough to meet incredible people along the way, who have given me the opportunity to listen and to learn a great deal. I would like to offer my personal thanks to all of them. 

C: What message would you like to share? 

V: I would like to send a message to all children, young people, adolescents and adults who suffer or have suffered sexual violence. There are many people, organisations and institutions that will work ceaselessly to guarantee their rights, the right not to suffer sexual violence or any other kind of violence. The problem has been identified and so have the solutions. Now we need to take decisions quickly and prioritise the protection of childhood. Because this is not a question of our fear, but of theirs, and it is not a question of the time that we need to act, but of their time for survival. 

We must assume our responsibility as adults and as a society and provide children with better protection.

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