By: Marites Toledo
THERE is no question that violence against women (VAW) is rampant in the country.
The campaign to end it started today (November 25) headed by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) definitely joined the campaign, according to Sec. Judy Taguiwalo.
The 18-Day campaign with a theme “VAW-free Community Starts with Me” will end on December 12.
Taguiwalo said the celebration is very important because its purpose is “to raise public awareness on the social injustice that is violence against women.”
She said the VAW comes in many forms — in the exploitation and oppression of women as workers, and in the abuse of women as they are treated as objects and members of the inferior sex.
“Dapat aktibong labanan ang pang-aabuso sa kababaihan sa lahat ng anyo at porma nito. Because the Philippines largely remains feudal and patriarchal in its traditions and social practices, abuse against women are often considered ordinary and no cause for real alarm. We have to cultivate a strong awareness among all Filipinos — even among Filipino women themselves — that abuse and violence against women is never right and all instances of it should be subject to action, including legal punishment. Women hold up half the sky; we are a creative, powerful force in society and this authority we wield should be recognized and respected. The poor and working women in particular should be given all the support they need so they can empower themselves, so they can embrace their roles that are equal to their husbands and partners and peers among men,”she explained.
According to Taguiwalo, from January to September 2016, the DSWD has served a total of 211,717 women in especially difficult circumstances (WEDC) nationwide which would include women who were sexually abused, sexually exploited, physically abused, emotionally battered, victims of trafficking, victims of armed conflict, and the like.
The most number of cases recovered were from the National Capital Region (NCR) with 73,727 women served, followed by Region VI with 20,656 cases and Region XI with 18,848.
Taguiwalo said that VAW would be addressed by ensuring that all sectors are accorded equal rights, opportunities and access can true development of a society be achieved.
In support to the campaign, the DSWD will participate in the different activities in the assigned areas which are focused on raising awareness on various laws on women such as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children or Republic Act 9262; the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act or Republic Act 9208; and the Anti Rape Law of 1997 or Republic Act 8353.
Taguiwalo pointed out that the “The Department is also advocating for the amendment of the Solo Parents Welfare Act to make this legislation an adequate response to the many needs and problems of solo parents.”
Aside from joining the kick-off activity, DSWD is slated to conduct the following activities in observance of this significant celebration: Road Show Activity in Partnership with Gabriela on December 5; Launching of a Photo Gallery on December 6 in partnership with the Center for Women’s Resource; and the conduct of a Forum on Reproductive Health Law on December 9.
“While violence against women cut across all women from all sections of society, poor women are more vulnerable to violence and their legal options to pursue justice are very minimal if not practically non-existent because of their state of poverty and economic exploitation,” Taguiwalo averred.