Groups call for end to violence vs women

Published November 27, 2021, 4:03 PM

by Gabriela Baron

Groups demanded an end to violence against women amid reports of increasing rates of gender-based abuse.

(Photo from GABRIELA Youth)

In a statement, the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) stressed the need for women’s empowerment to “achieve social justice and social progress.”

“For so long, women have been marginalized, and have remained unseen in this world. In the eyes of the law, women had to struggle for their rights just to be seen as equal to men; in the eyes of society, for having to face societal pressure and gender norms, and in the yes of others, for having to experience the inhumane acts of violence, sexual assault, and many more. Women have fought battle after battle just to get where they are now, but the war is far from over.” AHRC said.

It added that the COVID-19 pandemic “has not only worsened the ongoing struggles of women, but also created new ones,” such as the surge of sexual domestic violence as well as online sexual exploitation experienced during lockdowns and restrictions.

According to a survey conducted by Plan International, it was found that 68 percent of girls and young women in the Philippines have experienced online harassment on social media.

“The pandemic has made it all the more difficult to seek help, and victims have to hide in the shadows of their struggle due to the isolation. This is why, now more than ever, we must make a stand to empower women, amplify their voices, and to call for an end to the violence they experience,” AHRC added.

The group also called for safe sanctuaries for women and urged lawmakers to strengthen protections afforded to women during the pandemic.

“We must stimulate public conversations and educate the public on what individuals and organizations can do to raise awareness of violence against women and children during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. We march in solidarity against oppression and misogyny. We refuse to live in a society that treats women any less than men.”

READ MORE: Election candidates urged to address rising cases of violence against women, children

Citing data from the Philippine National Police-Women Children Protection Center, GABRIELA said one woman is abused every 34 minutes, while one child is abused every 24 minutes.

“Amid COVID-19 ravaging the country, another crisis has intensified and haunted the Filipino people: the violence against women and our children,” said GABRIELA Secretary-General Joms Salvador.

“We have seen how many of us grow hungrier by the day, how we’ve experienced extreme joblessness and risked contraction of COVID-19 just to make ends meet. All the while, Filipino women have faced worsening forms of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and other forms of violence against women,” she added.

According to Salvador, there have been reportedly 133 women political prisoners and most of them “have been illegally imprisoned.”

“But it is by breaking our silence, our continuous fight for our democratic rights that we gain some meaningful victories. Just like the recent acquittal of Cora Agovida, GABRIELA’s National Capital Region Chairperson, who was detained two years ago.

The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 recently acquitted Agovida of illegal possession of firearms and explosive charges, saying prosecutors failed to prove her guilt.

“Cora’s freedom is just a start. There are still more women political prisoners languishing in jail, and some are ailing and elderly like Moreta Alegre. We need to continue our fight, continue to unleash the chain of oppression and exploitation. When we break our silence, we rise for truth and justice,” Salvador ended.

READ MORE: Violence, lack of access to healthcare among problems faced by women — CWR