18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women

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Monday, December 12, 2011

TODAY, December 12, at 8 a.m all schools and offices around the world will hold the blowing of the whistle as a signal to halt Violence Against Women (VAW).

November 25-December 12, is an 18-day campaign worldwide to end VAW with the theme “Unite: Stop VAW, Now!” This event in the Philippines was spearheaded by Gabriela, a national alliance of women fighting for the civil, constitutional rights and freedom of women and crusaded for putting a stop to VAW as one of its core gender-based campaign for 21 years.

For the past five years Gabriela launched two campaigns on VAW - the VOW vs. VAW (Voices of Women vs. Violence against Women) in 2002 and the Blow-a-Whistle Campaign in 2003. They conveyed the issues of VOW vs.


VAW to schools and communities. According to Gabriela, the Blow-a-Whistle campaign aims not only to educate women but also to arm women with a whistle which they can use when in danger to attract the attention of other people. The campaign also encourages for women victims to break the culture of silence. Gabriela has also identified seven deadly sins against women merely as follows: sex trafficking and prostitution; domestic violence; rape, incest and sexual abuse; sexual harassment; violence as a result of political strife; repression; sexual discrimination and exploitation; and limited access to reproductive health care.

A woman is a responsible human being endowed by God with full competence; she represents half of society and has set out in her life to perform her duties toward her home and the wider community in the most admirable way. Therefore it is expected that a woman should be treated with respect, recognize her rights especially the right to life, preserve the woman’s’ dignity, honor and reputation, preserve her nature and femininity, freedom, justice and equality and a strong sense of self-confidence and dignity with which God has endowed her.

But this is not happening, images of women aired on national television and newspapers being madly beaten and assaulted by their partners to death. Women were abducted, gang raped and murdered. Women today are victims of raped, incest, prostitution, illegal recruitment, battering and human trafficking, cybersex, and pornography. These are gruesome situations where women experience violence. I could feel the pain of these women crying for mercy, shouting and pleading, until everything was silent, and all what they wanted is to end their sufferings.

Every second, every minute each day, women are maligned and maltreated. Statistics show that the rate of violence among women globally is increasing. Women are sexually assaulted, beaten and killed; one third of women were murdered by their husbands or partners in the United States; a woman is badly beaten and put to death every six hours by their respective partners in Africa.

In 2007, 22 women were slaughtered each day in India. Guatemala reported two women face death each day. In Ecuador, adolescent girls reporting sexual violence in school identified teachers as the perpetrator in 37 percent of cases. In Iran, a number of women were raped and horribly beaten for not following dress code. In the Philippines, violence against women reached sevenfold from 1,100 in 1996 to 7, 383 in 2004, in 2006 - 5,578 and an increase of 21 percent by 2008 and presently growing.

The Ampatuan massacre depicted how brutally women were murdered and buried five feet under the ground. U.N. International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates 2.5 million people worldwide are victims of slavery and trafficking, of which over half live in Asia Pacific. Trafficking is the form of the importation of female sex slaves and use of children as sex workers. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rape every year. Soraya Chemaly, a feminist, satirist and media critic said, “Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime, as many as one in four women experience physical or sexual violence during pregnancy, for example, which increases the likelihood of having a miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion. Up to 53 percent of women in the world are physically abused by their intimate partners.

This dreadful situation among women must end. Violence against women is bound to occur, so the entire world from north to south and east to west should work together to stop this violence against women. This 18-day campaign would at least help stop these grievous crimes and offenses committed among women. Let’s release these women from entanglement. Let’s all unite: Stop VAW, now!

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 12, 2011.


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