Thousands of women show love on Valentine’s Day-A A +A
Thursday, February 14, 2013
“I’M rising for women and girl-children because unless they have equal access to education, health and representation, there is no social justice at all. Rising for women and girls – especially from national minority -- is to fight against oppression and exploitation, and to claim a future of equality and dignity.”
This is the statement of Moro woman youth leader Bai Ali Indayla as she and her group showed their love for a billion of women and children across the world on Valentine’s Day during the global dance protest dubbed “One Billion Rising.”
Indayla, the Mindanao spokesperson and second nominee of Kabataan partylist, said “One Billion Rising” is a great opportunity for both young men and women to learn and value gender equality and how to end violence against women and children.
She noted that out of over half a million victims of prostitution in the country, hundreds of thousands are children.
Indayla also said that cases of rape against young girls continue to rise, making them unsafe even in their own communities.
“I stand witness to many women and young girls who were victims of the continuing conflict in Mindanao. We are most vulnerable in warn torn areas, and are even more susceptible in the presence of US military troops. The Aquino administration should show political will and put an end on the continuing abuse of women and young girls perpetuated by men in uniform,” she said.
Bayan Muna Representative and senatorial bet Teddy Casiño, who joined Thursday’s “One Billion Rising,” added that violence against women and children not only affects women but the men and women around her.
“Her parents, brothers and sisters, children and her friends are affected as well. It’s an attack on our dignity as persons, it condemns our humanity. Naniniwala ako na ang isang lipunang kinokonsinte ang ganitong klaseng paglabag sa karapatang pantao ay isang lipunang hindi dapat kalakhan ng ating mga anak," Casiño said in a statement.
At least hundreds of women’s rights activists, Tropical Storm Sendong survivors and different grassroots organizations joined in the simultaneous gatherings of “One Billion Rising” on Valentine’s Day in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Malaybalay and Gingoog cities.
The event carried a wide range of women’s issues -- from physical abuse to economic and political rights violations.
Rhodura Bulosan of Gabriela Northern Mindanao, said the event coincided with the 15th anniversary of The Vagina Monologues in the Philippines.
“Serious violations against women and children continue even with the existence of the RA (Republic Act) 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act,” Bulosan said.
Based on statistics, approximately one woman is beaten by her partner every 43 minutes while one child is battered every hour.
“A woman or child is harassed every four hours, and it was even committed by some men in uniform,” Bulosan said. (Abigail Chee Kee Malalis)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 15, 2013.