Editorial: Fighting victimization-A A +A
Sunday, February 17, 2013
VALENTINE’S Day served as a dramatic backdrop for the messages sent out by the One Billion Rising movement.
“I will survive” rang out from the global mobilization of women, who danced for the estimated one billion women who survive different forms of abuse.
Women Resource Center data show that in 2012, there were 20,359 cases of rape, attempted rape, incest, domestic violence and sexual abuse, reported Bernadette A. Parco in Sun.Star Cebu’s Feb. 15 article. Statistics on abuse rise despite 37 laws and policies that protect women and children in the country.
But the masses of pink- or red-shirted women, as well as men, also underscored how women and children will not be abused with impunity.
The vigilance, solidarity and activism required to promote women and children’s
dignity and freedom from violence must begin with men and wo-men examining their ideas of selfhood and the inviolability of self-worth.
Victimization does not even have to be manifested as an act of overt use of physical power or visible exploitation of opportunity.
It can be insidious and invisible, as a perception that the victim is “asking” to be abused.
A day before groups in Cebu, Manila, Iloilo, Davao and Bacolod danced to draw attention on the one out of three women who will be beaten or raped in their lifetime, a British female was nearly raped by a motorcycle-for-hire driver in Barangay Malbago, Badian, Cebu.
In Sun.Star Cebu’s Feb. 15 report by Davinci S. Maru and Danise Viviene Adora, the woman was only saved by a passing fisherman who prevented the driver from forcing his passenger to have sex with him.
The report quoted the Badian police chief as saying that the driver may have been “possibly tempted after he saw the victim was wearing only short shorts.”
One of the enduring myths justifying why abuse occurs blames the victim, usually a woman, for tempting a man to act on his baser instincts by her clothes or lack of clothes, actions or implied availability.
A predator or abuser’s use of force is self-willed and –planned, not an unfortunate consequence of a victim’s planned or unplanned seduction.
Another alibi abusers resort to is that the victim’s actions or inaction pushed them beyond their limits and accidentally caused them to explode against their partners.
Wives or girlfriends who publicly quarrel with their partners or drag them from gambling or drinking sessions are judged as emasculating their men; thus, deserving of a punch or two.
A woman got this same “medicine” when a tattoo inked on her back enraged her husband.
As Kevin A. Lagunda reported in Sun.Star Cebu last Feb. 14, the woman was punched on several occasions, insulted and driven out of her home by her husband. She filed a complaint against him. Her husband will face trial for violating Republic Act (RA) 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.
To be empowered is not only to seek justice for the victim but also to reduce or prevent the possibility of abuse violating other women and children if not redressed.
While RA 9262 encompasses online activity as falling within the scope of acts of abuse, the notions of accountability and social justice remain open.
In a recent case of a video exposing coeds engaging in sex, public judgment was unsparing on the person who uploaded the sex video, as well as the Netizens who downloaded, viewed and shared the video.
Will such abusers ever be caught? How can we discourage imitation?
Lastly, how can we better fuse our private and public avowals against domestic abuse?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 18, 2013.