V-Day-A A +A
By Tyrone Velez
Thursday, February 14, 2013
THIS Valentine's Day, women will not wait for a date, or roses or chocolates.
Instead, they will take to the streets to dance as a sign of protest.
This is One Billion Rising, a campaign started by writer Eve Ensler to stop the violence against women and children all over the world.
This campaign will have one billion women - and supportive men - from across 200 countries including the Philippines, to dance in unison.
Here in Davao, the event will take place at 4 p.m. at Rizal Park.
Dance is a powerful expression. Flash mobs have lately captured people's fancy for creativity and expression.
Historically, dance also signifies resistance. Davao historian Macario Tiu wrote that during the American occupation in the early 1900s, Kalagan Moro and Lumads performed a Dance of Labi to signify their resistance against the American colonizers.
And now, this dance from women worldwide will express as Ensler said, their opposition to violence against women.
Ensler, who wrote the liberating Vagina Monologues that dissected issues on womanhood, says violence is a reality shared by women all across race, class and nation. In the website Bulatlat.com, she even mentioned what she saw in a Philippine dumpsite where young women have to scavenge and prostitute themselves, an experience that jarred her.
The United Nations notes that one of every three women has experienced rape, abuse or attack.
In the Philippines, the Gabriela women's partylist said, "In every 43 minutes a woman is beaten by her husband or partner. A woman or child is harassed in every 4 hours. There are 500,000 victims of prostitution in the Philippines where 100,000 of them are children. Eleven women die every day due to complications in childbirth."
In Davao City, the cases of violence against women have risen. In the past five years reported cases of VAWC has tripled from 363 to 1015 including prevalent cases of physical, psychological, sexual and economic abuse.
Violence perpetrated by men in uniform, or state violence is prevalent in Mindanao affecting indigenous, Moro and peasants women. Blaan leader Juvy Capion from Kiblawan was pregnant when she was murdered by soldiers who hunted her husband who fought against a large-scale mining company. Eight-year old Sunshine Jabinez in Pantukan was killed by a bullet fired by a drunk soldier. Many Moro women and children were killed by soldiers in all-out wars.
What has government done to these and other related cases? It is a question that we shall raise today.
Even with the RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children protecting their rights, there is still much to be done to stop their vulnerability.
The government, especially Noynoy's so-called daang matuwid, has done nothing to uphold the economic, social and political rights of women and children.
Instead Noynoy pushes foreign investments like large-scale mining that plunders our resources and worsens poverty, dislocation and violence. Demolitions continue, prices go spiraling upward, jobs are hard to find, mothers or daughters are forced to work abroad. Not even the conditional cash transfers could hide the fact that people are hungry and jobless.
These are the violence that we should stop and change. Women hold half the sky, and without their liberation it is impossible to change our society.
For that, February 14 or V-day is not about romance, but rather a day of dance for justice and rights.
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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 14, 2013.