IGDD wants to stop victim blaming in gender-based cases

 (Image from Pixabay)
(Image from Pixabay)

THE Integrated Gender and Development Division (IGDD) of Davao City said proper messaging on gender-based violence and sexual abuse should be disseminated rather than propagating victim blaming.

IGDD head Lorna Mandin said during a media forum on Thursday, September 1, 2022, that victim blaming, such as condemning the victim for wearing revealing clothes, drinking, or staying out late as to reasons why they are raped, normalizes rape culture.

“Dili gyod ta dapat makadungog og victim-blaming. Ngano man? Siya na gani ang na-rape, gina-justify pa ang act, ang crime (We really should not victim-blaming. Why? The person is already raped and abused and victim blaming justifies the criminal act),” Mandin said.

She added that the general public along with service providers such as the police, social workers, media practitioners, and lawyers should address misconceptions about victim blaming.

At the same time, rape and sexual abuse prevention should start on male individuals since the majority of perpetrators are male.

"It is rooted in patriarchal beliefs - control and power (over women),” she said.

In line with this, the city government of Davao through the IGDD and the Davao City Police (DCPO) are strengthening campaigns and initiatives against gender-based violence and sexual abuse.

DCPO spokesperson and head of Women and Children Protection Desk PMaj. Teresita Gaspan said police stations in the city are mandated to hold lectures on “men oppose violence against women” for male audiences.

“Kasagaran ilang audience gyod mga lalaki gyod, mga construction workers, drivers, para mapataasan nato ang awareness aning sexual abuse (Most of the audience are male such as construction workers, drivers, to really raise awareness on sexual abuse),” Gaspan said.

She added that DCPO, in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd), will also hold “safe and unsafe touch” lectures and other gender sensitivity seminars for pre-school to high school students.

“Ginauna namo kadtong area nga taas og ang mga rape na kaso, so mao to among target (We are prioritizing areas with high cases of rape, that’s our target),” Gaspan said.

The IGDD also integrated educational concepts about sexual abuse and exploitation in the DepEd curriculum from elementary to senior high school to educate children on gender-based crimes and how to handle such issues.

At the same time, Mandin said the city’s response and services for rape and sexual abuse victims will continue, such as police assistance through the Kean Gabriel Hotline wherein a social worker and police are on standby to respond to calls.

Also provided are medical assistance at the Women and Children Protection Unit of the Southern Philippines Medical Center, legal assistance focusing on rape cases, psychological and psychosocial support, and temporary shelter for victims.

Aside from these, Mandin encourages victims to report their cases immediately or to confide in a trusted person to help them with their situation.

She said widespread awareness in the community about gender-based crimes would also see an increase in rape cases filed with the police since more victims would be brave enough to come forward with their experiences. (ICM)

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