Friday, February 15, 2013
HUNDREDS danced in support of the global campaign to end violence against women and children.
Members of nongovernment organizations and government agencies participated in the One Billion Rising campaign that was held simultaneously in Manila, Iloilo, Davao City and Bacolod yesterday at the Ayala Center Cebu.
Leny Ocasiones, Gabriela Cebu party-list chairperson, said the activity was aimed at highlighting the efforts of Cebu-based groups to address various forms of abuse against women and children.
“We want to register our opposition to violence against women and children and be in solidarity with the world,” she told reporters yesterday.
“The statistics are very alarming. We have one woman out of every three women will be beaten or raped in their lifetime,” she said.
Geraldine Labradores, The Fair Trade Shop Cebu director, said there are 37 laws and policies that aim to protect women and children, but the statistics on abuse continue to rise.
She said data from the Women Resource Center from January to December 2012, there were 20,359 cases of rape, attempted rape, incest, domestic violence and sexual abuse.
“As a gender that gives life and nurtures life, we need to be empowered,” she said.
“We think we are safe at home, but we are not. We are abused by our husband, father, uncle,” said Thelma Chiong, of Crusade against Violence and Cebu Women’s Network, in her solidarity message.
“We think we are safe in malls,” she said, referring to her daughters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong were kidnapped, raped and killed in the late 1990s.
The other groups that expressed their support for the campaign were the University of the Philippines Gender and Development Office, Bisdak Pride, Good Shepherd Welcome House, Antonia de Ovieda Center, Legal Alternatives for Women Inc. and the Cebu Urban Poor Women’s League.
Men should also be included in the campaign, said Boy Sarmago, a member of the group Men Opposed to Violence against Women.
“We want to be good fathers and husbands,” he said, adding that men are not aware they have been stereotyped as perpetrators of abusive acts.
Sarmago also suggested that gender sensitivity seminars should be conducted for men in rural areas and not just in urban areas.