June 20, 2024

Women are known to have better intuition, patience, emotional focus, compassion, and networking ability. The list of female strengths is endless.Throughout history, the world has witnessed many great women of strength who managed to tap into their everyday power to leave a permanent mark on society.
However, amidst the heaviness of their responsibilities lies a violence untold that will surely leave a scar for the rest of their lives. There are stories that victims are not strong enough to fight for their rights.
“Candy,”who works as a cashier in one of the malls in Baguio City, is one of those hundreds of women who are abused. For years, she has endured her relationship with “Jimmy” her partner, despite the various abuses she is experiencing. She hoped that Jimmy will change and become a better person.
Candy met Jimmy three years ago after a failed relationship. At first, Jimmy was a loving, kind, and perfect partner to her and her two-year-old daughter. As time went by, Jimmy’s attitude transformed into the negative after losing his job last April because the establishment where he works closed permanently due to the Covid-19 pandemic.With Candy keeping her job, he became paranoid and possessive leading to physical and verbal abuses.This is just one of the hundreds of unreported cases of violence against women (VAW) in the country.
The National Demographic Health Survey 2017, released by the Philippine Statistics Authority, showed that one in four Filipino women, aged 15 to 49, has experienced physical, emotional, or sexual violence from their husband or partner.
The government instituted various measures and mechanisms to address VAW. One of which is the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW, an advocacy observed from Nov. 25 to Dec. 12 as mandated by Proclamation 1172 s. 2006
The 18-Day Campaign to End VAW supports the government’s goal of protecting the human rights of women and girls by upholding its commitment to address all forms of gender-based violence (GBV) as enshrined in the Constitution. By virtue of Republic Act 10398 or the Act declaring Nov. 25 of every year as the National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of VAWC, government agencies are mandated to raise awareness on the problem of violence and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.
In 2006, then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation 1172, extending the national campaign to 18 days, thereby including Dec. 12, a date that marked the signing in 2000 of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, to supplement the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crimes.
The 2020 campaign comes at a time when the country is reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic that aggravated gender issues and affected marginalized and vulnerable sectors. Women may experience different forms of VAW while locked down in their homes with the perpetrators, with tension rising from uncertainties in health, security, and economy creating a perfect storm.Sexual harassment, victim-blaming, and several instances of online forms of VAW were also observed.
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the challenge of strengthening the functionality of barangay VAW desks as the first line of response for survivors.Data from the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s 2019 National Statistical Report on the Functionality of VAW Desks reflected that only 19 percent of assessed barangays have reached the highest level of functionality.
This year’s campaign highlights the role of the barangay, as part of a VAW-free community, in consonance with the theme, “VAW-free community starts with me”. Aside from capacitating VAW desk officers and other barangay officials on how to handle VAW/GBV cases, the campaign reiterates everyone’s commitment and contributions on ending VAW and calls on the general public to commit to end violence against women and children.
The 18-Day Campaign Online Advocacy encourages everyone to share their advocacy activities online through #VAWFreePH and making their posts public to generate traction online, use of 18-Day Campaign to End VAW Facebook profile frame available through the Philippine Commission on Women Facebook page, feature the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW in agency websites and social media account, and share the social media cards that PCW will release through its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
As Malala Yousafzai said “I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. … We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”