The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) officially launched the ‘18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women‘ advocacy, which is observed today until December 12.
This year’s campaign aims to raise awareness concerning the Safe Spaces Act among the general public and institutions. With the slogan, “Filipino Marespeto: Safe Spaces, Kasali Tayo“, PCW encourages government agencies, non-governmental organizations, sectoral groups, and individuals to take part in the 18-day advocacy.
Through the Republic Act 10398, November 25 was declared as the National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of VAWC. In relation to this, government agencies are “mandated to raise awareness on the problem of violence and the elimination of all forms of VAW.”
Violence against Women as a social problem
The United Nations defines VAW as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women.” Additionally, it includes threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.
Some people may decipher violence against women limitedly as a major public health problem—but it’s definitely NOT. It’s an existing social problem and these numbers can prove it.
Globally, 1 in 3 women has experienced either physical and/or sexual violence from intimate partners or non-partner. It is according to the data of the World Health Organization.
In the local context, the Philippine Statistics Authority’s National Demographic Health Survey 2017 revealed upsetting data. As it states, “1 in 4 Filipino women, aged 15-49, has experienced physical, emotional, or sexual violence from their husband or partner.”
Moreover, the rise of gender-based violence against women became evident in 2020. One of the factors was the prolonged lockdowns, according to the Philippines’ UN Resident Coordinator Office.
PCW’s lineup of key activities
PCW prepared a four-part series of events participants should not miss.
On this day, the campaign kicks off with the launching of the “Let’s Make this a Safe Space.” It serves as an experience-sharing online campaign, as well as the commitment-sharing of Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and Children (IACVAWC) members.
This upcoming December 3, there will also be an interesting online discussion with resource persons. The event will discuss how victims should respond to gender-based sexual harassment in the streets and public spaces or cyberspace.
On December 10, the event will focus on the prevention of sexual harassment cases in the workplace and educational/training institutions. Furthermore, they will also discuss the responsibilities of the employers and the schools stated under the Safe Spaces Act.
Lastly, on December 12, PCW will release a video featuring the highlights of the campaign.
Primer on Safe Space Act
Furthermore, PCW released a primer on Republic Act No. 11313, also known as the “Safe Spaces Act” or the “Bawal Bastos Law”. This contains the full text of the said laws and their implementing rules and regulations (IRR). The public can access the primer on PCW’s website.
We should take note that as long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development, and peace.
John Alfred Esmilla is an aspiring online journalist and educator. In his free time, he plays Mobile Legends and watches reality shows. A pitcher of coffee fuels him. He believes that height is just a number, so don't dare to ask it. His love language: acts of service.