Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on Thursday said abuse and exploitation of women in the country is “alarming.”
Taguiwalo said the Policy Development and Planning Bureau (PDPB) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) disclosed that a total of 2,797 women in especially difficult circumstances (WEDC) have been in the care of the department’s residential care facilities from January to September 2016.
The department’s Haven for Women also assisted 533 women, the Sanctuary Center helped 232 women and the Haven for Women and Girls has taken care of 74 women.
According to Taguiwalo, when it comes to the number of monitored cases of WEDC served by case category and region, the DSWD units have provided assistance to, or monitored the cases of 210, 842 WEDC from January to September 2016.
A total of 127 were cases of sexual abuse (76 rape, incest 47 and acts of lasciviousness) and 232 were cases of sexual exploitation (227 prostitution, 1 pornography and 4 cyber-pornography).
On the other hand, there were 318 cases of physical abuse and maltreatment, 250 cases of psychological and emotional abuse, 179 cases of illegal recruitment and 367 cases of trafficking.
Other 2,273 WEDC clients were served in the residential and non-residential centers and community-based services and 207,096 were cases of WEDC clients provided with services from the crisis intervention unit (CIU) of the Central Office and Field Offices.
Taguiwalo expressed belief that abuse and exploitation of women in the country will continue because “many Filipinos including women take women’s rights for granted, and worse, take cases of women abuse and exploitation as ordinary events.”
“It is highly lamentable that Philippine society continues to neglect women’s issues, and that for the most part, many view that only militant or activist women should care about these same issues,” she said.
The DSWD chief pointed out that “women’s rights are issues that should be supported by all Filipinos, men and women alike. We all have mothers, sisters, wives, aunts, nieces, daughters and partners.”
The abuses against women are not acceptable and never will be, she said.
“There is no excuse for abusing and exploiting women, so we must all work together to promote women’s rights and help each other understand their importance. When we protect and defend women’s rights, we nurture a culture and way of living that is kinder, more humane and more compassionate,” Taguiwalo added.
Although the DSWD will actively participate in the “One Billion Rising” (OBR) global annual campaign with the 2017 theme “Solidarity Against Exploitation of Women,” she said “much remains to be done to educate Philippine society on issues of women’s rights and the urgency of the need to fight and stop abuse and exploitation of women.” NELSON S. BADILLA