The 18-day period from November 25 to December 12 is dedicated to the campaign to end VAW. VAW means “violence against women’, a phenomenon that persists even in the most developed nations.
The 18-day campaign spans the period from November 25, which is the International Day Against VAW, up to December 12, the date in the year 2000 that marked the start of opening for signature of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.
In a country which portrays itself as reverential to women compared to other Asian nations that consider women as second rate citizens, I was stunned to learn that 1 in every 5 women suffered physical violence while 6 out of every 100 women reported to have suffered sexual violence, according to a survey conducted in 2013 with 15 – 49 years old respondents. The survey further revealed that only 3 of every 10 women sought help to stop the violence, this despite the existence of RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004.
I made my own quick survey within my circle of friends and family if they know about RA 9262 and the majority of the 20 persons asked said they have heard about VAW, but are clueless about the law. One of those I asked was a friend who works in government who said she has attended a gender sensitivity training but the focus is on the social and psychological aspects of gender and nil on the law. And yes, some friends said they heard about the law in the news where lawyers of showbiz personalities casually mention RA 9262.
Lack of awareness by many is a manifestation of ineffective implementation and enforcement of this very important law. Knowing one’s rights and obligations under RA 9262 is the very essence for providing facilities such as the VAW Desk in every barangay to respond to violations of a woman’s rights.
I am indeed pleased to acknowledge the initiatives of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), which responded to the call of action on the campaign to end VAW. RADM William M. Melad deserves to be commended for taking the lead in this campaign considering that PCG is a male-dominated agency with no more than 10 percent of its manpower compliment consisting of women.
Noteworthy too is the work done by the women of PCG to support the advocacy for a VAW-free agency. Putting up the week-long event for the 18-Day campaign in coordination with the Philippine Commission on Women is a disposition most likely envisaged by the PCG women personnel.
Kudos to PCG management for allowing women in maritime to take a meaningful part in this end VAW campaign.
* * *
The Women in Maritime Philippines (WIMAPHIL) will hold its Christmas Ball 2016 on December 14, Wednesday,from 6 to 10 pm at the Philippine Ports Authority Multi-Purpose Hall, Bonifacio Drive, Manila. All members of WIMAPHIL are invited to join a night of fun with dancing, singing and dining. There will be raffles of goodies, too. Those interested may contact your respective Chapter Coordinators for details.