El Gamma Penumbra performs vision of a VAW-free society

“We can be violence free.”

This is the message conveyed by shadow play group El Gamma Penumbra after performing a shadow dance to the song “Babae Bumangon Ka” during the kick-off activity of the 2015 18-Day Campaign To End Violence Against Women dubbed as the “Assembly of Anti-VAW Advocacy Supporters” on November 25 at the Aliw Theatre in Pasay City.

The first ever grand winner of Asia’s Got Talent depicted in their 4-minute performance presented real-life situations that women and girls usually encounter, like domestic violence, sexual harassment in work and education setting, and various forms of harassment in street and public places like stalking, leering, and whistling.

The performance also highlighted the services offered by the frontline government agencies such as the Women and Children Protection Units in public hospitals, Women and Children Protection Desks in police stations, barangay VAW Desk, and psycho-social counselling, among others.

‘VAW is everybody’s concern’

Saying that VAW is everybody’s concern, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Chairperson Remedios I. Rikken believes that this shadow play can help in making it easier for people to realize and understand VAW as an issue.

“We maximize all forms of communication, including the arts, to communicate that VAW is never okay and that VAW is everybody’s concern.”

“This performance of El Gamma Penumbra gives us a ring that apathy leads to further perpetuation of violence. This has to stop. We all have the power to choose and start changing our society into one that is violence-free. No one person or agency can do this alone, we must join hands in ending violence,” she emphasized.

The El Gamma Penumbra shadow play video will be used by PCW as advocacy material that can be shared online and used in lectures, fora and other public events. Said video can be viewed at PCW’s Official Youtube Page.

Other campaign events

The 18-Day Campaign to End VAW is observed annually from November 25 to December 12. The PCW and other government agencies, local government units, academe, non-government organizations and civic organizations organize national and local events to raise public awareness on VAW and the programs and services available to address it.

Other campaign activities include “Orange Your Icon for 18 Days” which encourages establishments to dress their major landmarks or icons in orange during the campaign period, in solidarity with the United Nations UNiTE to End VAW Campaign. Orange was chosen for the international campaign because its bright color represents hope and a future that is free from violence. Aside from the PCW building in Malacañang Palace Complex, other establishments and public places are participating in this activity, like the Rizal Park’s Eastern and Central Sections, the Provincial Capitol of Aklan, Banaue Hostel, Talisay, Camarines Norte, San Antonio, Quezon, Marinduque State Collegeand Don Restituto Baol Central School-Gingoog City, Mindanao, among others.

PCW is also hosting the forum “Promoting Safe Communities: Forum with Male Advocates Against Violence Everywhere” on December 1 at the AFP Theater in Quezon City, “Barangay VAW Desk Congress” on December 2 at Bayview Hotel and the “CineJuana Film Festival” featuring movies that carry VAW as an issue on December 8 to 10 at the Leandro Locsin Auditoirum of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in Intramuros, Manila. Both events are open to the public and free of charge but require prior registration through the PCW website.

The PCW is the lead agency that makes government work for the promotion, protection and fulfillment of women’s human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment.