PCW Statement for the 2019 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women

A VAW-free community is built on equality, equity, respect for women’s rights, positive masculinity, and inclusiveness.

On the surface, this community is ideal, or maybe impossible to achieve. Because numbers show that Violence Against Women (VAW) still exists in different forms, in all walks of life, and in various parts of the country.

Globally, the World Health Organization said that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. In the Philippines, the National Demographic and Health Survey 2017 shows that one in four women age 15-49 (24.4%) has experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence committed by their husband or partner. A 2016 survey by the Social Weather Station shows that the grassroots communities, particularly in Barangays Payatas & Bagong Silangan in Quezon City, 88% of women (18-24 years old) experienced sexual harassment in public spaces at least once.

In the past years, we have witnessed different manifestations of deep-seated machismo that derail our fight against VAW. Rape occurs and worst, is trivialized, made a laughing matter, or portrayed tastelessly in various platforms. Sexual abuse and advances persist in several circles and levels, private and public personalities alike say sexist remarks. Perpetrators commit violence through abuse of authority, and victims experience harassment in public spaces, and are not safe from abuse, even in their own homes.

Consistent with our six-year campaign theme, “VAW-free Community Starts with Me,” we call for bringing back the value of respect for fellow human beings. Respect for others counters
the flawed sense of entitlement over women. It redefines masculinity from the toxic concept of
manhood that uses strength for dominance, to a positive one that is rooted on equity, equality, and respect for diversity. 

In a VAW-free community, women and girls know their rights and will not allow their violation; men and boys are instruments not of violence, but of peace and positive masculinity; the government mechanisms that address the issue are functioning well with compassionate service providers; and the Filipino people, as a nation value and respect the dignity of women and their right to liberty, safety, and security.

May we all be a part in creating a VAW-free Philippines – a community where women, unhampered by violence and discrimination, enjoy equal opportunities to become change agents and to contribute to and benefit from national transformation.