PCW Statement on the Observance of the 18-Day Campaign To End Violence Against Women

One out of four women aged 15-49 (24.4 percent) has experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence committed by their husband or partner according to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

This slightly decreased compared with the 2008 and 2013 NDHS figures posted at 29 percent and 27.5 percent respectively. The decrease, though minimal could be due to the presence of laws and availability of services for victim-survivors offered by government and non-government organizations.

The numbers still give us an alarming picture that Violence Against Women (VAW) continues to happen. Thus, in our constant desire to create a VAW-free community, everyone, women and girls, men and boys need to fight the macho culture that negates what we have gained so far. There is now a worldwide outcry against a feudal-machismo culture still persisting, manifested by rape, intimate partner abuse, sex trafficking, sexual harassment cases in the entertainment, media and various spheres, and sexist remarks from influential personalities, including those in male-dominated groups and fraternities, among others.

In a society where women’s rights must be respected, protected, and fulfilled, toxic masculinity cannot be tolerated.

On the occasion of the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW this 2018, we call on everyone to instill compassion and respect for women, especially for the victims of gender-based violence. We call on all women to take courage and seek help so that perpetrators would be held liable, and justice and healing can be attained. We call on our government service providers to assess the quality of their work to promote the help-seeking behavior of VAW victim-survivors. We also call on non-government actors to continue their efforts in assisting VAW survivors and in being vigilant in reporting gaps in implementing the laws and addressing the issue. Now, more than ever, is the best time to recommit ourselves to uphold women’s rights.

It may still seem a long way to go, but let us not lose hope that zero tolerance on gender-based violence is achievable. Our concerted efforts, no matter how big or small, can all lead to a bright and VAW-free community. Let us join hands to ensure that every woman or girl is empowered to break free from any form of violence and discrimination.