UB joins the campaign on ending violence against women

by RONALYN BANAKEN

 

 

 

 

The University of Baguio (UB) joins the worldwide commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – annually held on the 25th of November.

 

Violence against women (VAW) is perhaps one of the most disturbing social problems lurking in the corners of the society. It spells threat – especially for families – for putting women in an unsafe and unsecured situation means ripping one of the pillars of humanity.



‘Gender-based violence’

Violence strikes women from all kinds of backgrounds and of all ages. It can happen at work, on the street, or at home.

 

According to the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the National Statistics Office, as reported by the Philippine Commission on Women, one in five Filipino women aged 15-49 has experienced physical violence since age 15.

 

VAW, the Philippine Commission on Women stressed, is deemed to be closely linked with the unequal power relationship between women and men otherwise known as “gender‑based violence.”

 

“Societal norms and traditions dictate people to think men are the leaders, pursuers, providers and take on dominant roles in society while women are nurturers, men’s companions and supporters and therefore take on subordinate roles in society. This perception leads to men gaining more power over women. With power comes the need to control to retain that power. And VAW is a form of men’s expression of controlling women to retain power.”

 

An even greater problem is the lack of concrete information to show the extent of VAW in the country as many cases of violence against women often go unreported. Why so? Accounts revealed many of the victims are either embarrassed or afraid to speak up.

 

Coercion

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health has identified the forms of violence against women.

  • Dating violence
  • Domestic and intimate partner violence
  • Emotional abuse
  • Human trafficking
  • Same-sex relationship violence
  • Sexual assault and abuse
  • Stalking
  • Violence against immigrant and refugee women
  • Violence against women at work
  • Violence against women with disabilities

 

All these modes boil down to one distinct certain characteristic: that which causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviors.

 

More specifically, physical abuse (like hitting, shoving, kicking, biting, or throwing things), emotional abuse (such as yelling, name-calling, bullying, embarrassing, keeping the victim away from her friends, saying the victim deserves the abuse, or giving gifts to "make up" for the abuse), and sexual abuse (like forcing the victim to do something sexual when the victim cannot agree to it) all constitute violence against women.

 

Interventions

Currently, there are few interventions whose effectiveness has been proven through well-designed studies.

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is some evidence from high-income countries that school-based programs to prevent violence within dating relationships have shown effectiveness.

 

“Several other primary prevention strategies – those that combine microfinance with gender equality training; promote communication and relationship skills within couples and communities; reduce access to, and harmful use of alcohol; and change cultural gender norms – have shown some promise.”

 

An appropriate response from the health sector can also play a huge role in the prevention of violence. Sensitization and education of health and other service providers is therefore another important strategy.

 

Moreover, to achieve lasting change, the WHO noted it is important to enact legislation and develop policies that address discrimination against women; promote gender equality; support women; and help to move towards more peaceful cultural norms. Likewise, non-government organizations have a crucial part in helping curb, if not eliminate, the problem. As for the general public, concern for women’s welfare is more than enough.

 

More importantly, addressing fully the consequences of violence and the needs of victims/survivors requires a multi-sectoral response. Nothing can be better and more successful that everyone pitching in towards a common goal.

 

Women play a central role in preserving humanity. Harming them is turning compassion, sympathy and kindness into cold-bloodedness.

 

 

 

 

 

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