In the Philippines, 14.5 percent of girls aged 13 – 17 have experienced sexual violence, according to the 2015 National Baseline Study on Violence against Children.
Violence against women and girls has profound effects on their reproductive health and life cycle, and can result in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. It leaves deep psychological scars that can take years to overcome. Responding to violence against women in development and humanitarian settings is a priority for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.
During the most recent International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, UNFPA, in partnership with the Office of the Vice President (OVP) held a dialogue with high school students from Juan Sumulong High School, Camp Aguinaldo High School, and San Roque High School to raise awareness on violence against women and girls as well as its linkage to teenage pregnancy.
The dialogue held in Juan Sumulong High School, is part of the nationwide “Babaenihan Campaign,” launched by the UNFPA and the OVP to raise awareness about the urgency of addressing teenage pregnancies through investments in education, health and economic opportunities.
Speakers for the dialogue included: Vice President Leni Robredo, UNFPA Country Representative, Klaus Beck, and Ms. Jean Enriquez, the Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP). Students were able to engage the speakers in an open forum, asking a variety of questions.
“UNFPA promotes the right of all women and girls to live free of violence and abuse,” said UNFPA Country Representative Klaus Beck. “This is not just an issue for women and
girls; it is an issue of concern for everyone. Let us all join the chorus of voices demanding change,” he added.
After the dialogue, the students participated in the Quezon City Health Department’s Teen Walk to Health, which feature 10 interactive stations on an array of issues ranging from teenage pregnancy to sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.
I am a victim too, and I am part of that demographic that they have mentioned, but I guess I have moved on, early on, and chose to face reality and live through the beautiful roller coaster called LIFE. An in the life we chose to live, we have to battle with the little things everyday. Others do have it easy, but don’t they do have their own demons that they fight.
From time to time we have to deal with an abusive cab driver who asks for an undeserved extra in exchange for his crappy service and that’s why Grab came along, house help that you treat like a relative and give them more that they deserve and still wasn’t enough for them, a relative who instead of taking care of you abuses you in so many ways you can imagine, friend who lives off on you and sucks you dry, or an ex-boss illegally dismisses you from work. YES, THIS IS ABUSE! Some don’t recognize it. It comes in many forms. And sometimes some people are able to grin and bear it for some amount of time, but please, you should come to a point when you finally say – THIS IS IT! THIS IS ENOUGH! I SHOULD START FIGHTING! NOW! Funny….. I came to that point, I even went to church to prepare myself, wore my best white button down blouse and my favorite chinos, brought my tough little sister along. And then my battle for that day was thwarted by the non-appearance of the other party. I was very ready. Headstrong. Eager. I could chew their heads off. And ever since that day, I have been ready and I will no longer let anyone abuse me in anyway. You get to a realization that no one else will fight your battles, you have YOU, yourself. YOUR CHOICES. YOUR VOICE. YOUR STRENGTHS. And you realize even YOUR WEAKNESSES.
“Ang pagiging Babae sa isang mundo kung saan marami nang naging pagbabaago, sa pag unlad, mga imbensyong siyentipiko, sa uri ng pamahalaan, sa pagkakapantay-pantay, sa karapatang pang Kababaihan, ngunit minsan ang lahat ng ito ay kulang pa rin o di naman kaya ay sinasantabi pa rin ng mga mapang-api at mapang-abusong ilan upang maisakatuparan ang kanilang kagustuhan, intensyon at ninanais, kung minsan, sabihin natin di man din nila tahasang intensyong makasakit o maka-ungos sa kanilang kapwa ngunit dahil marahil sa kanilang kasakiman at kagustuhang makamit ang kanilang nais ay wala silang sisinuhin, maabot lamang ito. Kilalanin ang mga sitwasyon, alamin mo sa iyong sarili kung kailangan mo na pa lang lumaban. Wag umupo at mag antay. Walang mangyayari. WAG MAGING BIKTIMA.”
Note: Photos courtesy of UNFPA