Men rise vs violence on women, children
January 20, 2013
They rise, speak and stand against violence inflicted on women and children. They are men of stature from different fields of endeavor. They are the V-MEN.
The militant women’s alliance Gabriela, together with Gabriela Women’s Party-list, and the New Voice Company launched the V-MEN Philippines on January 17 at the Trinoma Mall in Quezon City.
The Philippine launch is part of the global One Billion Rising Campaign against violence against women and children worldwide that will culminate on February 14, 2013.
“We thank and honor the men who take part in the struggle to put an end to violence against women and children by dubbing them as V-MEN. Being part of V-MEN Philippines means spreading the word and encouraging more men to stop the abuse and speak out for women and children’s rights,” explained Rep. Luz Ilagan.
The Center for Women’s Resources reported an increase in incidences of violence against women from 2001 to 2010. Every hour, a mother or her child is beaten, according to CWR.
Every two hours, a woman or child is raped. Every five hours, a woman or child is sexually harassed. Alarmingly, according to the said study, victims are getting younger every year. About 63 percent of the sexually harassed victims are minors.
Women comprise 61 percent of victims of domestic violence.
“V-MEN not only respect women, but they also use their influence to bring to public attention the rights of women, particularly the
issue of violence against women and children,” Ilagan said.
Gabriela Secretary-General Joms Salvador added that patriarchy still rules in Philippine society and macho culture stigmatizes women victims. “Very few men come out in the open in defense of women. Most Filipino men are macho,” Salvador said.
“(But) slowly, some brave men are already voicing their concerns on the increasing violence against women.” Salvador continued.
V-Men speak out
In the launch, the group introduced the first batch of V-Men, they include National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, acclaimed movie director Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, talk show host Boy Abunda, actor and Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) board member Bobby Andrews, and MTRCB Chairperson Atty. Eugenio Villareal.
Also included are theater director and writer Rito Asilo, activist-priest Fr. Joe Dizon, and artist Egai Fernandez. Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino, peasant leader and Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Pharex President Tomas Marcelo Agana III, rock icon Chikoy Pura, sports commentator and football coach Mikee Carreon and stage actor and singer Leo Valdez.
“They have committed to rise with women to demand an end to violence against women and take part in the One Billion Rising Philippines Campaign to end violence against women,” Rep. Luz Ilagan said.
In a video message, Boy Abunda said that he does not want to be in the sidelines as women and children suffered from violence. “I want to part of it, I want to add my voice. I want to join whatever action, towards a world where no mother’s suffering, no more hurting (of) girls just because she they are female,” Abunda said.
For his part, Dizon said he speaks as a human being and a priest when he says never to violence against women and children.
“I rise against any and all forms of violence against women and children because they are human beings with equal dignity and rights just like the male creature,” he said. Dizon also jokingly said that women can always use his walking cane to hit those who abuse women and children.
Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino said that a stand for women’s rights is a stand for justice and dignity for all persons. “As one billion women rise, one billion men will also rise against violence,” he said.
Casino, a senatorial candidate, also stressed that women suffer not only domestic violence. “Poverty is the worst form of violence,” he said, adding that most women carry the burden of the decreasing family income.
Aside from these, Casino also called for the end of demolition of urban poor communities, high prices of basic commodities and militarization in rural communities, as these issues affect women and children first.