Saturday, November 24, 2007

A White Ribbon in the Dark

Photo from White Ribbon Day Website

It is hard to be passionate about battling violence against women when one belongs to the privileged class. It is even harder to convince men and women from the same group to join in the movement--knowing that they are most likely to fall on deaf ears.

Sad to say that while many remain indifferent, the fact is women are vulnerable to violence no matter what their social orientation is. Sure, we get to watch them in the news or hear them whispered by your chismosa friend. It's not something new but at least for you, in all your Imeldiffic glory, it is a rarity.

I am sorry to say this, but, you're wrong.

Based on the statitics that Gabriela was able to gather from the Philippine National Police, 3 women and 9 children were raped everyday from January to September 2003. On the same period, 12 women and 5 children were battered everyday. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer Feb. 29, 2004)

I have heard of first to second-hand experiences of women who have been victims of date rape, attempted rape and boyfriend battering. One of them includes that of a girl who went to one of those upscale exclusive high schools and who was gang raped by his date and the friends of his date. The guys also went to another school of that sort.

The main reason why violence against women seems rare is because it happens in the dark: they happen in the night at the talahiban; they happen in a desserted school building; and worst of all, they happen behind closed doors at home. Women are ashamed of being victims. They are afraid of their perpetrators. That is why the victims have to stifle their cries, conceal their bruises and cover up for the bad guys. And because of this, the women continue to suffer; the bad guys go on with inflicting violence against women.

In an effort to eliminate VAW, the men in Australia, and in other parts of the world, support the White Ribbon campaign every 25th of November. It is good to know that men are now aware of their role in VAW and also in putting an end to it.

Three years ago, Mulieris organized a talk which we entitled: GIVE WAY TO THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN. After a blow-the-whistle campaign in the morning (which was a call to break the culture of silence among women), we were able to gather 114 male and female students coming from various year levels and courses to listen to the testimonies of three victims of VAW and a presentation of Tinay Palabay, Gabriela's Secretary-General.

It is time that MEN be the white ribbon in the dark. It is the time for them to take an active role in eliminating violence against women.


For the guys, this is how you can help in the campaign: What Can One Man Do?

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