By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
Amid the stereotypes and misconceptions, advocates are pushing more active participation of men in the campaign to curb violence against women (VAW) in the region.
Dr. Mary Barbie Badayos-Jover, director of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) gender and development program and consultant of Ugsad Regional Gender Resource Center, reiterated that any gender advocacy will not be successful without the involvement of men.
“The men have always been involved in gender advocacy through the years. In any gender advocacy, indi ina siya mangin kompleto kun ang mga kalalakinhan indi open or bukas sa pagduso sa sina nga kampanya,” she said.
Ugsad, which serves as a Regional Gender Resource Center in Western Visayas, recognized the active role of men in eliminating cases of violence against women (VAW) in the region through a public forum organized last Friday at the UPV Campus in Iloilo City.
The forum, which was part of the observance of the 18-day campaign to end VAW, gathered government institutions, advocacy groups and civil society organizations to discuss and campaign for the involvement of men the VAW campaign.
“For many years, ang aton focus gid is to inform people about this issue and hopefully empower the women victims but this year Ugsad realized nga siguro mas nami gid nga maistoryahan naman naton kung paano naton mapasulod, ano ang involvement sang kalalakinhan sa campaign sang VAW,” Jover said.
The forum also recognized one successful organized men organization in the region, the (Men Opposed to Violence Everywhere) MOVE, which also advocates to eliminate VAW.
Franklin Quimpo, founding member of MOVE-AKLAN and head of the Aklan Provincial Population and Gender Office who served as the resource speaker of the forum, said their advocacy group has recognized the fact that the VAW campaign needs participation and support of men.
“MOVE Aklan has been going on for 11 years already and we conduct orientation in schools as well as organize other chapters in Aklan. We recognize that addressing VAW needs the participation and support of men because they are on the other side of the equation,” he said.
While all fingers are pointing to men as the main perpetrators of VAW cases, Quimpo reiterated that most men do not tolerate VAW although a significant minority do hold violence-supportive attitudes.
Quimpo added that there is a growing number of men joining efforts to end VAW.
“The involvement of men in eradicating violence springs from the fact that there are many men who condone violence nor believe in violence and they want to play an active role in eliminating them,” he stressed.
Quimpo emphasized that violence also affects men not only in their personal level but on their emotion, relationships and community level.
Hence, their advocacy group has been proposing actions of men’s involvement to end VAW in the region.
“MOVE is dedicated to end VAW and expand its advocacy. Members of MOVE pledged never to commit, never to condone and never to remain silent of VAW,” he said.
Through the forum, Jover said more Ilonggo males will be convinced to participate in the campaign to end VAW.
“We are hoping that through this forum nga nagafocus on involvement on men may mga realizations ang mga kalalakinhan nga this campaign should be done in partnership, indi lang ni kampanya sang women’s rights but men should be invested as well,” she stressed.
Data from the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) indicated 1,043 VAW cases in the region.
Iloilo City recorded the highest number of VAW cases at 387 followed by Iloilo province at 358; Negros Occidental at 190, Aklan at 152; Capiz at 136; Guimaras at 89; Antique at 59; and Bacolod City at 32 cases.
Despite the “alarming” increase of VAW cases, Jover said the number could also mean that people are becoming more aware about the issue of VAW.
“With years of advocacies on this, people are coming forward, a lot of victims of harassments are coming forward and reporting. Ang pag-rise sang reported cases pwede ma-take negatively which is true kalain but at the same time posible nagtaas ang cases because damo na subong aware,” sheadded .
“Maybe because of our intensified campaigns and advocacies, people now recognize that acts of violence and that they are not right and therefore it should be reported to the proper authorities.”