In observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women last November 25, Senator Loren Legarda said the battle to stop abuse against women and children is far from over.
“Violence against women is one of the most pervasive human rights abuses in the country despite laws to prevent it. It has to be urgently addressed through the combined efforts of government, NGOs, academe and the private sector by raising public awareness to encourage women in the communities to disclose or report incidents of violence,” Legarda stressed.
According to the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), 1 in 5 women have experienced physical violence since age 15; 6 in 100 women reported having experienced sexual violence; 4% of women experienced physical violence during pregnancy; but only 3 of 10 women have sought help to stop the violence.
The veteran legislator, author of various laws on the protection of women, said that violence against women takes many different forms including enslavement of women in conflict areas, killing of human rights activists, discrimination in the workplace, emotional abuse, sexual slavery and trafficking of women. Women in traditionally acknowledged marginalized groups, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and disasters, among others, are more likely to face abuse.
“Many victims of abuse choose not to report it due to lack of awareness about their legal rights. We have diligently toiled to enact pieces of legislation to protect the rights of women and promote their welfare. The greater challenge is to effectively implement these laws and educate women on their rights. Women around the country should be aware that they are sufficiently protected by the law,” the seasoned lawmaker added.
Philippine laws for the protection of women’s rights include: the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act (RA 9262), Anti-Discrimination Against Women Act (RA 6725), Women in Development and Nation Building Act (RA 7192), Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act (RA 8505), Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710), and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (RA 9208) and its expanded version (RA 10364).
“Violence against women and children is preventable through strengthened awareness, government funding, strict implementation of existing laws and enhanced inter-agency coordination, both at the domestic and international level,” the lady senator concluded.