Filipino women have joined the call. Yes, we have. On 14 February 2013, the Philippines will hold its own version of the One Billion Rising campaign, a call to rise up and speak out against violence against women, abuse and exploitation.
I first read about this worldwide campaign of one billion women rising up against poverty and violence from a piece by my fellow New Internationalist blogger Mari Marcel Thekaekara and I am proud that women in my own country have joined the call.
The women’s group Gabriela Women’s Party said Filipino women are rising to show their strong and united front against violence, abuse and exploitation against women and their families.
‘We are rising to demand accessible and affordable social services, jobs with living wages, and safe homes,’ said Nere Guerrero, acting chairperson of Gabriela Women’s Party-Quezon City.
The culminating activity will be on 14 February, Valentine’s Day, in a big street-dancing event that will see women from the Philippines join the rest of the world in striking, rising and dancing to uplift the status of women here and elsewhere.
‘One Billion Rising – Philippines (OBR-PH) will be distinguished by the synchronous dancing of women in factories, schools, farms, the streets, in communities, in market places and many other places, to a unique Filipino rhythm and choreography. It will mobilize hundreds of thousands of women, men and children who are one with the struggle to uphold, respect and assert women’s rights,’ Gabriela Women’s Party said on its website.
Data from Gabriela also showed that in the Philippines, at least half a million women are victims of prostitution, which included around 100,000 children.
Two cases of rape against women and children are being reported every three hours, the group also said.
‘But sexual and physical violence are not the only forms of violence against women and children. Economic deprivation and political persecution are also among the common forms affecting more than 60 per cent of Filipino women, who mostly belong to the marginalized sectors,’ Gabriela Party Representative Emmi De Jesus said.
‘With the increasing number of Filipinos having access to the internet, electronic violence against women is also increasing, affecting most especially young girls and women,’ she continued.
So I am pleased that Filipinos are adding their voices to the One Billion Rising campaign.
As Mari said in her blog, ‘we need to bring in forms of protest that revitalize and energize us, as we continue to fight our good fights.
‘It will surely be a wonderful sight to watch One Billion Rising. Even more wonderful to be a part of it all.’
Ultimately, our aim must be that no woman or girl will ever be a victim of sexual violence, physical abuse or sexual trafficking again.