In observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (Nov. 25), Senator Loren Legarda said that much is still needed to end all forms of abuse against Filipino women.
“Sixteen years after the country adopted its first special law to protect women against sexual harassment and six other special laws thereafter, we continue to be hounded by an increasing incidence of violence against women (VAW),” she said.
Legarda noted that the number of VAW cases reported to the Philippine National Police rose by 52% from the figure of 2009, based on official figures compiled by the Commission on Women. From 3,687 cases in 1997, the reported incidence of VAW has gone up to 15,104 in 2010.
Furthermore, UN studies indicate that as many as one out of three women worldwide will be “beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime;” while the World Bank states that women between the age of 15 and 44 are more likely to become victims of rape and domestic violence than become afflicted with cancer, involved in car accidents, affected in war or be infected by malaria.
“These abuses happen because the situations of many of the women victims render them vulnerable to abuses and violence. State protection is weak, and in some cases, the authorities themselves, end up perpetrating the crimes against our women,” Legarda pointed out.
The Senator emphasized that the nation already has a myriad of laws—such as the Anti-Mail Order Bride Act (RA 6955), Anti-Sexual Harassment Act (RA 7877), and the Anti-Discrimination Against Women Act (RA 6725), among many others—that aim to protect women against violence and abuse.
“We need to take stock of how much we have accomplished and whether our laws have been effective. As statistics suggest, we need to do more. It is time to stop the climate of impunity for those who exploit our women,” she stressed.
“This can only be achieved with intensified enforcement, effective prosecution, and a proper closure to thousands of cases that should not only bring the perpetrators behind bars, but also result to the re-integration of victims back into the mainstream of society to lead normal and secure lives,” Legarda concluded.***
Office of Senator Loren Legarda
RM.209, Senate of the Philippines,
GSIS Bldg. Pasay City