December 11, 2020. In support of the 18-day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW), the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards conducted a webinar on Violence Against Women entitled “VAWal yan Dito!” with Dr. Natsy A. Verceles, as the resource speaker. Dr. Verceles is the director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of the Philippines. The webinar focused on disseminating information regarding gender-based violence against women as well as explaining the new administrative mechanism against sexual harassment in workplaces, which is reflected in the newly-signed R.A. 1131.
The webinar was hosted by Ms. Chin Flores with the opening prayer delivered by BAFS’ GAD (Gender and Development) focal person, Ms. Moraine M. Sumague and the opening remarks given by Admin Division Chief, Daisy E. Melegrito. The webinar was attended by BAFS employees with 33 registered attendees and 200 views on the BAFS private Facebook group.
Dr. Verceles started her presentation by defining violence against women and emphasized that this type of violence is a phenomenon that should be stopped. Dr. Verceles talked about gender ideologies and gender hierarchy which give more rights and privileges to men than women. The presentation indicated that most violence against women crimes are usually happening within the homes of married couples where the husband tends to commit the crime to his wife. Under the Magna Carta of Women (R.A. 9710), “Violence Against Women” refers to any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. “Women are more vulnerable to violence.”, Dr. Verceles said. She further states that VAW impacts human development and limits the growth and potential of women and their families.
Dr. Verceles continues on with her presentation with questions already lining up from the attendees. Questions like how to help a friend who is being abused and how to spot an abuser early on, were asked. As soon as she was done with her discussion, she answered all questions clearly which is easily understood by the viewers.
When the Q&A ended, Assistant Director, Ms. Mary Grace Mandigma gave her heartfelt thanks to the resource speaker and delivered the closing remarks. Maybe we’ll be seeing Dr. Verceles again for another talk on gender-related issues.
Violence against women has been a longstanding issue not only in the Philippines but in the whole world as well. In the workplace, one would deem it safe for women, male coworkers respecting women and transwomen but, no. There are some offices where women’s rights are not observed by some employees. We are still in a machismo world where men should be the ones making decisions and have the right to do or say anything to women.