Child advocate group hopes fathers raise sons to be gender-sensitive
MANILA, Philippines – Save the Children Philippines, a child advocate group, hopes that Filipino fathers will raise their sons to be gender-sensitive and caring for various kinds of people.
In its Father’s Day message on Sunday, the group said that fathers — whether a child’s biological one or not — play an important role in instilling respect for people, regardless of gender.
“The role of fathers at home and in the community is critical in rethinking how we raise boys to be gender- sensitive, nonviolent and caring men,” Alberto Muyot, chief executive officer of the group, said in a statement.
“It is also important for men to be in touch with the lives of girls and women and equally prioritize their needs,” he added.
According to Fanny Divino, the group’s gender expert, fathers and father figures can pass on their opinions and behavior of boys as they grow older — and good behavior towards women could prevent a culture oppressive of women.
“The critical support of fathers who have power to influence behavior and to make decisions like those in the government, legislature and educational institutions is key to address the deep-seated and perennial rape culture, other forms of sexual and physical abuse, discrimination, and inequalities that prevent people, especially women and girls, from claiming their full and equal rights,” Divino said.
While many consider the Philippines as a dominantly matriarchal country, domestic abuse against women is still high. During the COVID-19 pandemic, police have recorded over 3,600 reports of violence against women and children.
The response of Women and Children Protection Desks has been an issue too, with reports saying that some complaints have been allegedly ignored and left pending.
The spike in domestic violence cases can be attributed to the increased time of women and children at home with fathers due to quarantine regulations enforced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Recently, the movement to end the so-called rape culture — in which abuse of women are justified and they are even blamed for provocative behavior and clothing — has gained ground again after the police officers in Lucban, Quezon, drew drawn flak for advising women and girls to dress “appropriately” to avoid rape.
The issue sparked debates that dragged even celebrities, like Frankie Pangilinan, daughter of Sen. Francis Pangilinan and megastar Sharon Cuneta.
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