Poe: COVID-19 pandemic could trigger more gender-based violence
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe has warned that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could further trigger gender-based violence as many women are being forced to stay home.
During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence at the Zonta Club of Greater Rizal II and at the 18th Day Campaign Against Gender-based Violence sponsored by the Embassy of Austria, Poe said that aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, gender-based violence demands “immediate and full attention” as it is also a worldwide phenomenon.
“The world is battling the COVID-19 virus, which has become one of the deadliest health pandemics. But there is another global pandemic, which also demands our immediate and full attention. Gender-based violence is a worldwide phenomenon that is estimated to affect one in three women in their lifetime,” Poe said.
“One of the gravest violations of human rights is violence against women and girls. It has a negative and long-term impact on the wellbeing of survivors, as well as their family and the larger community,” the senator added.
Poe cited a 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey, where it showed that 15 to 49-year-old Filipinas have experienced physical, emotional, or sexual violence by either their husband or partner.
The senator also cited another study, this time released by the University of the Philippines Population Institute, where it projected a 20 percent increase of incidences of domestic violence during the lockdown caused by the pandemic.
Poe, who chaired the Senate committee on public information and mass media, also warned that gender-based violence does not only happen inside homes, and it can be perpetuated by those in power.
“Government regulation that borders on intimidation, and pronouncements which harass women journalists, is a form of violence,” she said.
“Such form of violence is also a means of suppressing the truth. When dissent is silenced and the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press is curtailed, the right of the people to information is undermined,” the senator added.
To combat gender-based violence, Poe has co-authored Republic Act 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act, which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte back in April 2019.
“It is our responsibility to our daughters, mothers, and sisters to create an environment that can protect them from any form of violence and abuse. Tinatawag nating ‘ilaw ng tahanan’ ang ating mga ina, kaya’t tungkulin nating hindi magdilim ang kanilang liwanag (Our mothers are called the ‘light of the home’, that’s why it is our duty to not to lose this light),” Poe said.
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