Davao City taps hospitals to curb gender-based violence, logs 100 rape cases in first 8 months
DAVAO CITY — As rape cases in this city reached 100 in the first eight months of the year, the city government tapped hospitals to reach out to victims and intensify its fight against gender-based violence.
Lorna Mandin, head of the Integrated Gender and Development Division of the city government, said her office had been coordinating with hospitals to ensure that cases of gender-based violence were reported to authorities and that the culprits were brought to justice.
She said that cases of rape had slightly gone down this year compared to the 104 cases in the same period last year, but the number remained worrisome. “They have trained workers who handle sexual abuse cases, so we coordinate, and they refer these cases for intervention,” Mandin said.
Before this, only the Southern Philippines Medical Center, the biggest hospital in Mindanao, forged an agreement with the city government, which resulted in establishing a women and children’s desk coordinating directly with the gender and development office and the city police.
On the part of law enforcers, Major Maria Theresita Gaspan, head of the Women and Children Protection Desk and spokesperson of the police in the city, said all police stations had been ordered to hold regular lectures on “men oppose violence against women” as part of the initiatives to curb gender-based violence and to challenge “patriarchal order of traditional gender roles.”
Gaspan added that the city security cluster had also been giving “safe and unsafe touch” lectures and similar activities among pre-school to high school students, especially with the resumption of the in-person classes.
Of the 100 cases reported this year, 68 or majority of the victims were 17 years old and below.
Mandin also pointed out that children must be taught the importance of gender sensitivity. This prompted the city government to forge a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Education for the integration of educational materials on the issue into the curriculum.
Under the agreement, which is the first of its kind in the country, children are taught how to discern gender-based crimes and how to deal with them.
Mandin said the city government would monitor the agreement’s implementation to see whether it serves its purpose or if some modification would be needed.
The city government has also hired two more lawyers to handle rape and sexual abuse cases.
The city government, she added, has also helped the cybercrime unit of the city police in stopping sexual exploitation. Among the measures taken is to track down” buyers and sellers of sexual exploitation materials through wire transfers and overseas remittances,” she said.