By WENDY ATUBAN
BAGUIO CITY — Cases of violence against women here have increased, yet it can be construed as both positive and negative.
That is what civil society groups as well as the police claimed during a round table discussion on provision of services for Violence Against Women (VAW) victims held last Friday at the University of the Philippines Baguio multipurpose hall here.
Investigator Liza Batanes of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Women and Children Protection Division said the number of reported cases of violence against women increased from more than 100 last year to more than 200 this year. “However,” she explains “the number includes past cases that have not been reported.” Most of the abuses women take, she explained include abuse, oral defamation, rape, acts of lasciviousness;, etc.. “Physical injuries and economic abuse,” she said, “top the number of cases.”
Vernie Yocogan-Diano, head of the Cordillera Women’s Education Action and Research Center (CWEARC), a support institution for indigenous women’s organizations in the Cordillera, said the rise can be considered positive as it shows these victims are becoming aware of their rights and are courageously coming out in the open unlike before where many remain mum of the abuses they suffer due to fear of unwanted consequences. “As it is negative because it indicates a social ill,” she stated.
As such, the groups seek to come up with programs that will provide services for victims through sharing of each groups’ accommodation for such cases. The CWEARC conducts research and documentation on the said issue and vows to continue raising awareness, organizing and mobilizing victims including the women migrants who make up a considerable number, according to a CWEARC study.
Innabuyog, the local chapter of the Gabriela Women’s group committed to pursue advocacy drives to raise awareness. Currently, it is spreading its I Vow to Fight VAW campaign. Mila Singson +_of Innabuyog requested other groups to accommodate cases of VAW also since they “cannot house all the victims that avail of their services.”
Another group, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines claims to handle cases of abused women abroad. It specifically conducts trainings and education especially on the rights of women. It pushes for “education at all levels.” # nordis.net