MANILA - As the Philippines wrapped up its commemoration of the global 18-day campaign to end violence against women (VAW), local rights groups stressed the need for multiple sectors to do their part in stopping these acts, which they believe are still prevalent.
Lead agency Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) said much has yet to be done to bring down the number of VAW cases in the country, both reported and unreported.
PCW chairperson Rhodora Bucoy noted the decrease in reported VAW cases to police in 3 years.
"'Yung reported cases bumababa, which is also good, meaning mayroon na tayong impact sa ating advocacy and education campaign," Bucoy said.
(The reported cases are declining, which is also good, meaning we make an impact in our advocacy and education campaign.)
"But we are worried that because of the high percentage of underreporting, baka marami pa ring laganap na karahasan laban sa kababaihan. So patuloy pa rin ang advocacy, education campaign, and the putting up of VAW desks."
(But we are worried that because of the high percentage of underreporting, there might still be many cases of violence against women. So we continue our advocacy, education campaign and putting up VAW desks.)
According to police data provided by PCW, the number of VAW cases around the country dropped to 18,685 in 2018 from 25,805 cases in 2017 and 32,073 cases in 2016.
On average, that is 51 per day in 2018 from 87 per day in 2016 and 70 per day in 2017.
Physical injuries were the most reported type of VAW cases to police in 2018, followed by acts of lasciviousness and rape.
The PCW cited data from the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey showing that 1 in 3 or 34 percent of Filipino women have sought help after experiencing physical or sexual violence.
For them, this means more women still shy away from going to police or pursuing cases against perpetrators.
"[It's] very difficult for victims to open up, given the stigma, given the stereotypes, given the shaming of victims when they are raped. It's always the looks or the way you dress that is being emphasized instead of the victimization," Bucoy said.
Part of their campaign is getting men to change their concept of masculinity and join in efforts like the movement called MOVE for Men Opposed to VAW Everywhere.
Some 1,000 representatives of government agencies, law enforcement, and other sectors took part in a solidarity walk at the military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday to mark the end of the annual campaign.