Cases of Violence Against Women are on the rise, according to the women’s group GABRIELA. While domestic violence still tops the list and rape cases are on the rise, the more alarming trend, said GABRIELA, is the use of technology to abuse women, often involving male college students who have access to technology.
BY JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
The Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act or Republic 9262 of 2004 was passed “to protect the family and its members particularly women and children from violence and threats to their personal safety and security”. The intention of the law is to guarantee full respect for human rights of women and children. Five years since it was passed, the women’s group GABRIELA has been receiving an increasing number of reports of violence and threats against women and children.
Alarmingly, the forms of violence, according to GABRIELA, have evolved and kept up with the times. Cases of abuse and violence using modern technology, which was unimaginable five years ago, are now increasing in frequency. .
What the data shows
Last year, GABRIELA, a national alliance of women in the Philippines, documented 436 cases of violence against women (VAW). Almost three-fourths of these were cases of domestic violence or wife abuse.
The records of GABRIELA reveal that for seven straight years, domestic violence topped the list of VAW cases. It constituted 1,613 out of the 2,428 cases that were reported to GABRIELA.
“Sa karanasan ng GABRIELA… all-time-high ito e… Parang laging nangunguna ang wife abuse o domestic violence,” (GABRIELA observed that cases of wife abuse or domestic violence are always an all-time high, always topping the list.) said Jovita “Obet” Montes, director of Health and Services Department of Gabriela.
GABRIELA also observed that for the past seven years, cases of rape seem to be increasing. Last year, almost 10 percent of VAW cases reported to GABRIELA were cases of rape.
Abusing women with the use of technology
“Napansin ng GABRIELA last year ang paggamit ng video (habang inaabuso ang kababaihan),” (Last year, GABRIELA noticed that increasingly rapists record their acts of abusing women on video.) Montes said.
Montes also told Bulatlat that another emerging form of VAW is the video recording by the man of his sexual exploits. Montes said it does not matter whether the woman-victim knows or not that the sexual act is being video taped; it is still a violation of the woman’s right and a form of violence being committed against her.
“Kasi kung alam mo nga, kung wala ka namang control over it. Kung baga kung under duress ka di ba?” (Even if you know that the sexual act is being recorded but you do not have control over it because you are under duress, then it would still constitute a violation of your right.)
Montes also shared that there were instances when the video recording of the sexual act is being used against women who are trying to break up with their boyfriend or partner. Montes added that it is also being used to extort money from the woman and her family.
“Yung ganoong effect (ng sex video) ay mahirap ma-overcome dahil ang ginawa sa iyong violence ay nauulit-ulit yun,” (It is hard to overcome the effects of this type of violence committed against the woman because the abuse is virtually being repeated several times over.)
Montes said that they were alarmed that most of the perpetrators were male college students since they are the ones who have access to this kind of technology. “Kaya talagang alarming sa amin kasi ganoon talaga pino-portray ang kababaihan na talagang isang sex object na parang gamit lang siya na pwede mong ganitohin,” (It is alarming because it shows that women are still being viewed as sex objects to be used and played around with.)