Violence against Women

Manila Bulletin, December 5, 2004 | Go to article overview

Violence against Women


The issue of violence against women continues to be a sticky issue despite global strides towards equality of the sexes.

Definitely, todays generation is far more fortunate than previous generations. The women, specially, are now more "equal" to men, competing for the same jobs, despite a few kinks in the proverbial climb up the corporate ladder. Not enough women sit in top positions in companies nor do they necessarily get the same salaries as their male counterparts.

But more sensitive than sexual discrimination on the job is the issue of violence against women.

Extreme examples of this type of violence are the forced marriages still being practiced in certain societies and the "honor killings of hapless brides whose families fail to come up with the promised dowry or girls who marry or fall in love out of their caste."

Child brides as young as 10 years old are forced to marry sometimes much older men. These child brides often die from child birth because of their youth.

Also an act of violence is the mutilation of the genitalia of young girls in certain tribes, a practise still being done even after the United Nations had collectively condemned it.

Needless to say, the trafficking of women as sex slaves, continues to be a festering sore in civilized society. Perhaps here, one might include "mail order brides" which in many cases is just a camouflage for the sex trade. But then prostitution, so they say, is the oldest profession and perhaps, shall never be eradicated.

What can and must be eradicated, however, is domestic violence.

Many countries have criminalized domestic violence but many more countries treat women as second class citizens with less human rights than men.

Until recently, domestic violence was considered a private matter, only whispered about behind closed doors. Even the victims kept their dark secret to themselves.

Fortunately, crusaders for womens rights have exposed this disease and helped to bring it out in the open.

In the Philippines, their relentless campaign has resulted in the passage of Republic Act No. 9262, "defining violence against women and their children, providing for protective measures for victims, prescribing penalties therefore and for other purposes."

RA 9262 was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on March 8, 2004.

In RA 9262, physical violence is described as bodily or physical harm and sexual violence which includes demeaning remarks of a sexual nature, indecent acts, making films thereof, atbp.

For that matter, mothers who are put at serious risk by multiple pregnancies are in a way victims of domestic violence. When a woman is forced to have intercourse with her spouse against her will without protection against unwanted pregnancy or even venereal disease, that can be considered as an act of violence.

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