The 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) is observed annually from November 25 to December 12. The objective of this annual event is to raise awareness among all stakeholders that VAW is a public issue of national concern. It supports the Philippine Government’s goal to protect the human rights of women and its commitment to address all forms of VAW, consistent with the Magna Carta of Women. The following issuances provide the national legal mandates for the annual campaign:
Proclamation 1172 s. 2006 – Declaring 25 November to 12 December as the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW)
Republic Act 10398 (2013) – Declaring November 25 of Every Year as National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children
In Support of the Worldwide Campaign to End VAW
Every year, women’s groups from different regions of the world observe the period from November 25 to December 10 as the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. It originated from the First Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. The campaign links November 25 (International Day Against VAW) and December 10 (International Human Rights Day) to emphasize that VAW is a human rights violation.
The global campaign is further strengthened with the launching in 2008 of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End VAW Campaign which envisions a world free from all forms of violence against women and girls. For the UN, this vision can only be realized through meaningful actions and ongoing political commitments of national governments, backed by adequate resources.
The Philippine Campaign to End VAW
The Philippines has participated in this worldwide campaign to eliminate VAW since 2002. Presidential Proclamation 1172 s. 2006 extended the national campaign to 18 days, to include December 12, a historic date that marked the start of opening for signature in year 2000 of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. This Philippine initiative recognizes that trafficking is a form of VAW.
The first two years of the Philippine campaign focused on awareness raising on VAW, leading to the passage of two landmark legislations: RA 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003) and RA 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004). The succeeding years focused on the popularization of the newly passed laws, including other anti-VAW laws on rape and sexual harassment, strengthening implementation at the national and local level, and building a network of male advocates against VAW (Men Opposed to VAW Everywhere or MOVE).
In 2008-2009, the campaign highlighted the important role of local government units and the judiciary in anti-VAW efforts, through the 2nd Gender Justice Awards and the Search for VAW-Responsive LGUs. In 2010-2012, the campaign underscored the Magna Carta of Women’s provision on protection from violence, the Philippine Government’s support to the UNiTE to End VAW Campaign, and protection of women from violence in situations of conflict and calamity. The 2013-2014 campaign called for giving emphasis on the importance of having functional mechanisms that are operated by competent and capable duty-bearers with sense of responsibility and accountability in addressing VAW, under the theme “End VAW Now! It’s Our Duty!”.
Anticipating the change in national and local leadership the following year, the 2015 Campaign carried the theme “End VAW Now! It’s Our Duty! Gains and Ways Forward” to highlight the milestones and accomplishments in the last five years (gains), continue looking forward to our vision of a VAW-free community, and identify concrete / actionable steps towards reaching that vision (ways forward). The PCW commissioned Asia’s Got Talent Grand Winner El Gamma Penumbra to produce a 5-minute shadow play advocacy video showing the ill effects of VAW in society and later shifting to the visioning of a VAW-free society.
The 2016 18-Day Campaign To End VAW
This year’s campaign builds on the 2015 message: Vision of a VAW-free community.
With the theme “VAW-free Community Starts with Me”, this year’s campaign gives emphasis on our continuous pursuit of achieving a VAW-free community through everyone’s commitment and contributions to ending VAW.
It also shifts the campaign to positive advocacy messaging to encourage more people to participate and commit to pursuing the common vision of a VAW-free community.
Finding one’s self in “Me”
“Me” can be viewed from various perspectives. The following core messages personify how a VAW-free community can start with “me.”
- From the perspective of a woman/girl – I know my rights and I will not allow anyone to violate it. I won't allow myself to become a victim of violence and I know what to do, where to go and who to go to in case it happens.
- From the perspective of a man/boy – I respect women and girls and I won't be an instrument in committing violence against women and children. I will be a positive influence to other men and boys in building a community that is respectful of everyone’s right to be free from abuse and violence.
- From the perspective of a government agency or local government unit – We are staunch advocates of Anti-VAWC. We will continue to provide and improve our services for our clients so that they can live a life that is free from VAW.
- From the perspective of a barangay – Being the smallest unit of government closest to the communities, we are doing our share in attaining our vision of VAWC-free community. Our Barangay VAW Desk is functional and residents of our Barangay are aware of anti-VAW laws.
- From the perspective of a private sector and non-government/civil society organization – We support the efforts of the government and our immediate community in addressing violence against women and girls. We will continue to foster collaboration in ensuring that there will be zero tolerance to VAW, and initiate efforts within our means to help address the issue when it happens.
- From the perspective of the academe/training institutions – We foster an environment that not only nurtures the mind and intellect of our students, faculty and staffers, but also ensures their safety from abuses, especially against women and children. We have mechanisms in the campus like a Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) where students, faculty and employees can seek help.
What “Me” can do
Women and Girls
1. Empower yourself. Know your rights and available courses of actions in case these rights are violated.
2. Speak out and report to the authorities in case your rights are violated.
3. Encourage others to fight for their rights.
Men and Boys
4. Respect women and girls in your home, workplace, and community.
5. Join male groups promoting anti-VAW efforts and participate in discussions to broaden your awareness on the advocacy and challenge the old-fashioned macho culture.
6. Enlighten/advise other men and boys not to condone or commit violence against women and girls.
Government agencies providing frontline services for victim-survivors of VAW
7. Equip frontline service providers with apt training and capacity development sessions as well as needed resources to ensure gender-responsive service delivery to your clients.
8. Develop monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess the quality and appropriateness of the assistance provided to the clients, and address needs for improvement if there are any.
9. Let people know that you provide the services! We need to inform the public that there are government offices that they can turn to and trust to assist them towards healing and seeking justice. Include information about such services in your citizen’s charter, information materials, and appropriate public advocacy activities.
Barangay officials and employees
10. Ensure that your Barangay VAW Desk is functional. You can use the Barangay VAW Desk Handbook developed by PCW and DILG with partner agencies to guide you on what to do.
11. Establish linkages with local and national government agencies, as well as other organizations near your barangay where you can refer victim-survivors of VAW for needed assistance which the barangay is not able to provide.
12. Promote harmonious family and community relationships in your barangay which is grounded on mutual respect for human rights, and take proactive steps to attain a VAW-free community.
Private sector and non-government/civil society organizations
13. Support the Anti-VAW efforts of the government and your immediate community.
14. Establish your own Action Desks where employees and clients can go to in case VAW happens.
15. Develop internal rules to proactively ensure that your workplace is VAW-free.
16. Include concepts of VAW and women’s human rights in lesson plans/lesson guides of your teaching staff
17. Continually conduct/spearhead anti-VAW advocacies in your campus, and where possible to your immediate community through extension programs.
18. Setup a Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) where students and employees seek help.
How can individuals and organizations get involved in the campaign to end VAW?
Organize your own event and invite others to join your event. Government agencies, non-government organizations, sectoral groups, private and civil society organizations are enjoined to conduct their own activities in line with this year’s campaign theme and focus. You can also invite other groups and individuals to join your event. Hanging of streamer bearing this year’s campaign theme is also encouraged.
Live a Life Free from VAW. A life free from VAW – it’s our right! Freedom from VAW starts with knowing and respecting each person’s rights. You can help end VAW by doing the following:
- Never commit VAW
- Never condone VAW
- Never remain silent about VAW
If you are, or you know someone who is a victim of VAW:
- Seek help from sympathetic family members and friends
- Report and seek the help of the barangay, social worker, police, NBI, or public attorney’s office nearest you.
Spread the word. Freedom from VAW is everyone’s concern. Be a firm advocate and partner in ending VAW. Know more about VAW and share the information with everyone. Support efforts within your school, workplace of community to eliminate VAW and achieve our vision of a VAW-free community.