Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has rallied the Filipino public to stand up for the right of every woman and child to equality and protection amid efforts by some sinister quarters to incite violence against them.
De Lima, a known human rights defender here and abroad, said the public should not allow prejudices and negative gender stereotypes to chip away at the rightful places of women and children in the society.
“We must challenge narrow-minded and misogynistic beliefs that fortify glass ceilings that leave women and children short in access to rights and entitlements such as healthcare, education, housing and adequate standard of living,” she said.
De Lima made the remarks as the whole country observed the “National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children,” where she vowed to respect and protect the human rights of women and children.
The Chairperson of the Senate Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development Committee said that violence against women and children should not be misunderstood as limited only to domestic violence.
“In reality, it is an egregious and horrible human rights violation that happens almost anywhere – in schools, work places, recreation areas, and digital platforms,” said she.
“There remains innumerable cases of child pornography, online prostitution, bullying, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. In specific contexts such as poverty, conflict, and humanitarian crisis, women and children even suffer more tragically,” she added.
While individuals from the poor sector of the society are more vulnerable to violence and abuses, the lady Senator from Bicol maintained that victims include even the highly educated women, or those born to closely secured lives.
“That one in three women can experience physical or sexual violence is proof about the monstrosity and enormity of this crime,” she pointed out.
Last November, De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 945 seeking a Senate inquiry into the increasing cases of child cybersex abuses in the country despite the existence of at least five laws to protect children from abuses, exploitation and violence. She has authored and co-authored several bills and resolutions advocating women’s rights, including Senate Bill No. 1438 focusing on the protection of women in state custody and Senate Resolution No. 670 calling for a Senate inquiry into the implementation of the GAD plans and programs under the present administration, among others.