ONE BILLION RISING FOR REVOLUTION
On February 14, 2015, one billion women from various countries are expected not only to rise to demand justice, but to also stand up to combat corruption and push for system change. More than 200 countries participate in One Billion Rising, and in the Philippines, GABRIELA has been the anchoring organization for the past 3 years mobilizing thousands of Filipino women and children to participate. This year’s theme is “One Billion Rising for Revolution!”
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“It is about time for a radical shift not only in consciousness, but also in the people and the system. We need to step up to a level where we do not only demand justice, but address the very causes of injustice,” Wilson underscored that even with the rising consciousness and active participation of women in combating violence, the number of incidents have not changed but worsened.
“The government’s corruption of public money, misappropriation of military budget, defunding of social services, and extremely corrupted sense of political governance have contributed to the rise of social justice and rampant incidents of violence against women and children.”
Gabriela Deputy Secretary General Obeth Montes said their most recent research revealed that one girl or woman is raped every one hour and 21 minutes, and a woman is beaten by her partner every 31 minutes. She said these figures are worse than the previous years. She noted that the increase in the reported cases may reflect that more women are bravely breaking their silence and consciously fighting for their rights. However, it also suggests that the Philippine government has failed to put an end to violence against women and girls.
“The continuous rise of VAW cases is alarming. But what’s even more alarming is that the government appears to be not doing anything about it. The money that is apportioned for programs that will address issues like VAW is being pocketed by the very few who are in power,” Montes lamented. Gabriela Secretary General Joms Salvador added that the government, including the authorities, should be held accountable for the rise in violence cases. She explained, “Acts of violence against women and children are becoming more brazen because we have a government that condones impunity and promotes violence and injustice.”
She said, “When we talk about VAW, we talk about the government and its efforts to eradicate it. Our government instead promotes policies and programs that are detrimental to women and the people. It breeds corruption of public funds, promotes a brutally corrupt and decadent police institution, defunds social services to allot public monies on anti-people programs, militarizes communities and allows a foreign government to occupy our land.”