One Billion Rising Pressures Aquino Administration to Address Increased Poverty and Escalation of Violence Against Women

Image credit: A. Umil,

Image credit: A. Umil,

Women around the world continue to suffer from great injustice of flawed policies implemented by governments. Many women become victims of abuse as they are deprived of jobs with decent salaries, land they own are grabbed by corporations resulting in dire poverty, and they are forced to leave their countries to seek employment abroad.

On the fourth year of “One Billion Rising,” (OBR) women’s rights activists around the world escalate their call for action, with this year’s theme “OBR: Rise to Revolution.”

The system must change, said playwright and women’s rights activist Eve Ensler, who will join the OBR in the Philippines on Feb. 14. She will also visit communities in Manila and the Haran House of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Davao City where hundreds of Lumad evacuees have sought refuge.

“We see how economic deprivation and inequality is connected to violence against women (VAW). Economic deprivation leads to getting raped, getting sold, getting trafficked. When you don’t give jobs to the women of your own country they are forced to go to other countries where they lose their families, they lose connection with their loved ones, they are exploited and abused by other people,” Eve Ensler said in a press conference on Monday, Feb. 8th.

“Why wouldn’t the government want to protect women workers and women from being exploited by other countries? That is so insane when you start thinking about the government that is supposed to represent the people,” she added.

The OBR is a global campaign to end violence against women and children through dancing action.

“This year’s campaign will escalate the collective actions of activists worldwide, and amplify their call for systematic changes towards ending violence against women and children once and for all,” said OBR global director, Monique Wilson.

Women leaders said this year’s OBR Philippines campaign is a virtual indictment of President Aquino, whose regime was marked by increased poverty, absence of state accountability, which has led to an escalation of violence against women.

“On Aquino’s almost six years in power, more and more women have become vulnerable to various forms of violence and abuse, because of poverty and the still unaddressed culture of impunity. The ‘risings’ thus continue to spread in various Philippine cities to highlight their local issues of VAW,” said Joms Salvador, secretary general of Gabriela Philippines, the lead convenor of the OBR Philippines campaign.

Salvador said in Tacloban for example, after typhoon Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas, extreme poverty coupled with Aquino government’s neglect of the issue of violence for victims led to an increase in prostitution.

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