AUSTRALIA SUPPORTS CAMPAIGN TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
In support of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, and in the lead up to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) on 3 December, the Australian Government hosted the screening of “Breaking Through the Wall of Silence”, a documentary about violence experienced by women with disabilities.
Produced by the Filipino Deaf Women’s Health and Crisis Center, Inc. and the University of the Philippines – College of Social Work and Community Development, the documentary highlights the oppression and marginalisation of women with disabilities, particularly deaf women. The Australian Government hosted the screening to support the Philippine Commission on Women’s 18-day campaign on Ending Violence against Women, and Australia’s White Ribbon Campaign.
Gender-based violence against women is a crime and a human rights violation that occurs, often repeatedly, in the lives of a great number of women around the world. This screening aims to heighten awareness about the interplay between gender-based violence and disability-related violence in the Philippines.
“The Australian Government supported the screening because we wanted to help provide a forum for advocates to share knowledge and experiences on the particular issues and challenges that face women, especially those with disabilities,” Australian Ambassador Rod Smith said.
Australia’s aid program places a strong value on both gender and disability- related development. It also seeks to take account of the interaction of the two, which can increase the inequality and discrimination experienced by men and women, girls and boys who have disabilities.
“As is often the case when it comes to data on disabilities we don’t know how the statistics translate when applied to women with disabilities. Unfortunately, our instinct would tell us that the rates of violence are likely to be worse for disabled women,” Ambassador Smith said.
“It is very important that we involve men in this campaign. While violence against women is a deeply personal issue for women, it is also very much a men's issue because it is our wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends whose lives are being harmed by violence and abuse.”
Among those who attended the screening were: Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales, Philippine National Police Deputy Chief for Operations Arturo Cacdac Jr, Department of Social Welfare and Development Director of Policy and Planning Bureau Lynette Bautista, Philippine Commission on Women Executive Director Emmeline Versoza, Quezon City councilor and PWD advocate Alfred Vargas, and PWD leader Grace Padaca. The event was hosted by well-known celebrities RJ Ledesma and Iya Villania.
Copies of the documentary are available from the Filipino Deaf Women’s Health and Crisis Center, Inc., 835 Edsa Cor. Timog. Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City, telephone number (+632) 928-4182, and email [email protected] or [email protected]