16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM
Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC)
November 25, 2018
35% of women worldwide have been victims of either physical or sexual abuse by either a partner or non- partner during their lifetime. Other studies argue that it has reached up to a whopping 70%. In the Philippines alone, a 2017 survey by the National Statistics Office revealed that one in 20 Filipino women age 15-49 have experienced some form of physical violence. Take note that these only account for victims who have come forward to report the incident.
Clearly, violence against women (VAW) poses a threat down from an individual to a national level. Health- wise, evidence shows emergence of higher rates of depression, personality disorders, and acquired HIV. Development-wise, World Bank reported that VAW thwarts women’s contributions to a country’s economic growth, among many other developmental aspects.
With the onslaught of gender-based violence, child abuse, and numerous other rights violations, safe spaces almost feel non-existent. This is why Zonta International has committed to three critical action points: to promote the human rights of women;to promote Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”; and to end violence against women and girls.
Since 2012, the club has been diligently forwarding its advocacy of intensifying awareness on women’s rights violations through its “Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women” movement. The said initiative takes place in Zonta clubs and districts worldwide, pushing forth a more inclusive, unified, and impactful campaign. Last year, the 16-day campaign was aptly named 16 Days of Activism: starting from Nov. 25 up until Dec. 10, 2018. During this period, all member Zonta clubs and districts mobilized to serve and advocate in their own ways, both locally and on a national scale. In line with this, the Zonta Club of Makati and Environs (ZCME), together with the Z and Golden Z clubs from Taguig City University and Philippine Women’s University, kicked it off by joining forces with other clubs from Area 5 to draw increased appreciation to this cause, adding awareness towards violence against children.
The ancient ‘Walled City’ of Intramuros in Manila served as the spot for the launching of the event that catered to different groups, with entertainment varying from a talent show, to an eccentric flair of theatrics. Other activities included advocacy-related contests in the form of slogan-making, essay-writing, and on-the-spot painting.
Fittingly, the event ended in a spectacle that made a statement — a candle lighting ceremony where they assembled in a formation that read “No to VAWC.”
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On June 16, 2015, the Zonta Club of Makati and Environs (ZCME), in partnership with the Society of Adolescent Medicine of the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SAMPI), held the first of a series of workshops focused on teen sexuality.