The 18-Day Campaign to End Violence against Women is observed in the Philippines every year from November 25 to December 12. The U.N. has defined violence against women (V.A.W.) as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.” It’s considered one of the Philippines’ perennial social problems, which is why then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation 1172, extending it to 18 days in 2006.
History of 18-Day Campaign to End Violence against Women
On November 25, 1991, the first international campaign against gender-based violence took place. It began on that day, the International Day to Eliminate V.A.W., up to December 10, which is the International Human Rights Day, lasting 16 days. It originated that year from the first Women Leadership Institute at Reuters University, New Jersey, U.S.A. The Philippine Government joined the global campaign in 2002 through the Philippine Commission on Women and critical stakeholders, initially to push for laws and the establishment of institutional mechanisms to address violence against women.
In 2006, then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation 1172, which extended the national campaign to 18 days, thereby including December 12. This was a historic date that marked the signing in the year 2000 of the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, to complement the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crimes. In 2008, the campaign was strengthened even more when the United Nations Secretary-General launched the UNiTE to End Violence Against Women Campaign, which envisions a world free from all forms of violence against women and girls. For the U.N., this vision can only be seen through meaningful actions and constant political commitments of national governments, supported by adequate resources.
Typically, each year has a different theme for the campaign, however, in the year 2016, the Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women (I.A.C.V.A.W.C.) adopted the theme “V.A.W.-free community starts with Me” for the campaign. The Council also agreed that said theme shall be used every year from 2016 to 2021. It elevates the campaign to positive advocacy. It encourages people to pursue the common goal of a community free from violence against women and girls and highlights what can be done to achieve such.
18-Day Campaign to End Violence against Women timeline
It begins on the International Day to Eliminate V.A.W., up to December 10, which is International Human Rights Day.
Through the Philippine Commission on Women and critical stakeholders, they join the campaign to push for laws and the establishment of institutional mechanisms to address violence against women.
Then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signs Proclamation 1172, which extends the national campaign to 18 days, thereby including December 12.
The United Nations Secretary-General launches this campaign, which envisions a world free from all forms of violence against women and girls, and further strengthens the 18-Day Campaign to End V.A.W.
18-Day Campaign to End Violence against Women FAQs
What is R.A. 9262 all about?
This act seeks to address the prevalence of violence against women and their children by their intimate partners like their husband or ex-husband, live-in partner or former live-in partner, dating partner or former dating partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, or ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend.
What is the meaning of V.A.W.C.?
The meaning of V.A.W.C. is “Violence Against Women and their Children”.
What is the penalty of R.A. 9262?
The penalty is one year of imprisonment and a fine of five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00).
How to Observe 18-Day Campaign to End Violence against Women
Turn your icon Orange
The idea behind this is to attract the public’s curiosity about why major landmarks or icons across the entire nation are colored orange, allowing for an opportunity to advocate in favor of the campaign. Orange is a bright and optimistic color that represents hope and a future free from violence against women and girls. Set the color orange as your profile picture on social media, use the hashtag #VAWfreePH, or put orange decorations on a real-life landmark or your workplace.
Participate in Gender Sensitivity Training
If you’re an employer, a good way to take part in the campaign is to do a Gender Sensitivity Training course with your employees. It will be especially helpful if you have women working there or have been looking to hire some.
Take a survey on the Acceptance of Women in the Commissioned Service
Another great thing to do as an employer is to take a survey like this among your employees. It will allow you and the campaign organizers to analyze the effects of the admission of women in the workplace.
5 Important Facts About V.A.W. In The Philippines
It’s a massive, prevalent social issue
According to a 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority, one in four Filipino women aged 15 to 49 has experienced physical, emotional, or sexual violence by their husband or partner.
Massive amounts of money have been spent
In 2002, the government spent an estimated amount of six billion pesos to treat V.A.W. survivors, which covered the medical treatment of psychological therapies and programs, injuries, maintenance of shelters, cost of legal and court proceedings to prosecute perpetrators, training costs of service providers, and other indirect social costs to family members of survivors and perpetrators.
2013 is the year with most cases
This year, a total of 16,517 cases were filed under the complaint or violation of R.A. 9262.
Western Visayas had the most cases
In 2013, the highest number of reported V.A.W. cases nationwide was in this region, with 4,833, accounting for 20.3 percent of the total reported cases in the country.
The most reported type of violence
Physical injury is the second most reported type of V.A.W. cases, with an accumulated 19.7%, while the most reported type is the general, non-specific category of V.A.W., accounting for 57% of the total.
Why 18-Day Campaign to End Violence against Women is Important
It’s important to end V.A.W.
V.A.W. negatively affects women's general well-being and prevents women from fully participating in society. After all we’ve accomplished to try to make women equal, we can’t stop yet.
It’s a day to reflect on women’s current struggles
It’s not just about the violence. Think about the challenges women currently face in the Philippines. How does it compare to other countries? How else can we improve?
It’s a day to think about your current environment
Take some time to think about how your actions and words may impact others. Certain attitudes or things you might say could be meant as a compliment, but make them feel unsafe.
18-Day Campaign to End Violence against Women dates