Campaign vs gender-based violence launched as abuses rise amid pandemic

October 28, 2020 - 11:39 AM
New Zealand has one of the worst records for domestic violence among developed nations. (One Europe Info/Released)

The rise of cases of gender-based violence amid the novel coronavirus pandemic in the Philippines prompted the launch of an online awareness campaign against it this October.

Various non-government organizations including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development previously raised the alarm on the surge in maternal deaths and unintended pregnancies, violence against women and girls, and child marriage during the past tough lockdowns.

In the latest report from UNFPA, the previous disruption of mobility and transportation resulted in a 26% increase in maternal deaths and 18,000 teenage pregnancies this year.

Overall, there might be an alarming 2.560 million unintended pregnancies by year-end and 751,000 of which were due to inaccessible or limited health services.

Women’s rights group Gabriela, meanwhile, cited 3,700 cases of abuse against women it received during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

What is FamiLigtas? 

The campaign called FamiLigtasPH which was also promoted through the hashtag of its namesake, comprises the photo of the celebrity or public figure and then a series of infographics that details what constitutes gender-based violence (GBV).

Based on FamiLigtas’ Facebook profile, the movement was made possible with the help of the United States Agency for International Development.

In the infographics, there’s a checklist of signs that indicates if a person’s partner can be considered “abusive.”

It also included the official hotline of the Philippine National Police’s Anti-Violence against Women and Children division at 8532-6690 where victims and other citizens could call for help.

This is led by a non-profit group called Luna Collective, a volunteer-based chat service that provides support for gender-based violence or violence against women.

High-ranking politicians who supported this movement are Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who are also known human rights advocates and members of the opposition.

In her statement on October 24, Robredo encouraged other people to be respectful to one another regardless of sexual orientation.

“Ang pagpigil sa karahasan—pisikal man, emosyonal, verbal, o sekswal—ay tungkulin ng bawat isa sa lipunan. Magsisimula ito sa pagpapairal ng respeto sa ating kapwa, mapa-babae, lalaki, o LGBTQ+, at mas mapaiigting sa pagbibigay ng suporta sa mga naging biktima ng karahasan,” the vice president said.

“Ang ating nagkakaisang pagkilos ay susi upang gawing mas ligtas ang ating mga tahanan at mga komunidad. Sama-sama tayo: Stop gender-based violence!” she added.


Hontiveros, meanwhile, noted that the past lockdowns were far harder to victims of abuse who were trapped with their abusers.

“Mahirap para sa lahat itong lockdown. Pero bangungot ito sa mga kababaihan at mga batang trapped sa bahay kasama ang umaabuso at nananakit sa kanila. Stop gender-based violence now!” she said.


Notable celebrities and journalists, meanwhile, include Angel Locsin, Heart Evangelista, Bianca Gonzales, Ces Drilon and Karen Davila.

These signs of being abusive include cheating, stealing passwords of the partner’s personal social media account and threats to spread intimate videos of themselves.

Last June, a similar movement called HijaAko campaign was launched as an online protest against passing the blame of rape cases on victims’ clothing.

This erupted after veteran broadcaster Ben Tulfo used “hija” to call out singer-songwriter Kakie Pangilinan for the latter’s criticism against rape culture