UP Mindanao students dance with actress and activist Monique Wilson to support One Billion Rising Revolution, a global call to end violence against women | contributed photo by Marga Mangao.
MINTAL, Davao City — University of the Philippines Mindanao (UP Min) students joined the One Billion Rising Revolution against violence against women last November 14 at the University atrium.
Gabriela Youth (UP Mindanao) Chairperson Sarah Kaye Recentes said that, “One Billion Rising is a revolutionary movement that aims to end violence against women. It is a worldwide movement as women all over the world are victims of oppression, abuse, corrupt system, and other forms of violence and abuse.”
In a forum regarding violence against women, Global Director of One Billion Rising Monique Wilson showed her dismay on how “girls are being forced to sell their bodies to pay their tuition fees.”
The activity was part of the launching of the 3rd year of the One Billion Rising Movement Campaign.
“We just don’t talk about things like that [prostitution] because there’s a shame and of course there is stigma around it. The sad reality is we understand that the way out and our way forward is education, but we have already come to that point, as country, that because of poverty, young girls, college girls, and nine year old girls are being sold,” she said.
Moreover, Wilson held that, “the beauty of One Billion Rising is that it’s not prescribed, it’s very decentralized. A community, a city, a school, [and/or] a group can interpret and express however way they want to rise and whatever issue they want to bring in to it.”
She said that revolution simply means a radical shift in consciousness, and she challenged everyone in the forum to radically shift their mindset or mind frames on how they look at issues.
Meanwhile, Recentes said that the Gabriela Youth of UP Mindanao is “rising against militarization, corporate greed, economic injustice and labor exploitation, and plundering done by a corrupt government that greatly affect women and girls.”
Recentes explained that the significance of the said movement is to challenge cultural norms and the patriarchal system that deny the rights of women and girls.
According to Allin Joy Camile, a member of Gabriela Youth (UP Min) “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual (LGBT) community plays a vital role in fight for gender equality and in call for men and boys on how patriarchal system dehumanizes them.”
“Their [LGBT and women] struggle is connected since they are both oppressed in a patriarchal system,” he emphasized.
Camile calls the LGBT community to join the Gabriela Youth in their fight on issues such as “the effects of globalization and imperialism to education, the effects of the growing trend of student prostitution (prosti-tuition), sexual harassment in the academe, and to educate and mobilize others to conduct educational discussions on women and women’s situation in the society.”
Wilson added that “they are tired of all the government and the media making any issue of violence against women a side issue.”
“Why do we need to wait for 15 years for a bill that can protect our rights to be passed? Why do we need to wait for 18 years for the RH Bill? Why does it take so long to consider or determine what is best for our women and girls when, in fact, on a daily basis we are seeing the amount of suffering especially in the context here in the Philippines?,” she questioned.
She said that, “we are here to step up and will not take it any longer that we’re just going to sit and wait, because in the waiting other forms of violence are happening.”
Additional photos from the day’s event provided by OBR Global Coordinator Monique Wilson who gave a talk and danced with the students.