By Francis Ryan Pabiania & Shareen Anjali B. Warad | News Writers
Vol. XCI No. 7
Sept. 13, 2019
#RespetoNaman, a campaign against gender-based violence, opened the “Don’t Tell Me How to Dress” exhibit last Sept. 9 at Robinsons Place.
The exhibit displayed different stories of women who were harassed and sexually abused along with the representation of the clothes they wore during the crimes.
#RespetoNaman is a project of the Office of Vice President (VP) Leni Robredo, the Embassy of Sweden in Manila, United Nations Women, SPARK! Philippines, Empower, Terre des Hommes, through the Girls Advocacy Alliance and Para sa Sining. The campaign seeks to spread awareness on gender-based violence.
Aside from spreading awareness, they also aim to push for change in policy, better practices and the rehabilitation of victims, and to spread awareness outside Metro Manila. According to the Executive Director of SPARK! and one of the founders of the campaign, Maica Teves, the organization wants women to know that they are not alone, and that everyone will fight for the rights and for the respect of every woman.
“Now, more than ever, is the time to shift the narrative, end victim-blaming, and call for respect for women not because of what they wear or how they act, but by virtue of their being human,” she said.
In a press release of the campaign, VP Robredo said, “Women’s empowerment in the 21st century is no longer just about representation and activism; each one of us is called to go beyond lip service and be more proactive in championing the cause of making our spaces not only safe for women, but conducive to their success.”
Ambassador Harald Fries of the Embassy of Sweden expressed Sweden’s staunch support for the campaign. Ambassador Fries has also been supporting the campaign since its launching last year. “We want to create awareness not only in the Philippines, but all over the world that women and girls are affected by serious violence and this has to stop. People need to be educated and understand the problem and change the culture norm,” said Fries.
Meanwhile, Atty. Pristine Raymond of Gender Watch Against Violence and Exploitation (GWAVE), shared that she knew earlier the possibility of bringing the campaign in the city and she wanted to be part of it and help the campaign.
She said the exhibit is an “effective tool” that could address and send a “strong message” about the urge to stop victim blaming.
“It will not be only helpful to Silliman but also to everyone because victim blaming has been part of our culture; Filipinos have the tendency to blame for what happened to him or her,” she said.
She added that it has been part of the culture and being associated with the rape cases, which includes victim-blaming and the tendency of victims blaming themselves. “It’s not what she wore, and it’s not what she did,” Raymond said.
GWAVE, supported by the College of Law and Amicitas Sorority, was the organization that brought the campaign to Silliman University which will transfer in the Villareal Hall on Sept. 14 until Sept. 30. Dumaguete is the second Visayas stop of the said campaign.