SC Reaffirms Commitment to Ending Violence Against Women
In line with its guiding principle of equal and inclusive justice under the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027 (SPJI), the Supreme Court reaffirmed its commitment to end all forms of violence against women during the kick-off activity in support of 2023 One Billion Rising Global Campaign: Rise for Freedom at the Supreme Court grounds in Ermita, Manila.
One Billion Rising is the biggest global mass action in human history dedicated to ending violence against women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence).
In his inspirational message, Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, one of the three Co-Chairpersons of the Supreme Court Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the Judiciary (CGRJ), lamented that “(v)iolence against women, whether physical, emotional, economical, or sexual, remains a massive and pervasive social issue in the country.”
“We in the Judiciary should not just sit and wait for these cases of violence to reach our respective sala. We ought to give this issue our focal attention as the incidents of gender-based violence continue to rise,” urged Justice J. Lopez. He added: “This why in November 2022, under the leadership of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, we encouraged participation in the 18-day Campaign to End Violence Against Women through the various activities prepared by the Supreme Court, particularly by the Office of Administrative Services (OAS) and the CGRJ.”
Justice J. Lopez said that while the Judiciary has taken important steps towards ending gender-based violence and inequality, “our work does not end with celebrating these milestones. There is still more to be done. Hence, this year, we reaffirm our steadfast commitment and unwavering support in putting an end to gender-based violence and in fighting all forms of inequality through the 2023 One Billion Rising Global Campaign: Rise for Freedom.”
Justice Maria Filomena D. Singh, Co-Chairperson of the CGRJ, disclosed that in spite of the continuing efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women, the same “remains to be the most widespread, persistent, and devastation human rights violations in the world today.”
Justice Singh shared that from 2017-2021, a total of 105,837 violence against women cases were reported to the Philippine National Police. She added that this number does not take into account most of these cases, as according to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey, “only one of three Filipino VAW victims sought help to stop the violence. Most women still choose to suffer in silence.”
Acknowledging that the fight to end violence against women is nowhere near done, Justice Singh shared that “it behooves the Judiciary to promote trust in the judicial system, thereby making it more accessible to the victims, to integrate the principles of gender equality and non-discrimination in judicial decision-making, and to put an end to the perpetuation of gender stereotypes and other biases that permeate judicial processes.”
Justice Singh also mentioned the steps taken by the Court in support of gender equality, particularly the promulgation of the Guidelines on the Use of Gender-Fair Language in the Judiciary and Gender-Fair Courtroom Etiquette, which seeks to free the Judiciary of sexist language that perpertuates gender stereotypes. She likewise mentioned that as part of the SPJI, the Supreme Court continuously conducts Gender Sensitivity and Inclusivity Trainings for members of the Bench, court officials, and other personnel.
The 2023 One Billion Rising Global Campaign: Rise for Freedom inauguration marked the launch of a series of activities organized by the Supreme Court OAS for the month of February. These include: V-Talk, a seminar on intimate hygience and health; City of Joy film showing, a documentary on the transformational leadership community of women survivors of violence in Bukavu, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; and The Vagina Monologues, a Filipino adaptation of Eve Ensler’s play of the same name. This year’s campaign celebrates 10 years of the One Billion Rising movement. (Courtesy of Supreme Court Public Information Office)