More than 1500 Zamboangueños participated in the One Billion Rising on a Valentine’s Day. Western Mindanao State University-Gender Research and Resource Center (WMSU-GRRC), Gabriela Alliance of Filipino Women and a certain women’s partylist headed Zamboanga City to “strike, dance and rise” against all forms of violence against women.
The global campaign of One Billion Rising: Strike, Dance and Rise! is a synchronized event worldwide on February 14. Held at the WMSU grounds, the unique initiative was joined in by WMSU students, faculty, administrative personnel, WMSU officials, community women leaders and other local city officials.
The dance revolution sought to address the incessant and proliferating cases of rape, battery, sexual harassment, psychological and physical abuse towards women. The choreography and the lyrics of the soundtrack clearly demonstrated the increasing desire to stop the culture of violence.
WMSU Gender Research and Resource Center Director-Prof. Rosalyn T. Echem, the event’s active organizer and coordinator said, “Ang WMSU ay nagkaka-isa sa buong mundo sa pakikipaglaban upang sugpuin ang lahat ng pang-aabuso laban sa mga kababaihan at kabataan.”
Prof. Echem also added, “Ang WMSU din ay tatayo upang ipagtanggol ang lahat ng karapatan para sa mga kababaihan at sa mga kabataan.”
WMSU President-Dr. Milabel Enriquez-Ho expressed her solid support in an audio-video presentation shown before the One Billion Rising event, “WMSU will strike to protect women and children from violence. WMSU will dance to express support for programs, projects and services which
will be protecting women and children’s rights, women and children’s health, women’s and children’s right to live, love and laugh and all other related aspects and areas of living.
Lastly she said, “And WMSU will rise to build new opportunities for women and children, to maximize their potentials, to maximize their persons, to maximize their resources and to improve their quality of life. Today, tomorrow and beyond.”
The overwhelming support for the One Billion Rising was felt not only by the WMSU community but also by the whole of Zamboanga City as it reaped positive responses. The campaign, in the form of a dance, served not only as a fun activity for the participants but a meaningful and symbolical expression to end such culture of violence in the midst of everyday life.
Meanwhile, the WMSU-GRRC also spearheaded a forum on the issue of Violence against Women (VAW) last February 8, in which interested groups and women leaders engaged in an interactive discussion. Consultations with local and community leaders were also conducted. The said consultations sought to instill a firm grasp on the participants about the pressing realities of gender-based violence against women. Representative Luzviminda Ilagan was the guest speaker for the event. After which, an orientation on the One Billion Rising activity was held.
The event was made possible thru the assistance of the University Student Council of WMSU, University’s Gender Club officers, Women’s Club Coordinators of the different colleges and WMSU Office of the President-Public Affairs Office. (EKEENA O. LIM, WMSU-PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE)