Cebu Zonta Club 2 holds workshop for PNP women’s desk officers in Central Visayas

The seminar-workshop organized by the Zonta Club of Cebu 2 at the Bai Hotel in Mandaue City on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, highlighted the importance of blaming the perpetrator, not the survivor, of gender-based violence. Establishing a referral network and collective efforts to combat violence against women were key takeaways from the event.

Female police officers from the Women and Children Protection Unit (WCPU) of the Philippine National Police in various cities and municipalities of Central Visayas participated in the seminar titled “Strengthening PNP WCPU through Gender-Responsive Delivery of Service to VAWC [Violence Against Women and their Children] Survivors.”

The seminar-workshop was led by lawyer Myles Gonzales-Esquivel, executive director of Miriam College-Child Rights Advocacy Center and legal consultant for the Child Protection Unit-Philippine General Hospital. Gonzales-Esquivel is also a member of the Philippine Commission on Women.

The workshop aimed to equip service providers and frontliners with techniques for delivering gender-responsive services. Such services emphasize continuum care, respect, informed consent, non-judgmental attitudes, and gender-fair language.

Esquivel emphasized the importance of avoiding victim-blaming, which devalues victims by holding them partially or wholly responsible for the crimes committed against them. “It is important to keep in mind that a person who has been affected by gender-based violence is never responsible for the perpetrator’s action. The responsibility and the accountability should be given to the perpetrator of violence and not to the victim-survivor,” Esquivel stated.

Gender-based violence and VAWC persist due to inadequate economic resources, perpetuating cycles of violence and poverty among women and the LGBT+ community. Unemployment and poverty affecting men can also lead to violent assertions of masculinity, Esquivel explained.

Esquivel further noted that gender-based violence stems from patriarchal power dynamics and a sense of male superiority and dominance, aiming to subordinate females in various spheres, including home, school, work, community, and society at large.

Participants were divided into groups to identify areas for improvement and develop recommendations to ensure gender-responsive and socially inclusive services for survivors of gender-based violence and VAWC. Esquivel advised participants that, given limited resources for VAWC victims/survivors, establishing a referral network with other agencies is crucial for a coordinated and cost-effective response to violence.

SOURCE: Cebu Zonta Club 2 holds workshop for PNP women’s desk officers in Central Visayas