Don’t Tell Me How To Dress UNFPA attacks crimes against women and children

UNFPA caption

As recounted by John Gindap, Raphael Gutierrez, and Diego Hidalgo, visiting students of Southridge School

Enderun was very pleased to receive some two dozen students from PAREF Southridge School in Alabang as visiting interns at the Department of Economics on the McKinley Hills campus. They observed classes and participated in several events.

A highlight of their visit was visiting the UNFPA exhibit, Don’t Tell Me How to Dress.   “The day after she went missing, Mimay, a 4-month old baby was found in a coconut field. A few meters away from her was a bottle of alcohol and her diaper. It was striking!” writes one of the students.

Displayed between two glass panes, the exhibit showed clothes (or representations thereof) worn by the victims of sexual assault at the time of the incident. Each article of clothing was accompanied by a brief description of the crime committed.

People from all walks of life, of all ages, of all places are attacked everyday by these perpetrators. Stories of catcalling, inappropriate touching, gross misconduct, forced acts, and rape were told by these people. According to the UNFPA, 1 in 20 women aged 15-29 have experienced forms of sexual assault or harassment.

This exhibit focused on the #MeToo and #RespetoNaman movements spearheaded by women around the world. These movements fight against sexual harassment, promote gender equality and overall peace. In this way, the exhibit demonstrates the need to foster unity and communication among the women protection movements.

The exhibit also aims to remove the stigma of sexual assault and encourage people to  understand that sexual abuse is not the victim’s fault. Sexual aggression can happen anywhere, in public or even at the victim’s own home. The survivors,  however, have to live this deep secret, often in a state of shame.

Through the displays, UNFPA is telling us that it does not matter what the victim wears, looks like, or intends to do. The person to blame is the abuser,  who violated the victim. It is a truly upsetting fact that these sorts of occurrences could take place at any time, any place, towards any person.

The UNFPA exhibit was a really eye-opening experience for many of us Southridge students. We really appreciated the efforts of the President of Enderun Colleges, Mr. Ed Rodriguez; Ms Joselle Feliciano, his Executive Assistant; Mr. Jet de la Cruz, Head of Economics; and students from the school’s leadership program.

This visit also enabled us to learn more about UNFPA, the United Nations Family Planning Agency and its objectives to enlarge the possibilities for women and young people to live healthy and productive lives; to create a world where every pregnancy is wanted, where every childbirth is safe, and where every young person’s potential is fulfilled. This is to further ensure the rights and choices for all people so that the different social classes in society eventually can be equal.

We must be aware and proactive in upholding these values, so that we can grow not only as  a Filipino people, but as a people of the world.

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