Officers and members of Zonta Club of Cebu II from left: Dr. Elsa Basubas, Councilor Cynthia Remedio, Dr. Florencia Miel, Zonta Club of Cebu II President Marilou Canizares, Edwina Wu, Helen Adachi and Michelle Yu.
Members of the Zonta Club Cebu II lifted their collective voice in saying “No to Violence Against Women” in a series of events from Nov. 23 to Dec. 10 this year in observance of the annual “18 Days of Activism”. The campaign ended with a visit to women incarcerated in the Mandaue City jail.
“The increasing number of women under detention in the BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) prompted Zonta Club of Cebu II and the City of Mandaue to end the 18 Days Campaign Against Violence with them,” said Atty. Regal Oliva, Zonta Member and City Treasurer of Mandaue City. “It is important that we also make the women inside the penetentiary know and feel that there are organizations that continue to advocate for their rights and welfare even if they are deprived of their liberty. “
The campaign to raise awareness on the issue was brought to Ayala Center Cebu and Parkmall in a two week exhibit that showcased women from all walks of life in their various roles through paintings, black and white photos as well as pop art posters viewed by hundreds of thousands of mall goers. Two symposia tackling human trafficking, gender based violence, testimonials of victims and legal luminaries and a session on how to establish a one stop crisis center for victims of violence shed light on the issues around the world and in the local community.
Women around the world continue to suffer from gender biased perceptions that expose many to prejudice and violence. Oftentimes, victims end up in dire situations because of the lack of support within the family and the community.
“It is important that we also touch the lives of women who are in detention. Our advocacy must especially embrace women who are part of the underprivileged society. We hope and pray that as we end the campaign against violence, the advocacy will not stop and shall be a day-to-day commitment to fully stop violence in our community,” Ms. Marilou Cañizares, President, Zonta Club of Cebu II.
During their visit, the Zontians brought personal care and grooming kits which were happily received by the inmates. In return, the inmates presented a program with song and dance numbers.. Some of them shared that they have no one to visit them so the Zontians’ presence meant so much to them.
“This culmination of the 18 Days of Activism against Violence is apropos as we touch lives of women who are deprived of their liberty. By sharing our blessings and reaching out to them, we give them hope and with that, we offer our prayers that they will have the chance to be reintegrated back to the community, that they may be rehabilitated and will contribute to a better society,” added Dr. Elsa Basubas, Chairman of Zonta II’s Abay sa Kahayag Movement.