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WOMEN’S WEEK CELEBRATION: Bantay Familia asks ‘violated men’ to come out in the open

By Jason B. Neola NAGA CITY --- City Councilor Cecilia De Asis, chairperson of Naga City Bantay Familia and vice-chair of Naga City Council for Women (NCCW), said that it is not only women who are victims of domestic violence and family abuse are encouraged to seek assistance and protection from them but also men who are facing the same ordeal. De Asis’ statement was made last Monday before a group of media practitioners here, apparently to encourage everyone especially men who are reluctant to put in the open their own stories of personal agonies and emotional abuse. “Although we can observe a lesser percentage of men in these cases [of domestic violence and abuse], their number becomes even lower as many of these men chose to keep silent than feel embarrassed about the things they are going to report,” she said. Bantay Familia, an inter-agency of LGUs, line agencies, NGOs and sectoral groups that work for the prevention of domestic violence and protection of survivors, is the crisis intervention program of the city government of Naga. De Asis disclosed to Bicol Mail that situations about men suffering from family violence and emotional abuse are not far-fetched as she tells about some cases in which the victims were teen-aged lad, a husband, or gay. “We had a number of male individuals whom we assisted to get support and protection from the Bantay Familia. Like in the case of women victims, these men got our all-out support as victims of domestic violence and emotional abuse,” De Asis said. She said that among those men who undergo individual counselling at the Bantay Familia are a government employee, a career man and members of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) group. During the women’s week celebration, which will reel off from March 19-23, the NCCW lines up a set of activities that will go along with this year’s theme, “We make change work for Women.” A Zumba dance organized by the City Health Office will be staged at the Naga City People’s Hall as part of healthy lifestyle advocacy. A desk will also be put up at the Naga City People’s Hall to accommodate inquiries from the public on the various services being offered by the SSS, PhilHealth, PAG-IBIG, OWWA and other national government agency’s service providers. “Babae, Handa Ka Ba?” is a disaster awareness program for women, which will be conducted on March 22, this year, at the Naga City People’s Hall, with representatives from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-Asa), Naga City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office, Public Safety Office, and the Bureau of Fire Protection. Seminars on corn, kitchen waste fertilizer, and financial management are to be conducted also along with the personnel of the City Agriculture Office as speakers and Punong Barangays as participants, together with the members of the Committee on Agriculture in the city’s 27 barangays. An awarding ceremony will cap the 5-day celebration wherein the Best Violence against Women and Children (VAWC) Desk and the Most Gender Sensitive/Responsive Business establishment will be given honor and recognition. Certificates of Appreciation will also be given to trade fair participants and stakeholders.

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