Back2Back Panty Drive: A shield vs abuse - uniting for change in CamSur
By Ma. Annellie L. Laynes
IN a remarkable display of unity and determination, the Back2Back Panty Drive: A Shield Against Abuse project, led by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Nagueña and spearheaded by Executive VP Camille Fornoles, has emerged as a beacon of hope for women and children in Camarines Sur. With the invaluable support of JCI Naga, Know Your Rights Philippines, Project Urduja, Philippine National Police (PNP) - Camarines Sur, LGU Calabanga, and LGU Goa, this initiative has empowered participants to recognize and reject different forms of abuse.
The project’s primary objective was to educate young girls, enabling them to protect themselves from the sexual advances of aggressors. As part of the Panty Drive advocacy, girls were provided with essential female protection, emphasizing their right to safety and security. The project strategically focused on the Local Government Units of Calabanga and Goa, identified as areas with alarming statistics of rape cases, particularly incest cases, during the pandemic and up to the present, according to the statistical records of the Philippine National Police Camarines Sur.
The program incorporated various elements to address the issue of abuse effectively. During the engaging kids’ sessions titled “Hoy Bata! Ika’y Mahalaga”, facilitated by JCI Nagueña Secretary Chin Peralta through captivating video presentations of animated content, young audiences were equipped with knowledge on how to prevent sexual advances and the importance of recognizing their self-worth. JCI Nagueña members fostered a sense of empowerment by encouraging the children to sing chants and dance to music that resonated with their hearts, reinforcing the idea that every child is important and emphasizing the need to be cautious when dealing with adults.
The project’s impact extended beyond the children, with mothers actively participating in discussions led by women lawyers from Know Your Rights (KYR) Philippines. KYR Philippines, a dedicated organization focused on educating Filipinos about their legal rights and responsibilities, shed light on the rights of women and children under key legislations such as the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 (Republic Act 9262), the Safe Spaces Act or “Bawal Bastos Law” (Republic Act 11313), and presented relevant case studies. The presentations were tailored to be relatable to women from all walks of life, regardless of their relationship status, enabling them to grasp the benefits of knowing and exercising their rights fully.
Moreover, representatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP) provided valuable insights into the procedures for reporting abuse and filing complaints while emphasizing the indispensable role of the Women & Children Desk within the community. This comprehensive approach ensured that participants gained awareness and knowledge and understood how to seek assistance and justice when needed.
As the Back2Back Panty Drive: A Shield Against Abuse project drew close, a moment of pure joy and gratitude filled the air. Jollibee meals, generously sponsored by Project Urduja, were served to all the participating children. The indelible smiles on their faces served as a poignant reminder of the significance of this project and the transformative power of collective action.
Camille Fornoles, the Executive Vice President of JCI Nagueña and project chair, emphasized the importance of their mission and the remarkable outcomes achieved through collaboration, stating, “Together, we have made a lasting impact on the lives of these young individuals, equipping them with knowledge and empowering them to stand against abuse. Our commitment to creating a safer future for all remains unwavering.”
The presence of esteemed individuals such as President Ruth Dy-Ng, President Job Llaguno, President Rocel of JCI Daet Bulawan, and members of the JCI Senate Naga added to the event’s significance, underscoring the unity of purpose and shared dedication to safeguarding the rights and well-being of women and children.
The Back2Back Panty Drive: A Shield Against Abuse project stands as a shining example of how collective action can yield transformative change. Educating and empowering the vulnerable has sowed the seeds of a safer future where women and children can thrive without fear. Let us rally behind initiatives like these, ensuring that the voices of the oppressed are heard, and their rights and dignity are protected. Together, we can build a community that stands united against abuse and creates a better tomorrow for all.