On March 26, 2018, I graced the Culmination of Women’s Month Celebration at the Cordillera Administrative Region Training Center, Teachers Camp, Baguio City. The occasion was attended by uniformed trainees of the Philippine National Police.
In the said event, I shared three things that could save a woman from being abused. Below is an excerpt of the message delivered:
There are only three things that I would like to share to you this morning, brave men and women. And to make it easy for us to remember, let us use the acronym: S-P-O
What does SPO stand for?
1) “S” – Speak up.
Maya Angelou, an American author and civil activist, said:
Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, she stands up for all women.
Ladies, do not be afraid to speak up.
Every day in our office, we receive complaints about women being battered physically and emotionally, women not receiving support from their husbands, women being raped and abused. They come to our office fearful because of their experience, but behind that fear I actually see – COURAGE.
I see courage because even in the midst of a traumatic situation, they were able to carry themselves out of the room, where they were battered and abused, to go to the authorities, to the police station, to our office.
They may look very afraid, but friends, there are “others” who are in worse situations. Who are these “others”? They are women who could not speak up, women who are still inside the four corners of their room afraid of telling someone that they are being abused. They are the ones whom we need to reach now. I won’t ask you to raise your hands but it is possible that some of you are here.
Do not be afraid to speak up.
2) “P” – Promote.
During your stay here as a trainee, I believe you learned about laws protecting women.
You are not learning that for nothing. Now that you are aware of these laws, you need to use them promote the rights of women, you need to advocate for them.
Promote. Inform your neighbors and the women around you that we have these services so that they will know where to go.
3) “O” – Offer.
Offer help. Since you are empowered, through your knowledge and your trainings, when you see a woman in need of assistance. You-OFFER-help.
Violence against women is not just a domestic problem but a social and community concern.
When you see someone being abused, you offer to help that woman, you encourage her to report to the authorities.
So now, what does SPO stand for?
Speak up, Promote, and Offer.
Let me just read to you a very powerful literature that I read:
I GOT FLOWERS TODAY
by Paulette Kelly
I GOT FLOWERS TODAY
IT WASN’T MY BIRTHDAY OR ANY OTHER DAY.
WE HAD OUR FIRST ARGUMENT LAST NIGHT
AND HE SAID A LOT OF CRUEL THINGS THAT REALLY HURT ME
I KNOW HE IS SORRY AND DIDN’T MEAN THE THINGS HE SAID
BECAUSE HE SENT ME FLOWERS TODAY.
I GOT FLOWERS TODAY
IT WASN’T OUR ANNIVERSARY OR ANY OTHER SPECIAL DAY
LAST NIGHT HE THREW ME INTO THE WALL AND STARTED TO CHOKE ME
IT SEEMED LIKE A NIGHTMARE I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT WAS REAL
I WOKE UP THIS MORNING SORE AND BRUISED ALL OVER
I KNOW HE MUST BE SORRY…BECAUSE HE SENT ME FLOWERS TODAY.
I GOT FLOWERS TODAY. TODAY WAS A VERY SPECIAL DAY. LAST NIGHT, HE FINALLY KILLED ME.
HE BEAT ME TO DEATH.
IF ONLY I HAVE GATHERED ENOUGH COURAGE AND STRENGTH TO LEAVE HIM.
I WOULD NOT HAVE GOTTEN FLOWERS TODAY.
So not only to the women, I will say this to everyone, do not hesitate to stand up for women’s rights, because by doing so, you are not only standing up for yourself but also for your mother, for your sister, for your wife, for your grandmother, for humanity…
It was quite an unforgettable experience for me seeing our men and women in uniform nodding and agreeing that violence against women should not be tolerated at all. Indeed, change has come for our women and we are making this change work for each of them.
For laws related to the Magna Carta of Women, you can browse on the following: