Presidential candidate Leni Robredo on Monday said that to protect women from abuse, they must also be given economic and psychosocial support, highlighting the need for a comprehensive approach to trauma recovery.
Drawing from her experience handling cases of violence against women and children as a public attorney, the vice president said what survivors need are opportunities to be able to stand on their own, enabling them to escape abusive situations.
Such can be achieved through economic autonomy, psychological care, and support from advocacy groups, which Robredo said she would ensure if elected president.
“Ako talaga number one kasi sa akin talaga, [...], economic empowerment, kasi ito 'yung nakita ko na pinakamabisa saka pinakamabilis na paraan na 'yung babae nalalampasan niya 'yung trauma na pinagdaanan niya, pag siya ay nabibigyan ng malaking opportunity para magkaroon ng sarili niyang hanapbuhay," Robredo said in a virtual forum attended by multi-sectoral groups.
“And when we say opportunity, it’s really access. It’s access to skills training, it’s access to capital, it’s access to mentoring, it’s access to markets," she said in an earlier interview, noting as an example how her office tapped women’s sewing groups during the pandemic to support their livelihoods while addressing the demand for personal protective equipment (PPEs).
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Robredo highlighted the importance of laws like RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, which punish not just physical and sexual violence experienced by women, but also psychological and economic abuse.
The presence of women’s organizations on the ground as a support system is also necessary as an added layer of protection, Robredo said, noting she would "strengthen capacity-building for these organizations to create more spaces of support and feminist care" for survivors.
"..Napakaimportante ng mga organisasyon on the ground, organisasyon na mga kababaihan na pag merong nagiging biktima, may sumasalo sa kanila at may napupuntahan sila kasi ito 'yung nagpapalakas ng loob nila," she said.
If elected, Robredo said she would continue and create more women-oriented efforts, citing what her office has done since 2016.
Apart from workshops, the OVP in 2018 had launched #RespetoNaman, a nationwide campaign against gender-based violence.
They also created Angat Bayi, a program centered on capacity-building for women political leaders through a partnership with the University of the Philippines Center for Women and Gender Studies.