Philippine Bishops Defend Women
Case of Abuse, Violence on the Rise
LUCENA, Philippines, AUG. 28, 2006 (www.Zenit.org). - The Diocese of Lucena, Philippines, is hoping to fight back against rising levels of violence against women in their country.
According to Bishop Emilio Marquez of Lucena, apostolate director of the Office on Women of the episcopal conference in the Philippines, "statistics on the incidence of violence against women and cases of marital crisis have increased to an alarming proportion."
The data quoted by the bishops' conference stated that in the first six months of the year 2000, there were 4,468 reports of women in "especially difficult circumstances."
Nearly half of the cases are reported to have involved physical abuse, maltreatment and battery, while 14% involved sexual abuse.
"Not well known but prevalent are the concerns for the declining moral values of our youth, leading to situations where they could hardly cope with the absence of proper guidance and counseling," said Bishop Marquez.
The bishops' conference also quotes a report of Amnesty International that states that "despite prolonged lobbying by women advocates, the government has failed to pass any legislation to protect women from violence in the family, although bills are pending before the Philippine Congress."
Moreover, Amnesty International said, it is common for police officers to refuse to intervene, regarding the abuse as an internal "family matter."
Faced with a shortage of prepared staff, the Office on Women will hold a training seminar in September for prospective coordinators on the diocesan level, who in turn could train coordinators in parishes.
An information packet containing basic courses on counseling, healing and other subjects, which will equip participants with the necessary skills for their apostolate, will also be distributed to the participants.