Hearing the women who suffer in silience

This is a re-post from a Manila Bulletin newspaper article appeared last January 16 written by Genevieve Rivadelo.  The two women featured here are Rowena Rivera and Maffy Gaya, the two remarkable deaf ladies I was with during our recent trip to Sydney, Australia.

Members of AusAID and Philippine Commission on Women peforms the ceremonial 'whistle blowing' that symbolizes the 'Blow the Whistle on VAW' campaign, which aims to end violence against women with disabilities.
Members of AusAID and Philippine Commission on Women peforms the ceremonial 'whistle blowing' that symbolizes the 'Blow the Whistle on VAW' campaign, which aims to end violence against women with disabilities.

MANILA, Philippines — A woman with a disability is more likely to face the threat of being a victim of violence, may it be sexual, physical or emotional, than most other women and persons with disability.

Inequality due to gender differences and the presence of a disability may prevent women with disabilities from recognizing their real worth and exercising their right to be treated with equal respect and dignity as the rest of society.

Last November, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) organized “Eliminate Violence Against Women with Disabilities” participated in by mostly persons with disabilities (PWDs), government representatives, PWD advocates from non-government organizations, and other stakeholders. The highlight of this event was the viewing of digital stories of two deaf women, students of the University of the Philippines, who bravely shared their stories growing up deaf in a hearing world.


As these two deaf women “speak” through their hands, it was clear that they were oppressed in ways that challenged how society views violence, which happens even in our own homes and inflicted by people closest to us.

When people who are supposed to believe in them judge them as inadequate; when they are made to believe that their only value is to be of service to other family members and not as part of the workforce in spite of their skills and competencies; when they are taunted, rejected and simply ignored — these are tantamount to violence against their person and their worth, their feelings of significance in a world that is deaf to their plight.

When the deaf speak, we should listen. They only shout in silence if we refuse to hear their message that rings loud and clear — any form of violence against women with disabilities should not be tolerated.

Sam Chittick, governance adviser of AusAID, reported that in one study of 245 women with disabilities, 40 percent had experienced abuse, 12 percent got raped. This statistic is higher for women without disabilities where only 20 percent experience abuse, and only one percentwould be related to sexual violence.

There may be many other cases of abuse among women with disabilities, but these are not reported. In the case of the deaf victim, aside from the emotional, physical and psychological trauma she has undergone, she may not be able to communicate and express what she has gone through in a hearing world that is most of the time apathetic to the plight of deaf women.

We can choose to hear the deaf speak by supporting AusAID’s campaign to end violence against women with disabilities.

In cooperation with the Philippine Commission on Women, AusAID launched “Blow the Whistle on Violence Against Women (VAW),” an advocacy campaign, both symbolic and practical, to end any form of violence against women with disabilities. Everyone is entitled to a life free from violence and a voice to speak, even if that voice can only be heard if we choose to listen.

Government proposes call center for the deaf

A PARTYLIST representative is pushing for the creation of call centers for the deaf or hearing-impaired people.

Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy said that she will be filing a legislative measure requiring business establishments like fastfood chains and government agencies to put up call centers for hearing and speech impaired persons to cater to an estimated three to four million hearing-impaired Filipinos.

Herrera-Dy congratulated 30 physically-able persons who completed the two-month video relay service training program in Makati City.

She said the success of the initial VRS training has prompted the partylist organization to pursue similar programs in various local government units.

“It is the right of individuals with vocal and audiological impairment to be heard. Being able to communicate and be understood are human entitlements that must not be denied,” she stressed.

The VRS program includes sign language proficiency training and video relay computer program education, the main components of call center services for the deaf.

The VRS centers have started mushrooming in the United States and other countries that have strong government programs for persons with disabilities.

The VRS training was conducted by the Bagong Henerasyon partylist through George Taylor and his sister, Kat. Himself suffering from impaired hearing, George heads the Telecommunication Service Network for the Deaf.

* -This is a repost from People’s Journal. Similar news articles appeared in Philippine Star and Tempo.

Short Flash Animation Video designed by a Deaf Person

Guys, I want to you to see this simple 3-minute Flash Animation Video entitled “M-Man”. This was designed by a third year Diploma in Arts and Computer Design Technology (DACDT) Deaf Student Moises Libot which won the first prize during MCCID’s 18th Anniversary. Sorry no sounds yet, just video. Cheers! 🙂

Rizal’s poem in Filipino Sign Language

Guys, please watch this short trailer of “Mi Ultimo Adios” (My Last Farewell), the first ever Filipino Sign Language interpretation of a popular poem written by Filipino National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal. This is a film of Myrad Visyon, National Commission on the Culture and Arts and DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies.

The entire video will be shown on June 21 at DLS-CSB and on June 24 at UP Diliman. I’m especially happy with this short film because my favorite deaf student of MCCID, Aldrin Gabriel, will be doing the interpretation. I’m so proud that my deaf protege has gone a long way. 🙂

Deaf Athletes Debut in Deaflympics

The Philippine Deaf Team participated for the first time in the Summer Deaflympics. Now on its 21st year, this game was held recently in Taipei, Taiwan. More than 100 countries participated in this year’s games.

Despite having a shoestring budget, which is a common situation for sports athletes from the Philippines, our country was able to field in the 6-man team. Although they were not able to bring home the medals, they were able to experience first hand the Olympics for deaf people.

History of Deaflympics

Held every four years, the Deaflympics were first organized in Paris, France with 145 participating athletes from nine European countries.

Sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, the Deaflympics have 20 sports events which include athletics, badminton, basketball, bowling, cycling, football, shooting, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, water polo, wrestling, karate, judo and taekwondo.

The 20th Deaflympics were held in Melbourne, Australia in 2005 with more than 3,000 deaf athletes from 67 nations.

For this Deaflympics, the Filipino participants include Ariscel Lobo, Louvella Catalan, Jorelle Faytaren, Cecilia Villacin, Paul Pacis and Christopher Uy Richard Jay Sunico, the team’s coach, Carolyn Dagani and Sansan Ong.

Despite not winning any medals, this blogger remains proud of you and holds you in high esteem. Congratulations! 🙂

Probably if our government would focus more on supporting sports and our athletes and not putting all their efforts on corruption and scandals, we may be able to produce more gold medalists and make our country proud.

To know more about the plight of our Filipino deaf athletes, please go to this Philippine Daily Inquirer link.