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TERESA to hold 2nd Annual Congress and Founding Anniversary Celebration

The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) congratulates and supports the 2nd Annual Congress and Founding Anniversary Celebration of IWA-member Togetherness of the Enlightened Women for Reforms, Equality, Sustainability and Action’s (TERESA) to be held on November 4 in Seoul, South Korea, with the theme: “Resist Violence against Women and Children: Our engagement toward peace.” IWA likewise supports the White Ribbon Campaign Dinner of TERESA to be held on the same day. We call on all IWA members to show their support to our sisters in Seoul by issuing messages of solidarity.

Here is the concept note on TERESA’s White Ribbon Campaign:

Violence against women and children is a grave problem in many societies. The worsening global economic crisis has plunged millions of women together with the children into conditions of poverty, deprivation, exploitation and misery. It increases their vulnerability to multifaceted forms of violence outside and inside the home. It has deepened and caused untold suffering of women migrant workers who are the first to be laid-off or forced to accept lower wages, lesser benefits and poorer working conditions in order to stay on or get new jobs for their very own survival and for the well-being of their families and loved ones, hence, they continue to suffer from tremendous discrimination, gender-based violence, xenophobia and racism in their host countries.

Migration of people from Asia takes on a woman face. Women who “hold half of the sky” comprise almost half (49%) of the total number of migrants in the world. This was the result of the severe poverty and exploitation of women in their home countries, especially of worker and peasant origin, those who could not find jobs, those who received very low wages and those who were displaced from their livelihoods and lands in backward economies. The phenomenon of marriage migration or foreign brides is but a part of the whole massive forced labor migration of women and men. In South Korea, as of 2008, there are 36,204 marriages between South Korea nationals and foreigners; it is the 10% of the total registered marriages in the country. Marriage migrants who are mostly women also suffer the brunt of the current crisis, and most of them including their children face discrimination, cultural differences, racism, isolation, domestic violence, economic difficulties, and many others. State policies and family laws of their destination countries remain to be discriminatory.

TERESA has named Seven Deadly Sins committed against women and children as focus of her White Ribbon Campaign. They are:

1. Sex trafficking and prostitution; 2. Domestic violence; 3. Rape and incest; 4. Sexual harassment, discrimination and exploitation; 5. Unemployment, underemployment and low wages; 6. War and militarism; and, 7. Lack of access to adequate health and social services.

On March 6, 2011, TERESA marked the 100 years of the International Women’s Day by launching a campaign called the Purple Rose, a campaign against sex trafficking of women and children. It provides a means where we overseas women, the women migrant workers and marriage migrants in South Korea can express opposition or disapproval on the use of sex trade which led to prostitution and forced labor migration of women and minors in propping up the economy of the Philippines. This year, a project dubbed as “Sagip Bata” was kicked off during the celebration of the 101 years of women’s struggles and resistance. Sagip Bata is a way of supporting a community of poor and deprived Filipino children in their needs.

What is TERESA’s White Ribbon Campaign and how does it work?

The White Ribbon Campaign led by TERESA women is a/an . . .

Work of raising women and children’s awareness of their own situation through education designed to liberate them, help them to become critical, active, creative, free and responsible for their own lives in society, and assist them to identify aspects of their lives they want to change and the root causes of the 7 Deadly Sins committed against them and work out ways to change the situation;

Engagement with women and children to encourage them to speak out or to break the “culture of silence” surrounding cases of violence, deliver necessary services to the victims and survivors, and equip them on how to resist further violence;

Resistance against oppressive ideologies, laws and structures in societies that impede gender equality and the exercise of women and children’s rights and freedom through public information and lobby work;

Commitment to join in the on-going fight for the rights and interests of broad masses of people against imperialist greed of the so called powerful nations headed by the United States and their allies which take control on the politics and economies of the world; and,

Partnership of women, children and men in the making of a society free from all forms of violence by taking concrete and joint actions to stop the violence, helping to promote positive attitudes and behaviours towards women and children, when needed intervene safely to prevent violence, and creating a hospitable environment for all. In short, TERESA’s White Ribbon Campaign (TWRC) is a campaign to end violence against women and children (VAWC).

What does it mean to wear a white ribbon?

Wearing a white ribbon is a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and children, and to always work for the ending of such violence. TERESA’s White Ribbon is an iconic symbol of resistance to violence. When is the focus of TERESA’s White Ribbon Campaign?

The White Ribbon Campaign of TERESA runs from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women through December 18, the International Migrants’ Day but campaigns can occur anytime of the year. Some important dates between November 25 and December 18 are: November 30, Commemoration of the birthday of Andres Bonifacio; December 2, the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery; and, December 10, International Human Rights Day. How is Teresa’s White Ribbon Campaign funded?

At this time, TERESA primarily relies on the support and generosity of the members as well as the community at large.

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