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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ruffa Gutierrez supports crusade vs domestic violence

Ruffa Gutierrez joins the league of empowered women as Avon spokesperson against domestic violence. Ruffa joins Oscar winning actress Reese Witherspoon who is the global spokesperson for Avon. I hosted the launch of the Avon campaign Speak Out Against Domestic Violence. It was attended by celebrities, empowered women, NGOs, politicians and people who feel strongly for the crusade against domestic violence.

In his welcome remarks, Avon Philippines president and general manager Bob Briddon, stresses Avon’s commitment to women. “Avon, as the company for women, is committed to champion women’s causes. In our years of business in the Philippines, we have been known for our passionate support to the breast cancer cause. With women being close to our hearts, we understand their needs and struggles. And Avon is taking this passion further by launching the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence campaign,” he said.

Speak Out Against Domestic Violence is an Avon global award-winning program that began in Mexico in 2005 and has since been implemented in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Italy and Lithuania. To date, over two million resource and education materials on domestic violence have been given out all over the world.

The program aims to create awareness on the reality of domestic abuse, as well as raise funds through the sale of the Global Empowerment Necklace (P149) and the Avon Lotion (P165) for the month of March, proceeds of which will go to the support of ongoing projects of local non-government organizations (NGOs) and ensure the activation of a hotline to allow women in abusive relationships to speak out.

Briddon adds, “We realize that the best weapon of any woman against domestic violence is empowerment. With all of you as partners, we will do this by helping them take the first step, the opportunity to speak out.”

In accepting the huge task as spokesperson, Ruffa said, “I am very happy that Avon is doing this program that is all about making that first step in breaking the cycle, speaking out. I’ve always considered it a privilege to be part of the Avon family as the Style Ambassador for the Avon Fashions Jewelry and Accessories line. Now, I feel even more proud that Avon Philippines has given me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women as their local spokesperson for the crusade against domestic violence.”

Ruffa continued, “Domestic violence is an issue that affects everyone, whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, famous or unknown. Each one of us can do something to support this cause. It doesn’t have to be big. What’s important is that in our own little way, we are making a difference.”

Here in the country, a total of 6,679 cases involving violence against women were recorded in 2007. This means 20 women become victims in one day. And globally, one in three women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Locally, there are still a lot of cases that are left unopened despite protection from law.

It was a successful launch attended by media personalities, women rights advocates and NGOs. Sen. Pia Cayetano discussed the provisions and limitations of Republic Act 9262, also known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, including the definition of domestic violence and how the law can help prevent and address the critical issue. Renowned child psychologist Dr. Honey Carandang tackled the impact of domestic violence on the child’s behavior at home and in school, as well as its long-term effects, including those that may cause them to act in an abusive manner towards their partners in the future.

Media personality Cito Beltran shared his views from a husband’s perspective, encouraging men to love their wives and resolve issues in a non-violent manner. He also reminded everyone that organizations and institutions exist to support women who may be going through this situation at home. While columnist and women’s rights advocate Rina Jimenez David, spoke about the programs already being done by local NGOs that aim to create further awareness on domestic violence and encourage women who are victims of such to do something about it.

Lea Salonga, Boots Anson-Roa, Abbygale Arenas-de Leon, Marilen Espino-Mendoza, Patricia Hizon and RX 93.1’s Chico and Delamar were present to show their support for the advocacy campaign.

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