#DontTellMeHowToDress ribbon-cutting activity (L-R): SPARK Philippines Founder Victoria Garchitorena, J. Amado Araneta Executive Director Diane Romero, Ambassador Harald Fries of the Embassy of Sweden, United Nations Population Fund Country Representative Iori Kato, and Office of the Vice President’s Angat Buhay Head Jill Javiniar
As part of the celebration of the International Women’s Month, the Araneta Center and SPARK! Philippines launched on March 1 the #DontTellMeHowToDress Exhibit at the Gateway Mall.
The exhibit, which is the centerpiece of the #RespetoNaman campaign, showcases clothes worn by women (and even children!) when they experienced gender-based violence in various settings - at home, in school, at the workplace, in the community.
“According to a report by the Center for Women’s Resources in 2017, Philippine Police records show that 1 Filipino woman or child is raped every hour in this country,” said Ambassador Harald Fries of the Embassy of Sweden.
“At the heart of the (#RespetoNaman) campaign is the message of the importance about respect – respect for women’s basic human right for body ownership and respect for safe spaces for women regardless of their line of work, what they are wearing, where they are, or who they are. Nothing can ever justify harassment, violence, or rape,” explained Fries.
“I think it is particularly appropriate to have this exhibit here in Quezon City where the gender and development ordinance against catcalling and other forms of sexual harassment was passed in 2016 – the first among the cities in Metro Manila,” Fries added.
The clothes displayed at the #DontTellMeHowtoDress Exhibit are ordinary everyday outfits, which were worn by survivors when they were sexually harassed and assaulted. The exhibit aims to “transform the idea among misconception that it’s the surivors’ fault for sexual harassment, sexual abuse for what they wear,” explained Iori Kato, country representative of the United Nations Population Fund.
“Sexual harassment, sexual abuse is never, never the fault of the survivor,” Kato emphasized. “Stop the victim-blaming. Let’s put the blame on who should be blamed – the perpetrator!” he added.
“The #DontTellMeHowToDress Exhibit reminds everyone what people wear should never justify harassment and rape,” Fries concluded.
The #DontTellMeHowToDress Exhibit at the Gateway Mall is open to the public from March 1 to 8. It is part of “FilipinAmazing: Honoring Filipino Women at the Araneta Center,” a series of activities focusing on women empowerment.
Aside from the exhibit, the Araneta Center also held the “Neon Fitness Party” at the Manhattan Row last March 2. “Through the Neon Fitness Party, we are given the opportunity to work out together towards achieving our fitness goals! I believe that helping women to stay fit is one way to uplift them,” said Karen Gallman, first Filipina to bring home the Miss Intercontinental crown.
Women’s Bazaar will then be held at the Gateway Mall from March 15 to 17 to promote artisanal Pinay-made items. The bazaar will highlight the products made by women from Spark-sponsored communities, including those from Marawi.
“Filipinamazing: Honoring Filipino Women” is made possible by the Araneta Center, SPARK! Philippines, Novotel, Pizza Hut, Flawless, Ever Bilena, and Rustans.
For more information and other Araneta Center updates, visit www.aranetacenter.net and follow @TheAranetaCenter on Facebook and Instagram and @AranetaCenter on Twitter.