FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Filipino-American Women Join Efforts to Eradicate Violence Against Women and Stand In Defense of HealthCare Workers on the Frontlines of Caring for our Communities
Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chairperson, GABRIELA-USA
November 25, 2010 – This International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW), member organizations of GABRIELA-USA: Babae-San Francisco, Samahan ng Kababaihan San Francisco, Pinay sa Seattle, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment in New York and Sisters of GABRIELA Awaken in Los Angeles stand together with the international community to fight violence against women and re-launch the iVOW campaign (Voices of Women to fight Violence Against Women). For 16 days until International Human Rights Day on December 10, GABRIELA-USA will raise awareness on different forms of violences that are perpetrated against Filipina women via blogs, photos, action items, articles, and community profiles. All posts will be featured on the GABRIELA USA website: www.gabusa.org
The iVOW campaign broadly redefines violence against women to encompass the following ‘seven deadly sins’ against women:
· sex trafficking and prostitution
· domestic violence
· rape, incest, and sexual abuse
· sexual harassment
· sexual discrimination and exploitation
· limited access to reproductive healthcare
· violence as a result of political repression
Just last month, a Filipina nurse working at Contra Costa County Prison died 3 days after suffering head injuries when attacked by an inmate. Cynthia Barraca Palomata was 55-years old. She was simply tending to an inmate who faked a seizure, and then he bashed her head with a table lamp. Despite statistics stating that 49% of over 2 million cases of violence reported to the Department of Labor occur in a healthcare setting, healthcare workers are not receiving adequate protection while providing basic needs and services to people.
This past August, over dozens of Filipino organizations in the SF Bay Area and California Nurses Association charged the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) with discrimination against Filipina Nurses. Three separate written statements by managers at St. Luke’s Hospital, stated that CPMC-Sutter Health Vice President of Nursing directed managers NOT to hire Filipina nurses and/or foreign-graduate nurses. While CPMC denies the allegations, statistics show that the percentage of Filipino nurses drastically dropped from 65% to 10% since early 2008 when their VP of Nursing allegedly made the unlawful directive. Since 1965, the United States has been actively recruiting nurses from the Philippines and even enacted an immigration act that allowed nurses to immigrate to the US under the professional preference. “For over forty years, Filipinos have been providing healthcare services that the United States needs. Health care workers deserve respect and recognition, not violence and discrimination” says Tina Shauf, Chairperson of Babae San Francisco.
Last February 6th, a group of healthcare workers in the Philippines, also known as the Morong 43 were illegally arrested while conducting and participating in a medical First Responders training. Twenty-six of the workers are women, and 2 of them recently gave birth to babies who were then put back in prison with their mothers. “The Morong 43 are healthcare workers who were simply providing and teaching basic services that the Philippine government does not prioritize for the people. Their torture and continued detainment is just one of example of state violence inflicted on women, even mothers who have just recently gave birth,” explains Terrie Cervas, Chairperson of Sisters of GABRIELA Awaken.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, GABRIELA-USA would like to honor and give thanks to women who have stood strong in the face of violence and injustice, including women who are forced to leave their home country for survival, mothers who have not given up on searching for their disappeared sons and daughters, as well as women who risk their lives to provide basic needs for people. “Women are an essential thread in our society and are often the first victims of violence. If we do not fight for the rights of women, we are failing to fight for human rights all together”, says Irma Bajar, Chairperson of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment.
Please join GABRIELA-USA in working towards eliminating violence against women by participating in one of the following petitions, or by checking the GABRIELA USA website every day until December 10 to find out what you can do to help.
Protection for healthcare workers!
Justice for Filipina Nurses! (http://www.petitiononline.com/filnurse/)
Free the 43! (http://www.petitiononline.com/FreeD43/petition.html)
Join the fight in eliminating violence against women!