Thursday, July 30, 2009

Updates and Questions on Human Trafficking

I was privileged to attend a Network on this kind of advocacy. I learned a lot about new forms of human trafficking and felt the vibrancy of child advocacy work again. Earlier, I only knew about sexual trafficking, but now they were talking about organ trading, surrogacy and even stem cell extraction! It was shocking at first to hear people from urban poor communities selling their kidneys at p70,00 per piece. Worse, women are selling their wombs in installment payment totalling P700,000plus. There was no mention of the amount of what it costs for stem cell extraction; perhaps, it was even higher...So, how can this be arrested? There was a sharing among police attaches from European nations. They were urging the communities to report to them evidences and encouraging them to support witnesses and victims of trafficking to pursue their case/s. But the problem is the same communities are in need of the 'lure of money' in exchange for their very organs. How can we encourage them to defy their own needs and hand themselves to the police as the very persons who condone such practice? I don't know...Then, the Secretary of a government agency blame it on 'dysfunctionality' of the families because they were the ones who encourage their own members to look for money and for jobs, accepting those jobs even when though there is high possibility that they will be exploited. Perhaps, the Secretary should give the people a comprehensive picture of the problem and not zeroing in the family as the 'root' of the problem...The very presence of the Network prove that it is a multi-factorial problem and need a more comprehensive viewing and not mere fundamentalizing of the phenomenon. (I believe she just wanted the people to veer away from blaming the government because the bigger factor is in fact poverty.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Emotions and the Case of 'K'

Human nature really amazed me like yesterday...I had a counselee (K) whose very strong emotion (anger) affected me slightly. I was looking intently at the way she gritted her teeth, threw invectives to every person she knew was 'conniving' to push her 'down'. That was her appraisal of her situation (in psychological parlance, 'paranoia'). But I refused to label her because that was feminist counseling is all about: contextualizing the situation of women and perhaps addressing this through more liberating actions. Her anger is consuming her: she was angry with her family because she was thrown out of the house and in incarcerated because she stabbed their househelp with scissors. She admitted that incident but with no remorse. So, she fend for herself through tutoring and sometimes through theft. Later, through my persistent intervention, the mother gave in and helped K with the payment of rent, washing of clothes and giving of food. But for a week ssince yesterday, the mother refused to wash K's clothes and give food because she refused to be coerced by her into submission (according to the mother, K was very ungrateful and violent towards her).

The worst incident also happened two days before yesterday. K 'manhandled' a young lawyer. According to the latter, when he was aboout to broach to another compadre the case of K, the latter grabbed him by the upper arm and squeezed it to the point it hurt. So, he was sugesting to me that K should be 'committed' to a mental institution because she cannot be good at human relations and posed danger to anybody. He was willing to do the letter of endorsement and talk with the mother of K.

This afternoon I will confer with K's mother and I also would like to inform her that K was holding a big chunk of wood that she hit every now and then to the point that all of my co-workers were very worried what was happening in the counseling room. I was able to lessen K's anger by noting why she had to harm the people who could help her. K ended up pleading to me to talk with the lawyer that the incident was 'merely a gesture of endearment'...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Good and Bad Day

I was shocked when I heard the news that my 'nanay-nanayan' passed away early this morning. When we were in college, she used to cook our meals (me and best friend). She is actually a mother to me. I was in a dilemma whether to attend to her demise or continue with my lecture among students. The door give way to the latter. And I treasured every moment conversing with the students about gender issues in and out of campus. There was a question on whether it is a man's duty to give up her seat for a woman. I told him it depends on the mindset of the woman. There are women who still love gallantry but there are some who opt not to entertain that because it means one is accepting the societal thinking taht 'women are by nature weak'. Another question was about the image of UP as 'dumping ground' of 'badings' (gays). I told him what it is in 'bading' that makes them 'less of a man'. The problem with that is the 'stigma' attached to the term. But when one is a gay that has actualized himself into something that he really wants, we care no less of the 'label'. Another remark was about the 'stereotyping' of women-driven movies and how it fared less in the ticket booths. I answered 'yes', men are more valorized when they have more 'women' (mistresses) compared to women. That is 'double-standard'. Actually, I did not elaborate on the 'softie' movies vs. 'violent' movie stuff which characterize female vs. male stuff. I want them first to feel the issue as individuals.

In the end, I realized that this day is both a good and bad day: good that I stayed on because I learned the different issues boggling students' minds; but, in my heart, I really wanted to cry and embrace the family of my bestfriend because our 'mother's demise. Now, I know what it means to welcome life- al-jalal, al-jamal...