Sunday, October 4, 2009

4-hour SRHR

While typhoon Pepeng was hitting Luzon, we were pre-testing our module on SRHR among returned migrant women. It was a condensed form of a three-day training. We started with introducing ourselves with body gesture that depicts our 'best' attribute. Most of the women were known to be cheerful. Next exercise was touching the most liked and least liked body part/s. The most liked part/s were varied (eyes, hands, feet, among others) because of the functions it provide. But the least liked was commonly the 'bilbil' or 'puson' or the belly. Most of the women see it as 'disgusting' because they wanted to become 'sexy'. From there, the discussions led to the concept and standards of beauty and what makes a woman fit and beautiful. Two women were past their menopausal stage, the rest were in their forties. They learned to accept themselves or their bodies for what it is because they have given birth to several children. The most exciting part of the session was the "Choose Your Spot". Two statements were discussed: it is the woman's obligation to have sex with her husband and motherhood is tantamount to being a 'ganap na babae' or 'womanhood'.

The elderly women were certain that they did not initiate sex with their husbands while the women in their forties uses subtle 'come-ons' to intiate sex with their husbands. Another revelation was the common issue of 'sexual dalliances' among OFWs abroad. They become sexually 'liberated' to ease loneliness while working abroad. But nobody admitted they have done it personally. They cited numerous experiences: one was a co-worker who sideline as 'prostituted' woman because her family always asked for money; another was a 'promdi' co-worker who had a string of boyfriends but she was known in their place as 'demure', among others. Other issues cited were dynamics between in-laws and the spouse left behind, raising children, use of money remitted and infidelity. We ended the session with 'wishes' of women for themselves given that they have sacrificed some things for their families. Most of them wanted to finish their studies and live happily with their families. Suggestions to improve the training was to include statements like sexual activities when one is married, and how to cope with loneliness while working abroad.

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