10 NOVEMBER 2022
Embassy Press and Information Section
WASHINGTON D.C. – In observance of the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women, the Philippine Embassy hosted a panel discussion titled “End Violence Against Women and Children” on 10 November 2022 at the Embassy’s Quezon Hall. The 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women is an advocacy campaign that is observed annually as mandated by Proclamation 1172 s. 2006 in the Philippines.
The members of the panel include TurnAround Executive Director Amanda Rodriguez, FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Yesensky and Chief Counsel Joyce King who shared their professional expertise on how community members can support survivors of domestic violence and child sexual exploitation.
The event was moderated by Ms. Bella Owens, Board president of TurnAround. She is the former chair of the Baltimore County Human Trafficking Work Group and former president of the Baltimore County Commission for Women.
“The Embassy is grateful for the opportunity to hold this program, which is in line with the observance of the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women…The lack of awareness on this critical issue has led survivors and victims to not report their cases. They fear that they will be deported and will be separated from their families. It is the Embassy’s hope that this panel will provide you with information and resources that you can share with your loved ones so they can be protected from violence.” Consul General Iric Cruz Arribas said in his welcome remarks.
During the panel discussion, TurnAround Executive Director Amanda Rodriguez focused on the definition of domestic violence, how to identify and how to help a domestic violence victim. “You just really need to listen because that is what that person (domestic violence victim) needs. You should arm yourself with information about a victim service provider near you that can provide actual professional support, and the other is being non-judgmental,” Ms. Rodriguez emphasized in her remarks.
FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Yesensky briefly discussed the issue of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC) and the FBI’s combat strategy on addressing crimes related to OSEC in the Philippines in partnership with the Philippine Government. “We need to be proactive because we can’t just sit and wait in the hope that the child is going to make a disclosure to somebody… We are fortunate because in the United States, we have the laws, we have the resources, and the network to be able to save these children.” SA Yesensky said as he explained their process in investigating VAWC related cases.
Chief Counsel Joyce King of the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office highlighted the legal prosecution process in cases involving violence against women and children. “As you see, these are very serious cases… Sometimes there’s a minimization that happens for these types of cases and what we try to do in our county and throughout our State is really heightening awareness and having judges, having communities, and having juries understand that these are real life children. Just because they are in a picture or in a video doesn’t mean that they are not real. Something that we often say in court is that this is not a victimless crime to possess or distribute child pornography.” said by Ms. King.
Ms. King also heads one of FYLPRO’s civic engagement initiatives called Project Ligtas Bata. It is a web-based international campaign to combat the commercial and online sexual exploitation of Filpino children. The aim of this campaign is to promote awareness, prevention, and support for child victims in the Philippines.
VAWC Victim service providers or centers in the United States includes:
TurnAround is a provider of free comprehensive services to victims of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking. It’s mission is to educate, empower and advocate for all people impacted by intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking.
More information may be accessed through: https://www.turnaroundinc.org/
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
NCMEC proactively provides assistance to victims, families, law enforcement, social service agencies, mental health agencies and others when they need help with a missing, exploited, or recovered child.
More information may be accessed through: https://www.missingkids.org/ourwork
- International Justice Mission
International Justice Mission is a global organization that aims to protect people in poverty from violence by rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts.
More information may be accessed through: https://www.ijm.org/
For more information on the Legal Rights Available to Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in the United States, please visit:
Please call 911 if a life-threatening situation arises from domestic violence and abuse. For additional support and essential resources, you may visit the US National Domestic Violence Hotline through their website (https://www.thehotline.org/) or call +1 800 799 7233 or text “START” to 88788.
Filipinos experiencing or being victimized domestic violence and abuse may seek the Philippine Embassy’s assistance by contacting our Assistance-to-Nationals and Violence Against Women hotline (VAW) at +1 202 769 8049 or sending an email to email@example.com. ###
Consul General Iric Cruz Arribas delivering his opening remarks during the panel discussion on End Violence Against Women and Children on 10 November 2022
FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Yesensy presents the FBI’s strategy in combatting online sexual exploitation of children.
Chief Counsel Joyce King explains the impact and realities of prosecutorial proceedings related to VAWC related cases.
TurnAround Executive Director Amanda Rodriguez discusses ways to support a domestic violence victim during the panel discussion.
The panel interacts with participants during the question and answer session.