A Victory for All Women Athletes and Athletes-to-Be

First off, I want to congratulate the Ateneo de Manila University Women’s Volleyball team for winning their first championship in the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Series yesterday afternoon. You have made the university community “happy happy” with your strong golden hearts!

Just to give a rundown, the Lady Eagles beat Adamson University, National University twice and champion titleholder De la Salle University thrice in the semis and then thrice during the finals to win their first ever crown. I admit that I was only able to watch the last finals game and I only learned about their journey from my family who avidly watched their games. I didn’t realize how big the team had become all over the Philippines until I watched yesterday on television. I’m glad I watched and went to the bonfire and celebrate the victories for the university, for students and most importantly for women!

2014-03-15 Bonfire 2

“Heartstrong” is the mantra coined by the Lady Eagles’ Coach Tai that inspired the team and lead them to victory.

For the past eight or nine bonfires, ladies’ teams (as well as other athletic teams) took a backseat to give way to celebrating the Men’s Senior Basketball Team’s Championship in the UAAP. This time, women took the front seat in driving and celebrating a victory for the university. This shows how much the institution has progressed from being conservative and masculine to being liberal and gender-neutral. And this happened in the 40th year anniversary of having women Ateneans!

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Team Captain, Series MVP and Finals MVP Alyssa Valdez shared to the community how they felt during Set 3 of Game 3. Women being cheered onstage during the Bonfire! FINALLY!

As a woman and a member of the alumni, it’s really heartwarming and inspiring to see the celebration in front of my eyes. It’s the recognition that I believe many of us have always wanted to see. Their victory is something that would inspire many female teenagers to fulfill their dream of being university or professional women athletes as they have seen that women athletes are accepted, loved and admired by society.

2014-03-15 Bonfire 12

Again, congratulations Lady Eagles. ¬†And congratulations too to the high school and university Judo teams, the Women’s and Men’s Senior Badminton Teams, the Men’s Senior Swimming Team, the Men’s Senior Volleyball Team and Team Glory Be for your respective victories. Keep your hearts strong and continue winning!

Here are the other photos from the bonfire:

Here’s the university community celebrating the lighting of the bonfire and singing the school hymn Song for Mary:

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Empowerment against Sexual Assault

One of the issues I really feel strongly about is sexual assault against females.

What concerns me the most about it is not just its prevalence in society around the globe. What concerns me most is that female sexual assault victims are blamed or looked down upon because of the way they dress, carry themselves or where they work, when it fact, a woman’s clothing, job nor demeanor does not matter for someone who wants to be sexually assaulted. No female ever “asks for it”.
There are many ways on how a woman may prevent herself from being sexually assaulted. She may choose to dress modestly, take up a high-paying white-collar job rather than be a model and go to parties less, and get drunk less – and when she does go out, she may surround herself with many friends. She may also take up self-defense classes so that she can combat men or anyone who has that intent of sexually assaulting her. She may join the anti-sexual movement and educate herself on the issue itself. But even if many women or even all women empower themselves emotionally, physically and mentally, the intent to sexually assault still remains.
And that’s why I think that it’s very important to educate everyone about sexually assault to lessen the prejudices stemming from our masculine society and more importantly, lessen their occurrences to the point that they diminish. The first that we have to really educate are our boys and men. There’s this quote that goes like this, which I agree to wholeheartedly:

Advocacy - Teach Our Sons to Be Decent Men

Basically, apart from empowering females as a whole here in the Philippines, we have to teach our boys and men to respect girls and women. We also have to teach everyone to be more open-minded about the choices of others in terms of clothing, work and career and demeanor and not discriminate according to those choices.

If we educate, open minds and empower everyone – men and women, straight or from the LGBTQA community, then our society will be a much friendlier and safer place to live in.

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