Filipino women enforce village peace through sex strike, 2011

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Timing
Time Period:  
Time period notes: 
The campaign lasted for about one week
July
2011
to
July
2011
Location and Goals
Country: 
Philippines
Location City/State/Province: 
Dado, Maguindanao, Mindanao
Location Description: 
Dado is a poor rural village on the southern island Mindanao
Goals: 
The goals of this campaign were to stop clan fighting in the village of Dado as well as among other rural villages, and to open up the roads to the market that were blocked by the violence.
 

Mindanao Island, the southern and second-largest island in the Philippines, has been the site of fighting and violence from a separatist movement since the 1970s. It is the only area of the Philippines with a significant Muslim population, and religious differences and widespread poverty has led to the rise of a separatist Islamist group called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). MILF is a rebel organization formed in the 1960s that uses terrorist attacks and assassinations to fight against the Philippine government. Because of the separatist rebellion, about 100,000 villagers were displaced by unrest in 2008.

Dado is within Maguindanao, a province of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM Region), where the population is predominantly Muslim and the MILF was very active. The area was subject to armed conflicts, family feuds, and land disputes. Feuds between different Muslim clans over land, money, and political influence have contributed to the violence in the southern Philippines, and have led to crimes and human rights abuses. In one of the worst examples of family feuds in Maguindanao, members of an influential Muslim clan were tried for murdering 57 people in 2009 to prevent a rival family from getting political power.

For the village of Dado itself the fighting between the MILF and the Philippine forces displaced many of the families. The village needed to be rebuilt. The UN Refugee Agency helped to settle the villagers by providing resources for self-sufficiency such as fishing boats, nets, landing sites, and sewing machines. The women created a women’s sewing cooperative and set up a sewing business to support themselves.

However, the women found they were not able to deliver their products to the regional market because the road from Dado had been closed due to local violence. The road passed through two other rural villages and clan conflicts caused scattered shooting incidents between men in the villages. This sporadic violence and family feuding led to tensions in the village and cut off Dado from trading centers.

In July of 2011, women in the sewing cooperative thought of the idea of a “sex strike” to bring peace to the village and allow them to safely travel to the markets with their products. The sewing group’s leader, Hasna Kandatu, told her husband that she would withhold sex if he kept fighting in road shooting incidents or clan conflicts. Other women in the cooperative such as Ainon E. Kamanza also joined the campaign and threatened that they would abstain from sex or leave their husbands if the violence continued.

Eventually the campaign spread to all of the women in the sewing cooperative and they pressured their husbands to lay down their weapons.

The denied husbands then organized and met with other village leaders to bring about the end of the fighting. Hasna Kandatu’s husband, Lengs Kupong, became a key leader in the campaign to promote peace and he told the two other villages that continued fighting would damage the economy as well as his marriage. Within a week, the campaign succeeded in stopping local skirmishes. Tensions subsided in the village and the road to market was reopened.

The successful sex strike brought peace to the village and brought prosperity to the 102 families living in Dado. With access to the road and to the market, villagers have gained a sense of empowerment as the village was then able to earn a living and rely less on food aid. Regaining peace in the village has become a key factor in helping to rebuild Dado and the surrounding area from violence.

Research Notes
Sources: 
AFP. "Filipino women bring peace with sex strike." News 24. N.p., 16 Sept. 2011. Web. 6 Nov. 2011. <http://www.news24.com/World/News/Filipino-women-bring-peace-with-sex-strike-20110916>.

Malig, Jojo. "Women's 'sex strike' a global phenom." ABS-CBN News. N.p., 16 Sept. 2011. Web.6 Nov.2011.<http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/insights/09/16/11/womens-sex-strike-global-phenom>.

Meddows, David. "Sex strike brings peace to warring villages." MSN NZ. MSN NZ, 15 Sept. 2011. Web. 6 Nov. 2011. <http://news.msn.co.nz/article/8302682/sex-strike-brings-peace-to-warring-villages>.

"Sex strike brings peace to village in southern Philippines." NY Post 16 Sept. 2011: n. pag. NY Post. Web. 6 Nov. 2011. <http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/sex_strike_brings_peace_to_village_ijKUDYycBorPPGYuTUYOgM#ixzz1YFOGbnGd>.

UNHCR. Philippines: Sex Strike Brings Peace. The UN Refugee Agency. UNHCR, Sept. 2011. Web. 6 Nov.2011.

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy: 
Nancy Liu, 05/11/2011