TO bolster its ability to deal with cases of sexual violence committed against Filipino nationals, the Philippine Embassy in Moscow formalized its partnership with the Russian non-governmental organization (NGO) Sexual Assault Recovery Center Sisters, or Sisters Center for short.
The agreement was signed by Ambassador to Russia Carlos D. Sorreta and Sisters Center Executive Director Zamotaeva Nadezhda Alexandrovna on 27 March 2019 at the Embassy.
“We have been working with Sisters Center for over two years. They have been effectively helping our nationals who were victims of sexual violence through therapy and counseling, and for that we are very grateful, we have witnessed for ourselves how they provided victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence the means to deal with their trauma and cannot help but be moved when we see the victims firmly on the road to recovery,” Sorreta said.
“We have also partnered with them to organized seminars and workshops on gender issues and Russian laws affecting women for the Filipino Community as well the Embassy’s officers and staff,” Sorreta said.
“Ours has been an informal relationship and we thought it best to formalize this through a framework agreement to maximize our cooperative efforts,” he added.
The agreement states that Sisters Center will provide “psychological support and psychological or social assistance to Filipino citizens who suffered from sexual violence on the territory of the Russian Federation” and defines sexual violence as “a violent action committed to a Philippine citizen without his/her clearly expressed consent, which leads or can lead to sexual contacts of any kind, including undesirable sexualized behavior.”
Under the agreement, Sisters Center will not require evidence of sexual violence before providing its services. The NGO also “guarantees respectful, confidential and safe attitude of specialists when rendering psychological support and psychological or social assistance.”
Aside from providing counseling and therapy services, Sisters Center will also provide the Embassy with information and materials, hold educational activities, assist in drafting booklets or other informational and educational materials about sexual violence and violence in the Russian Federation on the whole, its prevention and work with victims.