Where do Filipina Women Seek Help for Domestic Abuse & Violence

HOTLINE FOR ABUSED WOMEN is +632-922-5235 or +632-926-7744
Donations in cash and kind are welcome at the Women’s Crisis Center, 3F ER-Trauma Extension, Annex Building of the East Avenue Medical Center in Diliman , Quezon City

This is a repost from my blog on Women and Domestic Violence. Here in the Philippines, a total of 6,679 cases involving violence against women were recorded in 2007. If you know an abused friend or relative or if you yourself are abused, please be empowered. Read on. Contact numbers to seek help below the entry.

“You provoked me”, the wife-beater smugly said.

“It is still no reason to hit me” protested the wife.

This is a common conversation that occurs between the wife beater and the abused woman. Wife beaters have a specific pattern that can be seen early in a relationship.

Abusive men often are highly romantic, sweet and protective early in their relationships. They lavish their women gifts during courtship. For them, women are trophies to be won over and objects to possess, and not people to enter equal partnerships with.

This cycle of abuse can be broken if women know how to empower themselves. The new law, Republic Act (RA) 9262 “Anti-Violence Against Women and Children is not against men. It is against men who treat their women as property.

The following is a true story of how Republic Act (RA) 9262 is working for a battered wife, a close friend who narrated the following events to me (names and certain situations changed):

Maria, a businesswoman has been a battered wife for 15 years. She’s married to a successful engineer who is soft-spoken and a Sto. Nino devotee. Who would have imagined that she silently suffered from physical and verbal abuse all these years? I would have never thought and even her own family. Her sister knew of her predicament just recently and got referred to GABRIELA, the same women’s group that lobbied for the law to be passed. GABRIELA, in turn advised her to help Maria file for a protection order. But Maria would hear none of it.

Nooo. It was my fault anyway.

How embarrassing.

What will the neighbors think?

I’m a failure.

I can still take it.

Maria coined a lot of excuses.

The battered wife thought that the law will never work but she promised her sister that if her husband resumes his abusive behavior, she will consider the filing of criminal charges.

Everything was nice and dandy for almost a year until her husband succumbed to work-related pressures. That night , he drank way too many beers and just threw a fist at Maria’s head without provocation.

Maria saw stars spinning as the blow hit her. Steadying herself, she stood up and ran out of the house. Her husband repeatedly hit her in the arms as she vainly struggled to set free from his hold. In her hurry, she forgot to bring money and her cellphone. She also left her teenage daughter. In desperation, Maria dashed to the barangay office to file a complaint. She remembered RA 9262. Immediately after hearing her complaint, three barangay tanods accompanied her to the house.

“They responded to my plea” she thought.

The barangay tanods negotiated with the husband to allow Maria to enter the house peacefully and get her things.

The next day , she filed for a Barangay Protection Order (BPO) and got it within the hour. Maria went to the East Medical Center earlier and acquired a medico -legal certification which she showed to the barangay captain.

The BPO was served to the husband. Enraged, “How dare she do this to me? How dare she destroy my good name?

Fearing the wrath of her husband, Maria worried for her future safety. That’s when she decided to file for Temporary Protection Order (TPO). Maria was accompanied by a barangay worker to the Women’s Assistance Desk at the Police Station where the policewoman (in civilian clothes) prepared her statement. She was told to reproduce 10 copies of the complaint, together with the medico-legal findings, the BPO, the barangay blotter and submit it to the Fiscal’s office.

Would you believe it? She was granted her TPO within the day.

Together with a court order, law enforcers visited their conjugal home and ordered the husband to pack up his things and leave the house. After being reassured that her husband already left peacefully, only then did Maria re-enter her home.

Criminal proceedings will follow suit. The protection orders are not a guarantee that Maria will be safe but it will be a deterrent for the husband. Violation of the TPO is punishable with a fine ranging from Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) and/or imprisonment of six (6) months.

Aside from physical abuse, the law also protects women from , psychological or emotional, sexual violence and economic abuse.

So battered or abused women, married or single, don’t despair. Be empowered. There is hope. My friend , Cathy recently wrote a column on Are you a Rihanna? She relates that batterers do not look like batterers at all. So don’t be fooled. Cathy has more to say on domestic violence:

The road to this “empowerment” however, is long and narrow. Often the battered spouse takes the abuse for many years before she finally wakes up. There is the cycle of violence to grapple with. As Nina put it so aptly – “Batterers do not look like batterers. They are often very charming and look like they can do no harm.” In her case, she said that often, after her husband would abuse her, he would transform into the sweetest, most apologetic person in the world. “I thought then that since he was sorry with my love would be enough able to change him…” Rihanna issue with her. “It’s a vicious cycle, and after a while, the battered wife or partner begins to feel like she deserves the beating, and so she continues to believe him and take him back after every apology. It’s like an addiction of sorts.”

There continues to be a very strong stigma attached to domestic abuse in this country. Either the women refuse to speak up because of “hiya” or because they feel they have no place to go and are more often than not, financially dependent on the abuser. Other family members may refuse to step into the problem because they feel it is not in their place to do so. Other women are told by elders who know no better, “just bear it, he will change.” Martyrdom is not a virtue especially if you have children who see the violent acts taking place. Violence should have no room in any family, and it must never be tolerated. As one other battered friend who had found the courage to break out of the cycle once told me, “What will your “hiya” do, if the violence escalates and one day all that is left is a lifeless you?” If you find yourself in this situation or know of someone who is, speak up for yourself or speak out for your loved ones.

This also holds true even for unmarried couples. Speak Out Against Domestic Violence!. Under the Republic Act (RA) 9262 “Anti-Violence Against Women and Children , the victim need not be the one who applies for the protection order. There are roughly 20 victims in one day. Domestic violence is not limited to one social class. Many of the unreported cases belong to women belonging in the upper class of society. The figures could be higher than 20 victims a day.

Violence against women in any form is a crime. But you are not at fault. You did not cause the abuse to occur. You are not alone. Break the silence.

There are laws to protect you. Get help now.

Where to get Help

In Manila, call these numbers to ask for help:

DSWD Crisis Intervention Unit (02) 734-8635; 488-3199

Women’s Crisis Center East Avenue Medical Center (02) 926-7744; 929-25909

NBI Violence Against Women and Children’s Desk (02) 523-8231 loc 3403

Download The Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 (Republic Act No. 9262) and other Resources

Say “NO” to violence against women. Sign up at www.saynotoviolence.org.

About noemi

Editor of a citizen media site who advocates constructive engagement in issues on family & society. http://facebook.com/momblogger and http://aboutmyrecovery.com
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5 Responses to Where do Filipina Women Seek Help for Domestic Abuse & Violence

  1. Pingback: What Filipina Women Say About Domestic Violence | Filipina Images

  2. Danella Sonido says:

    My adopted sister who was 23 yrs old died 3 years ago because of traumatic injuries of the head and was brain dead. We filed a parricide case against her husband but upto this writing we are still hearing the case,Our last hearing was last dec 14 and the next will be on May 2010. Sobra tagal po. tama ba ito, We wanted to have an attorney cause we have doubts now with the fiscal who is handling our case. Please help us.

  3. brenda says:

    madalas po akong saktan ng asawa ko kapag nagaaway sila ng kabit nya.verbally at phisically.ginagawa rin nyang panakot s kabit nya n sasaktan ako kapag nakipaghiwalay ito s kanya.kaya hinayaan ko n lang silang dlawa.nagsasama p din kming mgasawa dhil maayos itong lugar pra s anak ko at nagaaral s lugar n ito.kaya hindi rin kaagad ako makpgdesisyon n umalis kaagad.bumalik n s japan ang babae dhil andun ang knyang trabaho at mga anak nya.bukod po s pananakit marami p po akong gustong itanong sana s inyo.balak po kasi nilang magpakasal s japan.samantalng kasal kming dlawa dito s pinas.pwede ko po bang ipakulong siya s salang pananakit s akin at adultery?sa papaano pong paraan?

  4. plasmic says:

    I ran into your website recently and would need your help. Since i was a child,i had suffered a lot of abuse with my brother who i think is not mentally stable.Whenever he feels provoked without any proof, he has these fits of rage and he forms a fight with me.I try my best to defend myself but he is bigger.I recently had an encounter with him as he accuses me of locking the doors.I currently have cuts on my right hand and bruise on my upper left breast.My father, who is well known in the community, intervenes but only reprimands him to no avail.I am left with no security.I told him to have him put in a mental institution but my dad continues to tell me to ignore him and even accuses me of provoking my brother.I already am in so much pain.I don’t know what to do.I told my dad that if he can’t protect me, i would have to call the police for assault and battery.He does not approve of this as i think he is ashamed of what other people might think.I really feel so insecure right now.I don’t think that I can stay at our home with him around.Years ago, he even punched my mom while i was in manila.I know that you mostly deal with spousal abuse but I don’t know how you can categorize my situation.My dad doesnt want a scandal but at the same time, I am scared for me and my mom’s security.Would you be able to help me with this?Is there any way, the government can support me by forcefully getting him from our house to a mental institution? Please help.

  5. Kimberly Livingston says:

    I have a friend in the Philippines who is being abused by her husband…all emotional at this time. He did hold a knife to her neck yesterday so it is starting to get physical. He is an American & she is Fillipino/American. He has locked up her passports so she cannot leave the country with her three kids. They live on the island of Cebu. Do you have any emergency phone numbers for that area?

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