“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 [tag]abused woman[/tag]. 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.
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 guarrantee 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, don’t despair. Be empowered. There is hope. Even if skeptical of the law or afraid of your abusive partner, be prepared for a SAFETY PLAN.
The Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 (Republic Act No. 9262) – Salient Features Published in The Practice. Know the Law – A Primer on Republic Act No. 9262 Martel vs. Martel – Petition for Review in the Department of Justice.
Judge Rebecca Mariano issued a Temporary Protection Order on May 4, 2005, the first Protection Order to be issued under the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 or Republic Act No. 9262.
Safety Plan for Abused Persons – The plan shows steps for increasing the wife’s safety and preparing in advance for the possibility for further violence.