Sunday, May 21, 2006

RA 9262 Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004; myths about spousal abuse; reasons why women stay in abusive relationships

Related posts:
Update: Supreme Court upholds Constitutionality of RA 9262 (Garcia vs. Drilon, G.R. No. 179267, June 25, 2013)

R.A. 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws. It is not an “anti-male,” “husband-bashing,” and “hate-men” law.

R.A. 9262 covers lesbian relationships.

The grant of a TPO (Temporary Protection Order) without a hearing does not violate the Constitutional right to due process.

The non-referral of a VAWC (violence against women and children) case to a mediator is justified.

RA 9262 does not unduly delegate judicial power to barangay officials. The BPO (Barangay Protection Order) is purely executive in nature in keeping with the barangay captain's duty under the Local Government Code to “enforce all laws and ordinances,” and to “maintain public order in the barangay.”

“Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.” (UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan)

Republic Act 9262 or the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004” is our country’s landmark law on domestic violence. Women’s groups, led by the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), fought patiently for RA 9262 for ten long years before it became a law in March 2004.

Summer last year, through the coordination of the hardworking and dedicated Social Welfare Development Officers of the various LGUs in Region IV-A, I conducted seminars on RA 9264 for barangay officials, police officers, day care center workers, parents and other government employees. I had the privilege of holding these seminars for Laguna (Kalayaan, Lumban, Victoria, Alaminos), Cavite City, and Sto. Tomas, Batangas. I also conducted a seminar for Calabarzon social workers held at the DSWD Haven For Women in Ayala Alabang.

It’s sad to say, however, that a lot of barangay officials and police officers still do not know the provisions of RA 9262. In television news reports of domestic violence, I still hear of police officers filing cases of physical injuries, grave threats, etc. against abusive men, when the proper offense to be charged should have been any of those enumerated under Section 5 of RA 9262.

For RA 9262 and other cases involving women, you can ask for help from the following:
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) Rehabilitation Unit Tel. No.: (02) 734-8635 NCR Ugnayang Pag-asa, Legarda, Manila Tel. Nos.: (02) 734-8617 to 18

Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children’s Concern Division (WCCD) Tel. No.: (02) 723-0401 loc. 3480 Call or text 117 (PATROL 117)

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Violence Against Women and Children’s Desk (VAWCD) Tel. Nos.: (02) 523-8231 loc. 3403

DOJ Public Attorney’s Office Women's Desk
Tel. Nos.: (02) 929-9010; 929-9436 to 37

Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Women’s Desk Tel. Nos.: (02) 524-2990; 521-8450 loc. 3816

Women’s Crisis Center Women and Children Crisis Care & Protection Unit – East Avenue Medical Center (WCCCPU-EAMC) Tel. Nos.: (02) 926-7744; 922-5235
Before we discuss the various important provisions of RA 9262, let me cite to you some of the statistics and information on violence against women. I got these statistics and information from my own research, and from a seminar sponsored by the Philippine Association of Christian Counselors and held at the Alliance Biblical Seminary in Quezon City, late 2004.

Statistics on domestic violence around the world

1. At least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.

2. Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner.

3. In Brazil, a woman is abused every fifteen seconds.

4. In Great Britain, 100,000 women per year seek treatment for violent injuries received in the home. One to two women are killed by their male partners every week. 45% of murdered women are killed by their male partners.

Statistics on domestic violence in the USA

1. Estimates range from 960,000 up to three million women being physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year.

2. In 2001, more than half a million women were victims of nonfatal violence committed by an intimate partner.

3. As many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during

Statistics on domestic violence in Canada

1. Some 27% of all victims of violent crimes were victims of family violence. Among all family violence victims, 62% were victims of spousal violence.

2. In 2002, females accounted for 85% of all victims of spousal violence. Young females aged 25-to-34 experienced the highest rates of spousal violence.

3. Children and youth under the age of 18 accounted for 61% of victims of sexual assault and 20% of all victims of physical assault.

4. In 2002, girls represented 79% of victims of family-related sexual assaults. Rates of sexual offenses were highest among girls between the ages of 11 and 14, with the highest at age 13 (165 per 100,000 females).

Statistics on domestic violence in Switzerland

1. 20% of women suffered from domestic violence, according to a 1997 study.

2. Currently, 12.6% of Swiss women or more than one in eight suffer from physical violence; 11.6% or one in nine had suffered sexual violence.

Honor crimes against women

Jordan – 20 killings (1998)

Lebanon – 36 honor crimes (1996-1998)

Bangladesh – 200 women attacked with acid by husbands or relatives (1996-1998)

Pakistan – 850 women killed by husbands or family members; many cases not reported

Statistics on domestic violence in the Philippines

1. The PNP reported 5,058 cases of physical injury/wife battering in 2002. In previous years, the total number of cases was: 2,213 (1999); 3,824 (2000); and 5,668 (2001).

2. 90% of the victims in domestic violence cases were women.

3. 60% of these abused women suffered the abuse during pregnancy.

4. 90% experienced marital rape.

5. 60% had unwanted pregnancies.

These are just the reported cases, with the implication being that the actual number of abused women in the Philippines could be higher. Indeed the Social Weather Stations has reported the following findings:

A. 1.6 million women above the age of eighteen have suffered at least one instance of physical abuse from an intimate partner.

B. 2.8 million men have admitted to having physically harmed their intimate partners.

C. Of the 340 reported cases of domestic abuse in Bacolod, only 38 cases were actually filed in court.

Common injuries suffered by abused women (from the NCRFW Institutional Strengthening Project)

The violence against women ranges from verbal abuse (centered on how the woman has neglected her looks), to emotional battering (like accusing the woman of having affairs), withholding economic support and, in many instances, physical maltreatment.

Physical abuse has included: shoving, cutting off fingers, undressing a woman in front of other men, and calling her a whore, attempted burning, aiming a blowgun at a woman’s genital, beating with a hammer, raining fist blows, etc.

Myths about spousal abuse

1. Battering is primarily a woman’s fault; she must have provoked him by neglecting her chores, nagging, being unfaithful, etc.

2. She is exaggerating and would have left if the situation was that bad.

3. She should maintain family harmony and protect the husband’s name at all costs.

4. A man would stop the battering if the woman showed more sympathy to his remorse.

Why do abused women stay in abusive relationships (from Mary Ann Dutton, Dynamics of Domestic Violence: Understanding the Response from Battered Women)

1. Many women believe they cannot leave because “He can’t live without me.” They may fear that he will have a nervous breakdown, commit suicide, or lose his job.

2. She may believe that the children need a father, rationalizing that an abusive father is better than no father at all.

3. Many women fear that they will be killed if they leave an abusive relationship. Studies indeed show that battered women are more likely to be killed after leaving an abusive relationship

4. Abused women also convince themselves that things are going to get better.

Neil Jacobson and John Gottman in their study “When Men Batter Women” have observed that:

“The decision to leave an abusive husband and the actual process of doing so can be arduous, stretching over months or even years. Shame, self-blame, emotional dependence, fear of increased physical violence and the woman’s inability to “give up her dream of having a normal, loving relationship” can stop a woman from leaving.

“Violence paired with love creates an almost unbreakable emotional connection called “traumatic bonding.”

Reasons why abused women don’t leave their abusive partners (from the Women’s Legal Bureau and the NCRFW)

The man might still change for the better.

She still loves the man despite everything.

She can’t abide a broken family.

She’s doing it for the children.

She can’t support the children by herself.

She doesn’t want to be blamed by her parents for the break-up of the family.

She is afraid of what the husband can do to her.

The guy might take her kids.

She probably deserves the beating.

To maintain the good reputation of the man.

Wife-beating is part of the hazards of getting married; it’s just natural for women to get beaten up.

She pities the man because nobody else understands him, like she does.

If she improves herself, she won’t get beaten.

She’s afraid to be alone and lonely.

She doesn’t know she has rights not to be beaten.

It’s a family affair and others shouldn’t meddle.

He might lose his job if she calls the police.