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Aug 16

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STILL AN UNDERRATED OFFENSE

By Glo Abaeo Tuazon

 Baguio City. The statistics of victims and survivors of domestic and intimate relationship violence (DIV) under the Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) are escalating at an alarming rate, but seemingly not given so much attention. In Baguio City and the Cordillera region, only a fraction of the number of victims and survivors come out in the open to report the offense or crime done against them. This mostly accounts for the reasons of fear, cultural beliefs and ignorance of the law regarding the matter and ignorance of their rights.

       Patti Gallardo, founder of the group Stop the Abuse and ViolencE against our Women (SAVE OUR WOMEN), Inc. and their members openly talk during speaking engagements about all these with the hope of “spreading awareness and be vehicles for information dissemination about VAWC”. Gallardo attests to the fact that there are so many violated women out there hiding in the shadow of silence for fear that they might hurt more if they spoke of it. Or that the community or the people around them may not understand, especially those coming from the provinces where women are expected to be subject to their partners’ control and defiance is absurd. 

       Domestic violence has plagued intimate relationships and marriages ever since and was first brought to public attention in the nineteenth century. Early histories of divorce proceedings would often involve “marital cruelty” by men against their spouses. At present even with women gaining the same leverage and given the same rights and privileges as the men, cases of abuse and violence are still being reported. More so now that the ever escalating difficulties in life contribute to the factor of people getting more stressed and troubled.

       With the turn of centuries though and the creation of laws to protect the women, more than a few lives and dignities were saved. This era was heightened in the 70’s with the start of women’s movements. In the Philippines, the Cordilleras in particular a few groups were formed to look into this yet somehow still lack the kind of support needed to take care of the victims and survivors. SAVE Our Women, Inc. was formed three years back by women who themselves were victims or had experiences dealing with such issues. Hoping to cope and help others have people they could run to in cases of abuse. This is also giving the female victims or survivors of abuse a face and a voice that people can emphathize and sympathize with, and be conduits for the sharing of experiences in order to enlighten, encourage and empower them. To date the group has 35 members, 10 of whom are men. Gallardo hopes that in time, the group will grow and be able to serve more people, and even in the littlest of ways help prevent the crimes or offenses done to women.

Note: For those interested to get in touch with SAVE Our Women, Inc. you can get in touch with them thru save_our_women@yahoo.com.