Less abused women file anti-violence

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013


INCIDENTS of Violence Against Women and their Children (Vawci) in Cagayan de Oro city do not prosper into cases, because most clients only want to move out of their present abusive condition, said Nida Paña of the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD).

CSWD recorded around 30 reports concerning violations involving women and their children for the whole year. In November this year, the office recorded seven complaints.

“It’s not just us who handles Vawci cases,” said Paña on why they only have 30 clients this year.

She added there are a lot of reports available at the barangay level and in women’s desks in police stations.

Some of the cases concerning Vawci are left unreported.

“Maayo lang sa primero pero dili galahutay (They are only good at the start, but they do not endure),” said Paña referring to the complaints regarding Vawci the office received.

She added that the complainants only wanted to get rescued from an undesirable condition, but did not proceed to filing cases against those who aggrieved them.

“Init kaayo sa start (They were so eager at the start),” said Paña describing the emotions of the complainants.

She added there were instances that the issuance of the 15-day Temporary Protection Order is enough.

Paña said most of the cases concerning Vawci are settled in the barangay level through a dialogue between the pacification committee member (lupon) and the individuals involved.

Asked on how women could proceed with their complaints, Paña said it is not necessary to undergo an amicable settlement regarding Vawci cases.

“They can go directly to court and file a case,” said Paña.

Paña said there are VAWCI desks in the barangays that settle and conduct a follow through on reported cases.

“Once the complainants received livelihood projects from this office, they did not pursue on filing cases against their partners,” said Pana.

Others were ashamed, she added, especially on cases wherein the complainant is a mistress.

Some did not push through with filing cases because the women were still trying to protect the credibility of their husband for their children’s sake.

Other cases involving women who were not from the areas, Paña said the moment they get enough money to go back to their parents, they no longer continue with the case.

Rhodora Bulosan, regional coordinator of Gabriela women’s party, said women should be educated about their rights.

Gabriela women’s party, through its party-list, was one of the proponents of the Anti- Vawci law.

Bulosan added some women are afraid of sending their partners to jail because they alone cannot handle the economic demands of sending their children to school.

‘Go on without men’

Bulosan said: “They should know that life must go on even without men;” however, she added that it is important to let the complainants know that they are not alone in pursuing their rights as a woman.

Paña said some women complainants are afraid to purse filing cases and put the violators to jail because they are afraid on the economic sustenance issue.

“They are afraid that no one will provide for their daily needs, so they won’t proceed on putting the perpetrators to jail,” Pana added.

Regarding sustenance, Paña said women should be empowered through livelihood so they can provide for their own needs.

Bulosan said the country’s patriarchal culture is one of the reasons why women think they cannot go on with life without men.

“Our culture today tells us that women are weak – they cannot live alone and should rely with their husbands for sustenance, and that they cannot provide the needs of their family,” said Bulosan.

Organize

“Women in communities are organized so they can help each other in protecting their rights including their children,” said Bulosan as to what Gabriela has been doing to women in communities.

She said women are normally secretive, and most of the time they only talk to people whom they can trust.

“They usually talk about their problems to other women in the neighborhood,” Bulosan said.

Bulosan added that organizing women in communities, educating them about their rights would be smooth because you can talk to them directly and as a group.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 10, 2013.

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