Two grown children have lost their mother after she was killed by their stepfather in a fit of jealousy.
Evelyn Toledo was shot in the chest while she was tending her store in Barangay Poblacion in the northern town of Compostela, Cebu last Sunday morning, March 19, 2023. Her husband Sidney couldn’t accept the fact that she had left him after years of physical abuse.
The police investigator made it appear that the victim was involved with another man, a neighbor, even though there was no evidence to support that she was. Apparently, Sidney didn’t like it when Evelyn texted with other people, chatted with other people or spoke on the phone with other people.
And even if she did take up with another man, police could not use that to gloss over the fact that her husband took her life like he owned her, like she was his chattel.
For her to die in March, when the Philippines celebrates Women’s Month, again raises awareness about domestic violence.
The police investigator said the victim was familiar to members at the Compostela Police Station because she had gone there several times to report her husband, who had the habit of beating her every time he suspected her.
Authorities were aware of the danger Sidney posed to Evelyn, and yet they did nothing. The court could have issued a protection order or a restraining order against the husband, but, at the end of the day, it could not ensure her safety.
In November 2022, Department of Social Welfare and Development 7 Director Shalaine Lucero said that “one out of four women suffer violence, which may be physical, verbal or both,” in the region.
According to Major Niño Lawrence Ibo of the Police Regional Office 7, cases have been on the rise since 2016. It doesn’t mean the situation has gotten worse, he said, it’s just that more women have been empowered to report their plight.
But being empowered doesn’t necessarily translate to successfully escaping the violence.
Tell that to Evelyn.
Editorial Cartoon by Enrico Santisas
March 21, 2023
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