When Your Fairytale Turns Into a Nightmare

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Marriage, living together or any form of union between two different personalities need a lot of hard work to make it a successful one.  But unfortunately, real life stories do not always end with a happily ever after. Some women will be forced to face the harsh realities that they may have to bear like being abused. Can anybody really tell in advance if your prince charming would turn out to be the devil in disguise?

And then all of a sudden, the dreams you shared with your prince charming pre-marriage are shattering before your very eyes. It turns out that he was a wolf in sheep's clothing and everything changed to the worst situation you've ever been.

A lot of abused women do not have the courage to stand up and fight for their rights, mostly because of fear. Another reason would be because they really do not know what to do. Educating women about their rights, most especially in the rural areas, would help a lot in preventing more abuse. Knowing what to do in situations like this would mean that there would be less crimes women commit to defend themselves.

One time while I was at the community center or barangay, during the process of trying to fight for the rights of my kids, I was able to witness how, women in their confusion would opt to go back home for the sake of their children. Some would also choose this option because of fear that the perpetrator would hurt her other family members and relatives.

There was this woman, and she was crying with some bruises on her face. She was telling everybody at the station including me, how her husband punched her in the face because she wanted to go home to her parents to visit. But she couldn't go because the husband would not let her take their child. And the guy was such a big guy when the authorities brought him in. I literally saw the fear in the woman's eyes, but she chose to go back home with her husband and did not press charges, or even filed a report. 

My heart went out to her and so I slipped into her hand a calling card of the persons helping me which she immediately slipped into her pocket. And then she left with the husband. After they left, the officer on duty asked me if I still have an extra calling card which they can give or refer these women too. According to them, the most cases they have reports on aside from robbery and theft is domestic violence. But this is something that they cannot do anything about when the woman won't press charges, they said, because the perpetrators will be allowed to leave the station and get away with what they did. 

We have different stories and the amount of courage we have in us differs from one another. But how long can women live in fear? Women can’t go on living with their abusers or else they are risking their lives every minute that they stay with them. To help, I have made a list and links of organizations that will be able to help them. Also, I have listed a step by step guide on what to do at that crucial moment.

Tips and Guide 

1. If he has a history of hitting you, know your local police station's number and have it handy. In the US, it is as easy as dialling 911. In the Philippines, you can always dial 117. 

2.  Try getting women's crisis centers and social workers offices' numbers. It is also the right time to start counselling.

3.  If he hits you, immediately get your children (if you have) and run to the nearest police station or community centers/barangays.

4. Have a medical examination in a government or state owned hospital or clinic, depending on which your country requires. In the Philippines, victims of VAWC (Violence Against Women and Children) are requested to go to government hospitals and clinics rather than in private institutions.

5. Prepare yourself for the confrontation when he gets arrested. Some women melt at the sight of their husbands or partners behind bars and would immediately forgive them.

6. If the situation requires you to hide your whereabouts from him, it's always best to go to organizations that cater to this kind of situations like the Women's Crisis Center and they will be the ones to settle you and your children in safe houses.

7.Consult a lawyer for advice on your rights.

Below are agencies or institutions that help women in fighting against violence.
Be reminded though that the organizations listed below are non-government organizations and they may charge based on your capacity to pay.

For Legal Advices

#19 Naranghita St. 
Brgy. Quirino 2-A , Project 2,
1102 Quezon City. Philippines
Telefax : 63-2-352-7972

Look For: Ms Marian Garlit
Lawyers : 
Atty. Claire P. Luczon - Executive Director ( Referred to me by a lawyer friend/classmate as an expert in handling gender issues)
 Atty. Leavides G. Domingo-Cabarrubias (The person I would forever be grateful to, a brilliant lawyer- a product of the University of the Philippines- with previous experiences working at the Public Attorneys Office.I know I wasn't able to pay much but let this be my way of thanking you and honoring your advocacies.)

G/F Hoffner Building, Social Development Complex
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Tel. No. (632) 426-6001 loc. 4858-4860

Look For: Ms. Gina Morales

Crisis Centers:

 3rd Floor ER-Trauma Extension Annex Building
East Avenue Medical Center, East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
P.O. Box 2150, NIA Road, Diliman 0830 Quezon City
Hotline Numbers: 926-7744 / 922-5235
Telefax: 436-5088
E-mail address: wccmanila@gmail.com 

Look for : Ms. Anna, Beth, Tere

Final word:

We cannot always blame our fate or destiny for whatever misfortune that happens to us. Instead, we should acknowledge the fact that at some point in our life, we made a wrong decision, mostly because our logic was overpowered by our emotions. But the good news is that we can always pick up the pieces of our lives and strive to make it better. One thing for the women in these situations though, you need to have an extra amount of strength to be able to do this. Pray. God listens.

Please check out my site www.allaboutevenetwork.org for more women stuff.

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