Just a week after I started working, the telltale signs that our relationship was in deep trouble started to show.We could no longer talk to each other. On August 7,2011, just two hours of fetching Annie from her dad, the argument started. And after a lot of bickering and exchange of hurting words, he hurt me, physically. I cannot go into the details because there is already a case filed against him.What happened next is a series of emotionally, physically and psychologically exhausting process.
Do not ever let a male figure in your life ,be it your husband, a live-in partner or someone whom you had a child or relationship with in the past or in the present hurt you physically, emotionally and psychologically. A first time would be the start of a series of battery, believe me. Once he hurt you, it is bound to happen again.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Go to the nearest police station, community or barangay station and file a report. In the Philippines, we call it a barangay or a police blotter.Every Police Station has a Women’s Desk, handled by women police officers so it would not be uncomfortable to tell your story. The barangay also has a women and child protection desk. This is where you will start your fight against violence on women and children or the Republic Act 9262 also known as the Violence Against Women and Children Act.
2. Go to the nearest government -owned hospital and ask for a medico-legal. Why government-owned? Because it eliminates the doubt that you paid for your medico-legal. Medico-legal is free of consultation fees except for some laboratory or x-ray fees. It has to be done in government-owned hospitals or clinics because doctors and practitioners testify in court as soon as there is a case filed.
3. If you are worried about your children, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office will help you facilitate about the custody and welfare of your childre. You will find the local MSWD office in your municipality.If you have nowhere to go or if you fear he might follow you and harass your family instead, you can go to shelter and safehouses like the Women’s Crisis Center to avail assistance.
4. Immediately file your “Sinumpaang Salaysay” or sworn statement in the nearest Prosecutor’s Office. In my case, the police officer facilitated my statement and did the filing. A “Sinumpaang Salaysay” is in a question and answer format wherein you will tell in details the incidence of your complaint.
5. You can also file for a Barangay Protection Order , Temporary Protection Order or a Permanent Protection Order in the Family Court that has jurisdiction over where the incident happened.
6. If you can afford it, seek legal advice from a private lawyer. Every municipality has a legal office that offers free legal advice.
I am reminding you that this is emotionally exhausting and draining. I wasn’t able to think straight at that time, I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep. All in all I lost so much weight. In my case, my children are in my partner’s care because of some technicalities we had at the barangay. I signed an agreement uder duress- which means that i was compelled to sign the agreement because of a threat or coercion.
I advice you to eat and sleep as you can, you will need the strength. Believe me, it is difficult. I could not even swallow my food and everytime I eat, my tears fall down because all i could think of was my children.
If you will fight the fight, save your strength for the real battle in court. Be ready, be prepared for that day. If you have not seen him in quite a while, be prepared to meet him face to face when you are summoned to appear in the Prosecutor’s Office.
More information on Violence Against Women and Children act and other related laws and government agencies that can help you:
Helping make the world a better place by empowering people through writing. MaryAnne is a multi-passionate creative and entrepreneur in a love affair with writing. She writes to empower and inspire women. As an entrepreneur, she helps businesses achieve their business goals by providing assistance to business owners with mundane tasks. As a result of what she does, business owners are able to create for themselves work-life balance and focus on the more important things in their business. Her advocacies stemmed from her personal experiences with domestic violence and mental health issues. As a survivor of one of the world’s climate-related tragedies, through writing, she hopes to help heal a part of the world that has experienced what she went through.