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Is the Philippines Ready for Divorce?
In The Press Posted on July 9th, 2011.
Source:Sunday Inquirer Magazine
When Marita last checked herself into a hospital, it was to recover from the violent beatings her husband gave her. She contemplated filing for an annulment, but post recovery, she returned to her husband, “because of the kids,” she said. And the cycle of violence continued.
They were married amid the promise of a fairy tale, but five years and two children later, the rosy scene turned black and blue. Now separated from the husband who almost killed her, Marita wishes there are other options that would give her another chance to re-create a happy home.
That will have to remain in the realm of wishes. Philippine culture views marriage as a sacred union of love, with legal prescriptions provided to preserve it. But marriages are never detached from social realities, and for a lot of women, the inequalities and violence they experience within the marriage just aren’t worth living up to society’s expectations of them.
Instances of violence against women (VAW), according to the Philippine National Police Women’s Desk, have been increasing in recent years: from 1,100 cases in 1996 to over 6,500 in 2005, almost a six-fold increase. Of VAW cases filed from 2001 to 2007, domestic violence comprised 76.2 percent. The perpetrators were mostly the victims’ husbands.
According to Gabriela, a national alliance of women in the Philippines, of the 294 cases of violence against women reported to them from January to May, 2011, 204 involved domestic violence.
Despite the alarming figures, the numbers can be considered conservative as most women opt to suffer in silence to “keep the family together” and to avoid the stigma of a broken marriage.....