LAW EACH WEEK
Violence against women and children
by Atty. Karissa Tolentino

Republic Act (RA) 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 seeks to address the prevalence of violence against women and children (VAWC) and the abuses on women and their children by their intimate partners like: Husband or ex-husband; live-in partner or ex-live in partner; boyfriend/ girlfriend or ex- boyfriend/ex-girlfriend; dating partner or ex-dating partner.

WHAT IS VAWC UNDER THE LAW?

It refers to any act or a series of acts committed by any person against woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

WHAT DOES VAWC INCLUDE?

It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:

a) “Physical Violence” include bodily or physical harm;(

b) “Sexual Violence” refers to act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her child, such as, but is not limited to:

1. Rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex object, making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking the sexual parts of the victim’s body, forcing her/him to watch obscene publications and indecent shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films thereof, forcing the wife and mistress/lover to live in the conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with the abuser;

2. Acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or coercion; (

3. Prostituting the woman or her child. (

c) “Psychological Violence” refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and marital infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/ or visitation of common children.

d) “Economic Abuse” refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent. This includes but is not limited to the following:

1.Withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as defined in Article 73 of the Family Code; (

2. Deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of the conjugal, community or property owned in common;

(3.Destroying household property; (

4. Controlling the victim’s own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or properties.

IS VAWC COMMITTED BY MEN ALONE?

No. Women can also be liable under the law. These are the lesbian partners/girlfriends or former partners of the victim with whom she has or had a sexual or dating relationship.

WHAT IF MALE SPOUSE/PARTNER COMPLAINS ABOUT ABUSES COMMITTED BY HIS WIFE/PARTNER?

He cannot file a case under the VAWC law but he may file a case under the Revised Penal Code.

WHAT CAN WOMEN AND CHILDREN DO UNDER THE LAW?

The law allows women and their children to secure barangay protection order and/or temporary or permanent protection order from the courts. They can also file an independent civil action for damages and criminal action for the violation of anti-VAWC Act.


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