Victim of domestic violence pushes advocacy with ‘SAVE’ campaign
BAGUIO CITY — It took a lot of courage and determination for a woman to end the 24-years of suffering as a victim of domestic and intimate-relationship violence (DIV).
Patti Gallardo, founder of Stop the Abuse and ViolenceE (SAVE) Our Women, Inc. recounted that she often feared how she would survive if she admitted that she was a victim of domestic violence.
She finally left the family home in 2002. But she went back and became a victim again in December 2004.
Then the the Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) law (RA 9262) was passed in 2004 and she filed the case against her husband for violation of the said law and an9other case to rescind the marriage. Her husband was found guilty of violation of RA 9262 in October 2007. In 2009, her marriage was rescinded.
That could have been the end of Patti’s involvement in such a problem but she chose to help other women get out of such a relationship.
Patti shared that when she left the abusive relationship, she did not get any support from anyone r because people were scared of her husband. Some did not believe she was being abused while others tried to convince her to keep her family together no matter if there was violence in the home.
Danielle Steel’s novel “Journey,” a story about a wife being abused by her rich husband, opened the door for her to decide that enough is enough.
While it was painful, she left her children when she moved out of the home because she could not afford to bring them.
Patti related that she lived in debt for a long time. She tried to survive without any financial help from her husband despite court orders for him to provide support.
Patti said that in March 2007, the Baguio Mayor’s wife, Becky Domogan, invited her to speak about her experiences so that she could inspire other women who are victims to become courageous and fight back. Since then, Patti has not stopped speaking out.
SAVE the Women The signing into law of R A9262 encouraged Patti to help women to make the step to end being abused.
She said SAVE wants people to stop accepting the existence of violence against women, change the age- old norms regarding the rights and the value of women and to instill in people’s mind a distaste for any form of violence against women.
She said that SAVE hopes to reach and affect as many people as possible, awaken them to the facts and realities of the violence around them and to help the victims to survive and recover.
In her talks, Patti does not openly try to convince victims to come out. She simply talks about her experiences, the law that gives protection to women in such an unfair situation, and then it is up to them to decide if they want to remain –or to stop –being victims.
“They ask to meet me, and we talk about their experiences (one-on-one). I offer them options such as getting a protection order from the court, filing cases (criminal or civil), protecting themselves... we discuss RA 9262 and find out how the law can help them. We refer them to the service-providers who can help.”
Nine years of working on her advocacy, SAVE now has women and men professionals, who like Patti, believe that women should never be hurt in a relationship.
“There are no valid reasons and no excuses for women to be hurt while in a relationship,” she said.
Statistics revealed According to the latest national demographic and health survey (NDHS), one in five women aged 15-49 had been a victim of physical violence since the age of 15.
That means, of the more or less 24,000,000 women in that age bracket, 4.8 million are probably victims of physical violence.
Statistics also show that the police and DSWD have only served 17,238 and 34,945 women victim-survivors in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Patti said victims are not confined to the low-income families. “Financially-able women are not exempt from domestic and intimate-relationship violence. There are many women professionals and those with careers who are also victims.”
There are also heads of organizations, offices, and even government officials who are victims, who are in a more difficult situation and cannot just speak up. “This is the reason why some commit suicide or just remain in the abusive relationship until they are killed, or until their partners die, or until they become too old to fight back.”
March 8, 2004
Many hid behind the cycle of violence but with the passage of the law in March 8, 2004, many victims of domestic and intimate-relationship were encouraged to come out and speak up.
She said that with the law in effect, the victims now have something to cling on, making them more courageous to speak up.