I want to seek advice for my sister. She recently told me that her boyfriend has been sexually abusing her. They have been together for six years and she does not deny having intimate relationship with him, but lately he is forcing himself on my sister. He also often insults her and makes her feel worthless. She has been so afraid to tell anybody about this because of the possible ridicule of the people around them. What can she do? Can I seek protection for her? Please enlighten us.
Every woman has dignity that must be recognized and respected. That is why we have laws that ensure the implementation of this guarantee. But despite the existence of these laws, a lot of women are still fearful to “come out” and tell their stories because of how people and society in general may perceive them.
This should not be the case and let us begin with your sister. She should not fear the possible ridicule of the people surrounding her. Rather, she should have the courage to deviate herself from her abuser – her boyfriend. She may file a complaint for violation of the provisions of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262 otherwise known as the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004” as it is apparent that she is a victim of sexual abuse. We wish to emphasize that the term sexual violence includes, but is not limited to: “(a) 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; (b) 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; or (c) Prostituting the woman or child” (Section 3 (a) (B), Id.).
Apart from sexual abuse, there appears to be a degree of psychological abuse imputed to your sister in view of the insults and verbal abuse done by her boyfriend. This may be included in her complaint (Section 3 (a) (C), Id.).
Once the complaint is filed, your sister may secure the issuance of a Protection Order. If she is not confident of seeking for such remedy herself, you may do it in her behalf because pursuant to Section 9 (c), Id., a petition for Protection Order may be filed by the ascendants, descendants or collateral relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity of the offended party. Such Order may be issued by the Barangay where she resides (Barangay Protection Order) which is valid for 15 days. Thereafter, you may secure a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) from the court which is valid for 30 days, and prior to or on the date of the expiration thereof seek for the issuance of Permanent Protection Order (PPO).
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org