My sister has been experiencing problems with her live-in partner. They have been living under one roof for one year now. Our family is not amenable for her to be living with him without getting married first. We, however, could not do anything about it because my sister is already of legal age and has a stable job. She confided to me just recently that her live-in partner is sexually abusive. She is still very afraid and anxious because of what she has been through. My sister wants to put an end to her misery although she is not sure if she can file a complaint against him since he is not physically abusive to her but only sexually. Is there a law that applies to her case? Please advise us on this matter.
It is understandable for your sister to be very anxious at this point especially considering what she may have gone through, or even still going through, with her live-in partner. You and your family should really support her, so that she can surpass this rather traumatic phase in her life.
Your sister may pursue filing a criminal complaint against her live-in partner by initiating the same before the Office of the Prosecutor, which has jurisdiction over the place where the sexual abuse/s transpired, and anchor the same under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9262 otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004. It bears stressing that under Section 3 (a) of RA 9262, the term “violence against women and their children” relates to “any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a 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. x x x” (emphasis supplied)
Furthermore, the law defines sexual violence to include, 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.)
Section 5 of RA 9262 also states that “(t)he crime of violence against women and their children is committed through any of the following acts: x x x (g) Causing or attempting to cause the woman or her child to engage in any sexual activity which does not constitute rape, by force or threat of force, physical harm, or through intimidation directed against the woman or her child or her/his immediate family; x x x”
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 email@example.com