As she wipes her tears away and put an ice cube to ease the pain on her lips, she murmurs the thoughts playing inside her mind, for she fears voicing out what she feels.

 

Jenny Jardino, a woman who pressed her thumb on their marriage contract with her husband—Christian, was in a life and death situation, for she suffered from intense and heavy thrusts from the same hand that asked her to be his other half.

 

Domestic violence or maltreatment has been existing over the years. It already caused thousands of traumatized women, especially in the Philippines. However, this thing should not be part of what is needed to be normalized as the new decade starts. This scenario continues because of three things. The deficiency of laws and rights to protect every woman, the lack of women’s information about the laws protecting them and the rights they should enjoy, and the stereotyping of women being the “tail” or “servant” of women to their husbands worsen women’s situation.

 

Making laws tailored to protect every woman from their abusive husband is the right thing to do. There are already existing enacted laws to address women’s needs; however, the Philippines still lacks legislation to entirely guard every woman and their children. Currently, in the 18th Congress, there are still ten pending and untouched bills that aim to cater to women strategically and gender equality issues all over the country, as per the Philippine Commission on Women. One of these is the bill that seeks to adopt divorce to the Family Code, which will help every woman get out of a toxifying relationship. Thus, the government should consider making these bills urgent because of the alarming domestic violence cases during this pandemic rather than worthless bills that do not help address this global crisis’s collateral damages.

 

These laws and women’s rights are nothing if women are not knowledgeable of these things. According to the World Health Organization findings, there is much rural do- mestic violence, yet a few seek help and services. Therefore, campaigns against Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) should be exercised whole year-round rather than on chosen dates only. The Department of Education (DepEd) should also help these causes to further the knowledge of every Filipino students on their rights. Children are the most vulnerable because what they have seen may be right for them, and they might do it in the future that will only result in a cycle of domestic violence. Until when will the Filipino fam- ilies be trapped in this cycle of brutality? If the school intervenes in educating that such do- ing is wrong, it will give the future generation to get out of the afflicting cycle. Indeed, if these campaigns are successfully implemented, it will build a community where every man knows how to treat a woman properly, and a woman knows how to stand up when violence is practiced on them.

 

Through the years, boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and those who have a boomer’s mentality have instilled that women should be chained and serve their families as full-time housewives. When girls shift into teenagers, their parents obliged them to learn how to cook, clean, and do the laundry, for they will be doing that in the future. Then why are they still spending hours in school if they will end up being a helper of its soon-to-be family? Women are not for houses only; they are also for any offices, especially in the gov- ernment. Until now, there are only a few representations of women in the government where it contradicts the fact that women can outpower men in leading. Based on the re- search of Harvard Business Review, women score higher in leadership skills than men. A manifestation of this study is what is happening to countries led by women during the global crisis: Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, Taiwan. They have managed the dilemma like fixing a family quarrel. Female leaders’ accomplishment is a slap to a mi- sogynist president who continuously blurts nasty things to women to prove he is more excellent than them, where in fact, he is not.

 

As the new decade starts, may this generation note that women are not punching bags for men to land their fists on it. Women deserve more legislation and rights to protect them. Women and the future generation should be educated to be equipped with the right awareness. Most importantly, women deserve to explore different workplaces, not just their home.

May the day comes that, though with tears and swollen lips, she knows that she will never be feared and silenced again, for she has armors on her fists: adequate laws and rights. Furthermore, if she masters using these armors, she will become an empowered woman—a woman who knows that she is not just meant for the kitchen but meant for something bigger. Babae, you are not just babae lang; you are a BABAE. Stand up and start shouting: Aa- bante, kababaihan! Abante, babae!

Patrick Sursano

About Patrick Sursano