The number of abused women and children here remained high in the past three years, the local justice and social welfare offices disclosed last week.
BY LYN V. RAMO
Posted by Bulatlat
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms. north of Manila) – The number of abused women and children here remained high in the past three years, the local justice and social welfare offices disclosed last week.
The Office of the City Social Welfare and Development Officer (OCSWADO) Betty Fangasan noted that most abused women are jobless and housekeepers while abused children are mostly sons or daughters of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) whose parents left them with their fathers, stepfathers, or other relatives.
Based on a report from the Anti-Child Abuse Network in Baguio City, there were 286 children here who suffered abuse in 2006. Of these, 108 were sexually abused, including two boys, while 107 were physically abused. Twenty-five girls aged 2-17 survived incestuous rape, while 83 were subjected to non-incest sexual abuse including two two-year old girls.
Among the 321 abused women last year, 273 were subjected to physical abuse, 28 sexually abused, 21 psychologically abused and 7 economically abused.
The five-year study on child abuse released by the OCSWADO shows an increasing trend each year. From 187 abused children in 2002, the graph rises to a high 286 in 2006 with a slight decrease from 188 in 2003 to 177 in 2004. For 2005, the figure is 226.
Fangasan theorizes that the increased awareness of women on abuses and the passage of the Anti-Abuse of Women and Children Law must have encouraged abused women to come out and report the incident. “It does not mean there (was) less abuse before,” she said.
While the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in the city provides legal assistance to abused women and children, lawyer Ruth Baoayan disclosed that not all those who were rescued filed a case against their attacker. She attributed this to the notion that barangay (village) officials could mediate in such cases. She also said that most people still think that abuse within a marital relationship is merely a private issue between spouses.
“It is inherent for an abused woman to have a sense of powerlessness. She noted the major concerns usually raised by women asking for legal assistance are: getting child custody, the recovery of their self-confidence and the use of their maiden surnames.
The city has passed its Gender and Development Code in 2005 and since then, there have been various efforts to implement the code, said Councilor Pinky Chan-Rondez. Northern Dispatch / Posted by(Bulatlat.com)