Background of the study
Theoretically, in a conjugal situation, either spouse may be violent toward the other. Yet studies show that over 90 percent of the victims of spouse abuse are women along with their children who often witnessed the violence (Dobash & Dobash, 1979; Gaquin, 1977-1978; Schwartz, 1987); which demonstrates that gender is the major factor determining who will be at most risk of violence in the family. This statistic strongly indicates that domestic violence – and more specifically spouse (wife) abuse – occurs within the context of a societal framework where public, family and individual relations are based on male authority and power.
Domestic violence against women and children who witnessed the violence is not an isolated phenomenon restricted to the behavior of a few disturbed individuals; it is prevalent in most cultures and occurs across different classes, ethnicities and socioeconomic levels in both developing and developed countries. In a study conducted in 90 societies worldwide, Levinson (1990) found domestic violence against women in 86 percent of them. A multitude of additional reports and studies from different countries – both in the North and the South – confirm this finding (United Nations, 1991a and 1991b; Demographic and Health Survey, 1991; Raikes, 1990; the Papua New Guinea Law Reform Commission 1986).
Moreover, available data indicate that violence against women in the family constitutes a serious and costly social problem of global proportions. This issue has spawned thousands of studies in many countries around the world in an attempt to elucidate the health, psychological/ emotional and social consequences of domestic violence against women, as well as the context in which such violence occurs.
Along with women, for too many children, home is far from a safe haven. Every year, hundreds of millions of children are exposed to domestic violence at home, and this has a powerful and profound impact on their lives and hopes for the future. These children not only watch one parent violently assaulting another, they often hear the distressing sounds of violence, or may be aware of it from many telltale signs.
Children who are exposed to violence in the home are denied their right to a safe and stable home environment. Many are suffering silently, and with little support. Children who are exposed to violence in the home need trusted adults to turn to for help and comfort, and services that will help them to cope with their experiences. Far more must be done to protect these children and to prevent domestic violence from happening in the first place.
Various researches have showed that effects of violence on women and children across varying degrees depending on the types of violence they encountered and certain demographic characteristics. Much of these, have found out that both women and their children have suffered the same patterns of effects/ consequences as they are being exposed. Such effects consist of psychological, emotional, and social. As these effects have strong likelihood that children exposed to violence will continue to become cycle of violence in the next generation.
This issue has reached the attention of the international community as continue to become a problem that neglects women and children in nation development. The international conference was held to addressed this issue and come up with one consensus to mitigate the existence of violence and its devastating effects on women and children. And this is being considered as violation of human rights and freedom causes of women and children to be deprived to take their place in social and economic life (United Nation General Assemly, 1993).
And thus, the country passed toughest law to protects the women and their children in any form of harassment, and discrimination. Professional that have long been dominated by men, including military and police have opened to women. Special police units have been set up to deal with cases of violence against women and their children. It fully recognizing the seriousness of the problem, Congress passed R.A. No. 9262 which took effect on March 27, 2004. The AntiViolence against Women and their Children Act is a result of nine years of advocacy of victimsurvivors, women’s rights and human rights advocates, non-government organizations, and government organizations led by the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women. This law is also in compliance with the obligations of the Government of the Philippines under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which the Senate ratified in 1981.
Much has yet remained, to be seen in terms of effectives, for thousands of women continue to suffer from violence, often at the hand of their partner or husbands and millions of children continue to witness violence. This problem of this country has immense alarming effect address to the society.
According to the information obtained from the different agencies closely monitoring violence: The Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children Protection Centre, in
2007, the number of cases of violence against women had risen by 17 percent from 2006. In the first semester of 2008, the PNP recorded 3,228 cases of violence against women. Abuse by a spouse or partner is now the greatest violation committed against women with 1,398 reported cases, accounting for more than 40 percent of all types of violence against women recorded in the first two quarters of 2008. But this could be the tip of the iceberg, according to experts. Most cases, said the PNP, and went unreported.
According to Mindanao Commission on Women and Children in 2009, has conducted surveys in selected municipalities and cities around Mindanao found out that there are more than 24,000 women a lifetime physical partner violence among 13-61% (in most sites between 2349%) of ever married women between 15-49 years of age, and lifetime sexual violence among 659%. Lifetime experience of one or more emotionally abusive acts was reported among 20-75% and controlling behavior by intimate partners among 20-90% of women of reproductive age.3 further, 1-28% of women reported physical abuse during pregnancy.
Likewise, based on the records from Iligan City Women and Children Welfare Desk have reported that from the year 2005-2010 there are 150,456 cases of committed violence encompassing physical, emotional/psychological, and economic abuse. But not limited to neglect abandonment (36%), attempted homicide (65%), human trafficking (1.29%), concubinage (1.29%), threats (1.92%), physical injuries (39.42%), sexual harassment (1.94%), act of lasciviousness (6.45%), attempted rape (3.26%) and rape (9.6%). And this according to city social welfare desk will continue to increase.
This fact has put the importance of the study; to investigate further that despite the implementation of laws protecting the rights of women and children; violence still continually exists and affects them. In which analysis for VAWC lies in the potential to use the findings for focusing violence prevention activities on particular aspects that have been shows to be associated with different factors (e.g., demographic characteristics as influenced by societal mandates and certain behavior).
This study adds to the body of evidence that supports the recommendation that special attention should be given to effects to “break the cycle of violence, as behavior is learnt, often in children. Raising awareness of factors that might help in understanding violence and its resilience are the primary focus of the study. Another is to introduce other views in theoretical and empirical importance in using concepts and theories in explaining violence which is not dealt with criminological perspective. In understanding the gender dynamic of inequality in power sharing and decision making that causes violence which is beyond violence in streets and prone places. That violence emerged inside our homes and how this form of violence contributes in a larger problem of violence in the society in general.