Violence Against Women and Their Children

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Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) refers 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.

Contents

Forms of Violence Against Women and their Children

Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) includes:

  • Physical violence refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;
  • Sexual violence refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her child. It includes, but is not limited to:
    • 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;
    • 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;
    • Prostituting the woman or her child.
  • Psychological violence refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and marital infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children.
  • Economic abuse refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent which includes, but is not limited to the following:
    • withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as defined in Article 73 of the Family Code of the Philippines;
    • deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of the conjugal, community or property owned in common;
    • destroying household property; and
    • controlling the victim’s own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or properties.

How Committed

The crime of violence against women and their children is committed through any of the following acts:

  • Causing physical harm to the woman or her child;
  • Threatening to cause the woman or her child physical harm;
  • Attempting to cause the woman or her child physical harm;
  • Placing the woman or her child in fear of imminent physical harm;
  • Attempting to compel or compelling the woman or her child to engage in conduct which the woman or her child has the right to desist from or to desist from conduct which the woman or her child has the right to engage in, or attempting to restrict or restricting the woman’s or her child’s freedom of movement or conduct by force or threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm, or intimidation directed against the woman or her child. This shall include, but not limited to, the following acts committed with the purpose or effect of controlling or restricting the woman’s or her child’s movement or conduct:
    • Threatening to deprive or actually depriving the woman or her child of custody or access to her/his family;
    • Depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her children of financial support legally due her or her family, or deliberately providing the woman’s children insufficient financial support;
    • Depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a legal right;
    • Preventing the woman in engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, or controlling the victim’s own money or properties, or solely controlling the conjugal or common money, or properties;
  • Inflicting or threatening to inflict physical harm on oneself for the purpose of controlling her actions or decisions;
  • 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;
  • Engaging in purposeful, knowing, or reckless conduct, personally or through another, that alarms or causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to the woman or her child. This shall include, but not be limited to, the following acts:
    • Stalking or following the woman or her child in public or private places;
    • Peering in the window or lingering outside the residence of the woman or her child;
    • Entering or remaining in the dwelling or on the property of the woman or her child against her/his will;
    • Destroying the property and personal belongings or inflicting harm to animals or pets of the woman or her child; and
    • Engaging in any form of harassment or violence;
  • Causing mental or emotional anguish, public ridicule or humiliation to the woman or her child, including, but not limited to, repeated verbal and emotional abuse, and denial of financial support or custody of minor children or denial of access to the woman’s child/ children.

Philippine Laws on Violence Against Women and their Children

  • Republic Act No. 3815, known as the Revised Penal Code, provides for the definition and penalties for related to Violence Against Women and their Children.
    • Abuses against Chastity (Article 245)
    • Adultery (Article 333)
    • Concubinage (Article 334)
    • Acts of lasciviousness (Article 336)
    • Acts of lasciviousness with the consent of the offended party (Article 339)
  • Republic Act No. 7877, known as the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, declares unlawful all forms of sexual harassment in the employment, education, and training environment. It upholds the State policy to value the dignity of every human individual, enhance the development of its human resources, and to guarantee full respect for human rights.
  • Republic Act No. 8353, known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, reclassifies rape as a crime against persons, defining it as a public rather than a private crime. It also provides for the circumstances by which the crime of rape is committed.
  • Republic Act No. 8505, known as the Rape Victims Assistance Act of 1998, provides assistance and protection for rape victims, establishing in every province and city a rape crisis center, and appropriating funds for the operation of the rape crisis center.
  • Republic Act No. 8551, known as the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act 1998, provides, among other things, for the creation of women's desks in all police stations throughout the country tasked to administer and attend to cases involving crimes against chastity, sexual harassment, abuses against women and their children, and other similar offenses.
  • Republic Act No. 9208, known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 provides for the definition of trafficking in persons and penalizes the person who buys or engages the services of trafficked persons for prostitution.
  • Republic Act No. 9262, known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, defines Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC), penalizes the commission of such acts, and provides for the security and protection of the complainant/victim and her family through barangay, temporary, or permanent protection orders.

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