Violence committed against women and their children can be physical, sexual, psychological or economic, including threats of such acts. There is a law, passed nearly two decades ago, that protects them from such acts, and this is Republic Act (RA) 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 or VAWC.
RA 9262 states that violence committed against women covers all acts carried out against a wife, former wife, a woman with whom the accused has had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a child. The law defines violence against children as acts committed against the welfare of one’s legitimate or illegitimate children.
Abusive and philandering husbands or male partners are charged with violation of the law—that’s if their tormented wives or partners decide to take legal action against them.
In Central Visayas, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 has reported a decrease in the number of violence against women and children cases from January to May this year. In the first five months, the PRO 7 recorded 629 cases, a 64.4 percent decrease from 1,769 cases reported in the same period in 2021.
PRO 7 Director Brig. Gen. Roque Eduardo Vega has attributed the drop in the RA 9262 cases to the strict implementation of laws against women and children, adding that the Women and Children’s Protection Desks in Central Visayas have been “engaged in community development programs to address issues on gender equality and discuss empowerment, especially in the provinces.”
The regional police office’s efforts could have played a part in reducing the number of VAWC cases; however, it must consider the fact that there could be tormented women who are still reluctant to report the abuses they received from their male partners for various reasons.
If the number of RA 9262 cases would go beyond 1,000 is indeed worrisome; however, it could mean that many women are standing up for their rights and are courageous enough to report their partner’s abuses, and they’ve have enough living in the specter of violence.
There’s a decrease in VAWC cases in the first five months of 2022, but one would never know the number of cases in the remaining seven months of the year.
The 629 VAWC cases are still too many. The violence committed against one woman or one child is still violence.