Filipino victims of domestic violence share their experiences
NEW YORK – Statistics show that 4.8 million women in the US experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year and three women are murdered everyday by a current or former male partner in the US.
That’s why the Philippine Consulate in New York is raising awareness on domestic violence and how to prevent it from happening.
“We consider this as a serious undertaking that should involve coordination with law enforcement in order to provide protection to the victim as well as a network of NGOs and social workers who are accredited to handle such cases,” said Mario De Leon, NY Philippine Consul General.
In this recent forum, kababayans shared their horrifying experiences with domestic violence in their own homes.
“She wouldn’t tell me until I was older the story of how my dad kicked her in the chest when I was a little over a year old,” said Leani Auxilio, a survivor of domestic violence.
Auxilio says her father is a cool dad but he would turn into a different person when alcohol was involved.
“There was that one especially brutal time he flung me against the wall, pinched my nose, and ground my head against the wall, hit my lips with a broomstick handle, then flung me to the foot of the bed where he proceeded to kick and called me ‘palpak,’” said Auxilio.
She says the Filipino culture has somehow allowed domestic violence to continue by not talking about it.
“My father would have been a better man if he didn’t think wife-beating or verbally abusing his family was a normal thing,” Auxilio added, “and of course these things would not have happened to me if we knew better.”
Performance artist Kilusan Bautista says that even men can be victims by enabling and accepting a partner’s abusive behavior.
“I felt like this idea l love and wanting to marry somebody,” said Bautista. “That was very important to me even at the sacrifice of accepting the abuse, but I knew that it was wrong when she tried to kill me in an accident that I experienced, where she pulled the wheel of the car driving on the freeway and flipped over three times.”
As an artist, Bautista drew strength from his experience and used his own life story to teach through his performances.
“The shame of wanting to make it public, my grandfather used to tell me when I started performing, ‘why are you telling the family secrets?’” said Bautista. “I said, ‘You’re right. I am telling the family secret but we shouldn’t feel ashamed about it. We should learn from it.’”
NYPD’s Pat Mulcahy says domestic violence is a crime. Nobody has the right to hit anyone. Domestic violence can be any felony, battery, assault, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, trespassing between persons living or formerly living in the same household.
“There isn’t one agency that can solve the problem of domestic violence,” said Mulcahy. “We all have to work together, we see day in and day out, and it’s not just intimate partners, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends.”
For a complete list of resources available for victims or survivors of domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence hotline is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).