SF Consulate addresses domestic violence at seminar

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 6, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO – The Alliance for Community Empowerment: Kumares and Kumpares (or ALLICE) recently held their 10th annual “Free From Violence” seminar at the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco.

The free event featured a resource fair on building safe and healthy family relationships while addressing the seriousness of domestic abuse.

“We are very proud to be one of the partners of ALLICE in addressing this very important issue, and of course we are pleased to host this in the consulate which is supposed to be a safe haven for the community,” said Consulate General Jaime Ramon Ascalon.

ALLICE members and noted speakers shared disturbing facts about domestic violence.

For example, one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Also, every year, one in three women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner. Domestic violence continues to be one of the most unreported crimes.

Actress and domestic abuse survivor Giovannie Espiritu gave her testimony to bring awareness that victims are often unaware that they are in a harmful relationships.

“There’s a lot of shame and guilt involved in domestic violence and abuse, like where a lot of survivors don’t even want to come out because they feel guilty,” said Espiritu. “Like I said in my testimony, when my acting teacher said it wasn’t my fault that was the first time somebody told me it wasn’t my fault and that inspired me to get help because I thought it was all me.”

Domestic violence survivors Espiritu and former Mayor of Colma Joanne del Rosario share their messages to all kababayans in hope others will be more aware of the seriousness of the problem.

“Domestic violence has no face,” said del Rosario. “If you were sitting next to me you would never say ‘oh, she was a victim of domestic violence.’ It’s a strong message that I send out to all women, that there is life and there is hope after domestic violence.”

“If you know someone that is in an abusive relationship, don’t be afraid to talk with them and tell them it’s not their fault and that you’re concerned about them,” said Espiritu. “If you are the one in an abusive relationship, don’t be afraid to get the help, because there are support groups out there that are willing to help you out of those situations that you don’t have to feel scared anymore.”

ALLICE put together a resource guide for all those suffering from domestic abuse. In this guide called the A-List users can find different resource providers throughout the Bay Area. This free pamphlet is found on their website at www.alicekumares.com.

You can contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.

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