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The Act That Backs You Against Domestic Violence

Yes, there's a law that says no one has the right to abuse you or any woman. Chavit Singson ought to take heed.

Che Tiongson, Chavit Singson's common-law wife, filed a case against him for violating Republic Act 9262 when he beat her up. What does the law that the former Ilocos Sur Governor and Deputy National Security Adviser is accused of breaking actually state?

"The Anti-Violence Against Women And Their Children Act of 2004 or the VAWC applies not only to women who are married. It also applies to women who are living with their partners or in a dating or sexual relationship," explains Atty. Amparita Sta. Maria of the Ateneo Human Rights Center.

Prior to R.A. 9262 being enacted, it was already possible to file charges for physical abuse under the Revised Penal Code. "But [filing under the Revised Penal Code] was gender blind. It doesn't capture the abuse within the relationship," Sta. Maria explains. Then, when the essence of abuse isn't captured, there is a tendency to ignore the underlying issue. "And law enforcers were hesitant to intervene since it was something domestic. But now, we have a law that gives [other people] the right to intrude and the law also says that there's nothing domestic about violence. Now, we can address the abuse against women and their children within the context of family or a dating relationship."

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