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Expanded anti-VAWC law sought to cover abused men, LGBTQIA people

A bill that eyes to amend Republic Act (RA) 9262, otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) Act, was filed, this time to also cover the male equivalent of battered and abused wives, as well as members of the LGBTQIA community.

Photo by Rainier Ridao from Unsplash.com

A bill that eyes to amend Republic Act (RA) 9262, otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) Act, was filed, this time to also cover the male equivalent of battered and abused wives, as well as members of the LGBTQIA community.

In filing House Bill (HB) 1365 or the “Expanded Violence Against Women, Partners, and their Children Act” (otherwise known as “Domestic Violence Act of 2022”), Davao-based Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Rep. Margarita Ignacia Nograles stressed that domestic abuse is not “an exclusive problem of women and children” since maltreatments may also be experienced by men and LGBTQIA community members.

To ensure the measure’s inclusiveness, HB 1365 aims to insert the term “partners” into the existing VAWC law’s Section 2 that enumerates individuals that should be protected under the law.

It similarly wants the word “partners” and the male pronoun “his” inserted into other provisions of the VAWC law, stipulating actions that constitute domestic violence and those subjected to physical and sexual violence.

Nograles’ measure also wants to include two representatives from the LGBTQIA community in the Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and Their Children (IAC-VAWC) that was established under R.A. 9262.

In the bill’s explanatory note, Nograles said that she hopes for her proposal to amend Republic Act No. 9262 and include men and the LGBTQIIA community in its mandate pass as she hopes to “put an end to the discrimination and domestic abuse and attain a more inclusive society where all human beings are born free and equal.” This is particularly since – even if society claims these other sectors are “included in every facet of the workplace, family, school, and social and political venues”, they may still be “far from reach” and this can lead to “their loss of dignity without the protection of federal legislation.”

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Not everyone is supportive of the proposal, however.

In a statement released by women’s group Gabriela Party-list, they stated that including men as possible victims of domestic violence “trivializes the fact that an overwhelming majority of victims of domestic violence are women.”

According to data from the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority, one in four Filipino women aged 15-49 has experienced physical, emotional, or sexual violence by their husband or partner. In fact, in 2020 alone, the number of cases of violence against women and children reported in the Philippines reached more than 11,000

And so for Gabriela, there is no need to pass such a bill to protect husbands from alleged abuse from their wives as they can easily file a case for physical injury.

“Domestic abuse is about power and control. Therefore, in an abusive relationship, only one person can be the aggressor. And to be called an abuser, you have to have the upper hand in terms of social and monetary capital,” the partylist stressed.

But Nograles, in a statement posted on her official Facebook page, defended her bill, saying that it “does not diminish the reality that women and children are domestically abused.”

“The Anti-VAWC law is a law existing and will still exist to protect women and children, the amendment simply makes this cater to all genders and gender preferences to remove, if not eradicate, domestic abuse being done to not only women and children, but now to include men and the LGBTQI+ community,” she said.

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