Sunday, August 31, 2014

Of shame and violence against women

When one see stories about women getting battered in the news, you kind of feel like the problem is far from you, like it isn't something you need to worry about. There are so many victims who've been getting hit for years yet choose to stay silent in order to keep the peace, to keep their family together. I think lowly of them; "Why wouldn't you speak up if there's a problem?" those are my thoughts. Until I realized just recently, after getting assaulted yet again, that I'm just the same as those women who have been suffering through the violence. I've rationalized away the things that have happened and are still happening to me. I tell myself, it's not that bad, right? I mean it was just a push or a shove. Or it was just a one time thing.

It's much harder to admit the problem when the one who has been raising his hand against you is within your own home and family. The first time it happened was when we were teens. I, being such a headstrong person since I was young, fought back to said person by telling him I need to use the computer and I don't always have to adjust to his time. That was the first time he struck me across the face with a towel. I ran and locked myself in a room because he was raging outside and might hurt me further. I called my relatives over because I was afraid. The relatives came and took me away, but they kept telling me about how I should not have angered said person. I should not have answered back.

 Years later, I am in college. In Ateneo they teach us to speak up, fight back and stuff, which I may have taken to another level, getting into arguments with my titos and titas here and there. Said person, since then, has established in me how everyone can't stand my pride and should learn to listen. I argue with him about this on several occasions. On one of these occasions, he rages and hits me again by throwing things (not really heavy things, more of like stacks of paper or a book), telling me I've become like my father. I never tell anyone about this. So it became clear to me that his tendency toward violence has not gone away. During the last five years, I've been working in and out of companies. To which said person's gripe is that I complain too much and have too much pride (much of which is true), thus, I need to learn how to just accept things and work hard. He said I am becoming like a typical Atenean who thinks the world owes me something. Of course I still have something to say to those things as well, being the argumentative person that I am. But some two and a half years back, he lost his temper again and slapped my jaw with the back of his fist, which became the turning point for me to start learning Muay Thai in order to defend myself next time such a thing happens.

The funny thing is, said person conferred to me that he has been shouting at his now ex-girlfriend, the way he has been shouting at me. I warned him that it's not just that which he'll end up doing to future relationships. He will hit them, too, the way he hit me. He said he doesn't remember doing such a thing to me. In any case, what could have prepared me for last night? I always thought that as long as my mom is around then he will not raise his hand against me. But he did. He pushed/shoved me while I was preparing for bed because I was not agreeing to his words; he even punched a hole in our door. What is that? Was that supposed to be my skull?

Why am I posting this in public? Because the few times I spoke out about this, I've been told by family that I must have done something to anger said person. I have a way of speaking that is too mayabang and mahangin, that's why I have been treated this way. This means I have no protection. Who can stand a headstrong woman, after all? Am I even a woman? Probably not--there have been too many times when I' ve been told "para kang hindi babae" by family.

Believe me, I try to be more womanly by learning to cook and clean and stuff, but my argumentative side has been so stubborn, it makes me wonder if it's even possible to kill it at all. Will I be disowned after posting this? Will I shame myself like some Deniece Cornejo (not that I believe her statements)? Whatever will happen to me after posting this, I am putting this out there just in case something does happen to me (because it's that bad right now and I'm receiving angry texts even at the moment because someone actually did something to defend me without my permission).
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