OFW victim of domestic abuse turns to Facebook to find abuser
MANILA, Philippines —Racedha Autor, a 29-year-old mother of two, welcomed the new year with burns and bruises on her face and arms. She was allegedly severely beaten and scalded on January 1, 2015, by her estranged husband Jilvinson Bandivas.
Autor has turned to Facebook to condemn Bandivas, who disappeared after the incident, asking the public for help in tracking him down.
Autor, who has been working as a health representative in Bahrain for two years, went home to the Philippines to spend Christmas with her children. Autor told Rappler she separated from her husband amicably before Christmas Eve after 9 years of marriage.
She agreed to meet Bandivas at his house on Thursday, January 1, to discuss the selling of their car. Autor, however, was taken inside the house and beaten.
She was allegedly locked in the house with the connivance of her brother-in-law. Her mother and children – who were waiting outside their house in a taxi – intervened and helped free Autor.
Autor reported the incident to the police on the same day, and is currently waiting for the release of her medical report.
Autor has not yet located her husband. He was last seen driving a white Toyota Vios with plate number UEI-209.
Autor is now worried about her children’s welfare and her job, as she has no immediate plans of returning to Bahrain to work. Her employer gave her until May to fly back to Bahrain; otherwise, her employment status remains uncertain.
“Sinira na niya buhay ng anak at mga apo ko (He destroyed my daughter's and grandchildren's lives),” said Mandia Egot, Autor’s mother. “Anak ko na nga lang nagtatrabaho, ganoon pa ginawa sa kanya (My daughter is the one working, and then that's what he does to her)."
Egot added that Bandivas does not help in supporting the children, and alleged that he is involved in the illegal gun trade.
Rappler is still trying to contact Bandivas to get his side of the story.
Violence against women
In domestic violence cases like Autor's, authorities advise victims to immediately inform local barangay officials of the incident.
“In cases of violence against women and children or VAWC, the first step is to file a blotter in the barangay,” said officer Judith Ablaza of the Pasig City Police. “The victim should also get a protection order, then a medical report.”
In Autor's case, the hospital informed her that her medical report will be ready in 7 days. Ablaza said it usually takes hospitals 3 to 5 working days to complete a report.
"I wish it were faster though," said Ablaza. In rape cases, however, she said hat initial reports are finished within the day.
The blotter, protection order, and medical report should then be brought to the women’s desk of the police station. The police will then get a statement from the victim, and will process the filing of a case before the court.
“Walang problema kung hindi mahanap ngayon si Bandivas; ‘pag na-file na ang kaso, hahanapin natin siya (There's no problem if Bandivas can’t be found now; once the case is filed, we’ll work on finding him," she said.
Autor's case is a classic story of domestic abuse, where the victims are more often than not women.
There are over 26,000 reported cases of violence against women and children (VAWC) nationwide as of December 2013, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). The number could be higher as some cases are unreported due to fears of reprisal or out of embarrasment.
Another problem facing victims of domestic abuse is the lack of support services to prosecute victims. The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) report that only 75% of all barangays have VAWC desks to attend to victims of abuse. The PCW, however, stressed that not all VAW desks are equipped to address the cases brought before them.
In spite of the law, there are still households that hold the darkest of secrets. Several women just like Autor are urging Filipinos – women and men alike – to step up and break the silence.
Four days since since the incident, Autor was able to open her eyes albeit painfully. "Naigagalaw ko na kamay at ulo ko nang may nakaalalay (I can already move my arms and head with assistance," she said.
Her doctor advised her to stay in the hospital for about a month. However, she will still have to face an indefinite amount of time recovering at home. – Rappler.com
If you know of any relevant information, you may contact the Autor family through Facebook or at 09301274139, 09199335308.