Friday, August 8, 2008

Disempowering the Disempowered

8.08.08 was supposed to be a 'great' day. Not in our case. I attended to the needs of a young woman who was battered by an uncle. We went to the Infirmary hoping that she could access free medical services to support her case. Nope! every step of the way, we have to pay a corresponding sum. Even for a single mefanamic medicines which have been given for free has to paid! The worst came when we have to ask for a medico-legal certificate from a "national" something hospital. Guess what? The woman has to be exposed once again to an x-ray which she has just recently underwent an hour ago because the present doctor cannot "read" the x-ray film of the first health unit. I did not accede to that request because the woman is breastfeeding her child. As a hindsight, I was thinking what could have been the proper time "empowering" interventions should have been done. The woman told me that their barangay captain even requested her to deny that her abuser was present or can still be found in the area so they can have some sum from the congresswoman. Another incident of dis-empowerment was when a female doctor even asked: "nakipagbugbugan ka ba?" Whew! i coould almost feel my tears rolling down for this woman. How can this insensitivity abound in places where they are supposed to heal and cure patients? The last incident was when we asked once again from a national hospital for the same medico-legal certificate. The female doctor also proudly said: we cannot possibly give you that because it was almost a week since the incident. That was my breaking I told the woman, "we better find another option..." As i was riding on a jeep, I cannot contain anymore my tears. I thought these women mustered their courage and overcame their poverty and everything just to say "I was abused!" but nobody wants to give her a single piece of paper which she can possibly hold on to file a case against her abuser. What about those who were abused way back several years and only now that they have come out to say they were abused? How can they access justice and healing? Yes, my heart still pulsates...I know I have a very long journey to walk or run perhaps to be able to change this kind of thinking...

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