Psychologist: Chavit's ex-lover may have 'battered wife syndrome'

>> Monday, September 7, 2009

A lot of abused women can relate to this story. Obviously, Che was abused who perhaps never had the chance to move on because she may have the "battered wife syndrome". Dr. Montes gave a crystal clear of what Che might have gone through.

MANILA - The story of National Security Adviser Luis "Chavit" Singson and his common-law-wife Rachel "Che" Tiongson could be a classic case of abuse, according to a Filipino psychologist.
Dr. Jovita Mantaro Montes, health services director of women's advocacy group GABRIELA, said Tiongson may be suffering from a psychological condition called "battered wife syndrome" that results from prolonged mental and emotional abuse.
Tiongson recently made headlines when she accused Singson of lashing her with a whip and beating her up after he caught her with another man.
She said that she and Singson have been separated since November last year, a claim that Singson later denied.
Singson alleged in a previous interview that he caught Tiongson having sex with her boyfriend, Richard Catral, inside her apartment but denied that he hurt them as a result.

Good start, rocky ending
Tiongson said in an interview with ABS-CBN's Ces Drilon that the lashing incident followed years of emotional and mental abuse she suffered under Singson.
As his common-law-wife, she said she was kept under a tight leash and was reportedly under surveillance even after their alleged separation.
"Hindi na naging normal ang life ko. Takot na takot ako, nagtatago ako. After pa noong, noong nangyari (lashing), parang ako pa iyong nagtatago. How many days talaga ako bago lumabas (with the charges), kasi pinag-isipan ko talaga," she said.
Tiongson said she met Singson, who was then a congressman, when she was a freshman in college.
Tiongson, who described herself as a simple provincial lass then, said she fell in love with the politician.
"At that time, pinakita niya sa akin ang pagiging gentleman niya, generous at thoughtful. Iyong nagpapadala ng bulaklak, mga ganoon. Niligawan naman niya talaga ako. Humarap pa siya sa family ko sa [General Santos City]," she said.

After the pair shacked up together and had their first baby, Singson reportedly asked Tiongson to stop school so she could focus on their family.
He also assured Tiongson that he would marry her someday. The pair have been together for almost 17 years and have 5 children together.
Tiongson said the romance started fizzling out when Singson became preoccupied with other, much younger women.
She said Singson would also treat her badly, as when he would use her for sex, or when he would ask for receipts whenever she would spend money he gave her.
"Nasanay na ako sa ganoon, basta pag inaabutan niya ako (ng pera), masaya na ako. Nasanay ako na dependent ako. Lumiliit na rin iyong tingin ko sa sarili ko kasi ang pakiramdam ko, parang hindi na ako asawa," she said.
"Very influential siya eh, sino lang ako? Iniisip ko kung gusto kong umalis na, anong gagawin ko? Wala akong bahay, wala akong ipon, wala akong (property) na sabihin ko na akin," she added.

Telltale signs
Dr. Montes said that Tiongson's case may be a classic case of "battered wife syndrome." She said that women with this condition tend to think of their partners as "saviors" who will help them rise from poverty.
In fact, one of the main reasons that women stay with their abusive partners is because of economic dependency.
This is more common among women who have never held a job or who never graduated from college.
"A big part of battered wife syndrome is the capacity of the partner to provide for the family, pay for children's education, and give a comfortable life to the family. This is why it's not that easy to leave, even if they are not married," Montes said in Filipino.
Women who partner up with prominent figures also fear that they will hurt them or their children. In some cases, the abused partner loses self-esteem and fears the uncertainty of starting a life without the financial assistance of their partner.
"Sometimes they prefer the certainty of being beaten," she said.
Montes said it is natural for women to take up boyfriends even after they escape from an abusive relationship.
This is because women feel vulnerable and tend to look for admiration from other men in order to regain their self-esteem.

Domestic violence cases on the rise
Montes added that violence can also become a cycle in the relationship. When the abusive partner repeatedly shows remorse for his or her actions, the woman may think that it is alright to be physically abused because their partner seems sorry for what he had done.
The woman also hopes in vain that their abusive partner will change.
According to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) studies, there were 1,944 reported cases of domestic violence in 2008. This is higher than the 1,701 reported cases in 2007.
Philippine National Police Women's Desk data, meanwhile, lists 4,981 domestic violence cases in 2008 compared to 3,963 cases in 2007.
The agency's data revealed that 22% of these cases occured in the National Capital Region, followed by Davao.
Montes said the cases will stop growing if women learn how to overcome their fear and leave their abusive partners.
She said these battered wives or partners must realize that they have a right to live a life of their own, if they want it.
Tiongson recently filed a complaint before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court against Singson for allegedly violating the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Law. Penalties under the law include imprisonment and fines of up to P300,000. Report by Sheryll Mundo, ABS-CBN News.


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