PSA: Muslim women spared from violence

Cotabato City—Muslim women have had the least experience of all types of violence of “ever-married” females age 15 to 49, as compared with cases recorded of other Philippine regions.

In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, only 5.3 percent of ARMM’s women have experienced emotional violence; 2.3 percent physical violence and only 1.0 percent sexual violence, according to a survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The survey formed part of the PSA annual report for Calendar Year 2018 which ended last Dec. 31.

PSA Regional Director Abubakar S. Asaad Ph.D. noted that the ARMM figures are far behind other regions in the north with relatively low incidence of emotional, physical and sexual violence committed by husbands or partners.

For instance, Caraga Region in eastern Mindanao records the highest rate of violence against women with 44.7 percent emotional violence; 22.6 percent physical violence and 1.9 percent sexual violence.

Central Luzon is relatively the lowest in the north, but higher by more than 500 percent (than the ARMM figures)—with 11.9 percent cases of emotional violence; 8.5 percent physical violence; 3.7 percent sexual violence.

Put together, the ARMM has had only 0.6 percent incidence of combined physical and sexual abuse; 0.5 percent physical, sexual and emotional cases of abuse; 3.3 percent cases of either-emotional-or-physical abuses, and only 6.7 percent of all “either-or” cases of emotional, or physical or sexual violence.

Multiple-marriage of up to four wives which tradition conditionally allows on Muslim males may be “arguably” considered a factor of “emotional abuse.” But not many in the age bracket of 15-49 years old couples are into such practice in the ARMM, and so the region still posts a very low incidence of women suffering from emotional violence, a Muslim law expert said.

Males in Muslim families of multiple-marriage are mostly above 50 and so emotional hurt at this stage is often overcome by emotional maturity.

“Another factor is the protective character of the Muslim law and culture on female members of the family from grandparents down to great, great granddaughter. If the females get half of what the males are supposed to get, that does not mean a deprivation of the first. Rather, it affirms the tradition that bars women from spending their own provisions for the whole family. A female family member only has to exclusively spend for her own needs,” the Muslim law expert said on condition of anonymity for fear of being “misunderstood” on social media. 

The Muslim law on inheritance and on welfare of women and orphans (An-Nissa in the Qur’an) provides that the only daughter surviving her parents gets up to two-thirds of the hereditary estate. A group of siblings partake of the two-thirds share with the males (being the spender and protector) getting twice as much as their sisters get.

Region XII (Soccsksargen Region), composed South Cotabato and Cotabato Provinces, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City, also posted high incidence of violence against women with 23.6 percent emotional violence; 11 percent physical and 7.1 percent sexual violence

In ARMM also, only 37.5 percent of women age 15-49 know that consistent use of condoms is a means of preventing the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The PSA says the ARMM awareness rate is “very low” as compared to the national estimate of 66.2 percent. 

A total of 46 percent of women in the ARMM believe that limiting sexual intercourse to one faithful, uninfected partner can reduce the chance of contracting HIV. Only 32.8 percent of them know that both using condoms and limiting sexual intercourse to one uninfected partner are means of preventing HIV.

Caraga is followed by Zamboanga Peninsula with the second highest incidence of violence against ever married women (committed by husband or partner) — with 38.7 percent cases of emotional violence; 15.3 percent physical violence and 9.2 percent cases of sexual violence

Eastern Visayas has had 35.0 percent emotional violence cases; 22.6 percent incidence of physical violence and 8.9 percent cases of sexual violence.

Topics: Muslim women , Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao , Philippine Statistics Authority , sexual violence
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