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WOMAN EMPOWERED

“She is not the woman who I used to know…who I got married to. She used to be so naïve, so submissive…who would hide to cry every time we had a spat… or a quarrel… She is so different now…”

Dora was trying to be detached as she related to Mila her conversation with Anthony lately.

She paid Mila, her best friend, a visit. They have not seen each other for quite sometime.

Mila understands the distance Dora was trying to keep. Dora is Mila and Anthony’s common best friend, and Dora is Anthony’s subordinate…. and Anthony is Mila’s estranged husband.

It seems only yesterday when Dora and Bert (Dora’s husband) Mila, and Anthony were young couples. The four of them used to work for same office. Back then, on most weekends and holidays, the couples would while away their time going to the beach, or shopping or just eating out.

“How have you been Mil?,” Dora asked.

“I am a fine, trying to move on…”

Dora knows Anthony very well… how he would play around with other women, some their own officemates. Every now and then, Dora would feed Mila some reports, about Anthony, careful that Anthony would not know about it.

One day, Dora was surprised to know of Mila’s decision to separate from Anthony. Mila says she could not take anymore the philandering ways of the man she vowed to grow old with, “till death do us part…”

“Anthony chided me for taking your side. He says I should support him…”

“That I understand, Dora….and I appreciate that somehow you took the time to visit me. How is Anthony, by the way?”

“Well, he is trying to be fine… but sounds bitter every time we would touch about the separation. He says you have changed, a lot. He could not believe that you had the courage to decide on the separation. He could not understand what has become you. He said that you have become so empowered…”

Mila could not hide her smile… as she listened to Dora’s statement, and deep inside her, she was reflecting. “Me, empowered? I did not know that…”

What Mila knows is that she could not take anymore the philandering ways of the father of her kids. He has mistresses… not one, not two… not three, but God knows how many!!! And he is not content of having illicit relationship with his lady officemates (they be single or married like him) and he would stretch to his co-teachers, or even his own students.

Once, while on their way home, riding in their family motorcycle, Anthony almost ditched Tess on the road pavement. They were having verbal altercation over his other woman. The quarrel scene was normal one, not only in the confines of their home, but even when they are in public places, or in his office. Sometimes, he would barged in in her office and point fingers at her. Mila could only cower in embarrassment, and wish she can evaporate in an instant.

“Mama, why do you have to continue living with Papa? Leave him!!! You know you have been a very good woman….and very good mother to us. You have achieved so much in you work, and you continue to be so loving and caring to us. Mama, be kind to yourself… give yourself that dignity… leave Papa!!!” It was a text message from Jay, her second son who was only 14 years old then…

Jay’s words came as a wake-up call for her. She has been waiting to hear it from her kids. For many years, her marriage was already on the rocks, but just the thought of separation gave her shivers. What would her kids think of her? What would her family react once they know about the separation? Will she be able to handle the social stigma?

What Mila did not know was that, even if she was trying to spare the kids from knowing the marital problem, the kids knew.

“Dora, If I have changed, it’s also because of Anthony. Please tell him that. Please tell him, too, not worry about the kids. I will continue to be a good mother to our kids… that’s my promise. I have to be stronger..for my kids, for myself, or else I would become crazy…”

It’s been almost ten years since that conversation with Dora. Mila’s two older kids are now college graduates and work for multi-national companies as computer programmers/systems administrator.

Mila continues to reap national awards as development journalist and broadcaster, has travelled to many countries, have presented papers in several international conferences and symposia.

What Mila is very thankful for is the emotional freedom from the man who did not deserve her love and care. Most of all, she is free to do what she wants to do with her life, free to share of herself to people as part of her service to mankind, using her God-given talents and skills.

She has no complains…she is happy… and she feels fulfilled.

“Had I known that life would be so happy and fulfilling as it is now, I could have decided on a separation many years ago,” she muted.

“No, everything has the right time…many years ago was not ripe then…,” and she smiled.

And yes, she does not rule out the possibility that someday she will find another love, a man who deserves her love and care. # (Tess Superioridad Baluyos)

Comments

Vasantha's picture

East or West..

Dear Eureka,
Nice story. By the way is it just a story or a real life incidence?
That actually reminds me of a friend of mine, whose mother underwent such torture and bore with it until all the three children of her became adults. she then decided to break up. the children who have seen her suffering all along supported her. the man, for the first time, realised that it is one against four in the decision: there was no one in the family supporting him or justifying his behaviour all along.
If it is ok to write stories of other people's life, I would like to send some too. But I would like to know from the Moderator whether it is Ok.
In solidarity,
R. Vasantha

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Posting stories...

Hi there,

It is better to post stories like these to your personal journals. This particular group is reserved for issues relating directly to the Voices of Our Future application.

Thank you for posting your stories!

Rachael

"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

Eurekafilipina's picture

East or West

Hello R. Vasantha,

thanks, for your comments. in time, you would know....and i just learned that stories like these are not being encouraged in here. And i appreciate the moderator's 'alert'...

Eureka

Eureka!!!

Vasantha's picture

Sharing is importnat

Hi Eureka,
Actually we, some of us can think of putting together of such 'her stories' which can be useful for other women who grope in darkness. Think of it, of course , for the time being, out side of World Pulse.
Regards,
R. Vasantha

Eurekafilipina's picture

hello rachel, thanks, for

hello rachel,

thanks, for your note... and i am sorry that somehow i got wayward in posting a story fit for personal journal. honestly, i am still trying to get a hang of this site...

again, i am sorry, rachel... and thanks for your suggestion....

tess

Eureka!!!

Vasantha's picture

Missed a chance

I feel that we are close to each other in understanding and empathising with the voiceless women.
I should have known that you were in Bangalore. I am living in outskirts of Chennai city and it takes about 5-6 hours by road to reach here from Banglaore. In fact, much much closer that Delhi.
If we knew each other earlier, I would have made sure that you come down to my place.
Anyway better luck next time, as they say.
Take care.
In Soldiarity,
Vasantha

Eurekafilipina's picture

Missed a chance

dear vasantha,

yes, i could feel the 'connection' between us, too. i could see your passion, your desire to give voice to the voiceless, especially those who were silenced-- either due to gender, race, and many other prejudices and biases. It's not too late, it's not... we just have to start the 'fight' and hasten the realization of the millennium development goals. each of us has that power to make a difference.

well, vasantha, there is always a next time. my bangalore trip was rather tight... and the more that i feel i should go back there, to really enjoy and savor the culture and the many beautiful things India offers to the world.

my wish to drop by delhi is for me to personally see the Lotus Temple.... it will happen soon... i can see that... and who knows, it would also be our chance to see each other. nothing is impossible!!! :-)

Tess

Eureka!!!

Vasantha's picture

Nothing Impossible

It is true: Nothing Impossible.
Yes. Lotus temple is a wonderful creation.
Something equally wonderful, but not necssarily so wonderful in the "matri mandir'" in Auroville, Pondicherry. Since you seem to love architecture like me, I thought that I should suggest that to you.
This is to draw your attention towards south so that I can get a chance to spend some time with you.
Take care.
In solidarity,
Vasantha

Eurekafilipina's picture

Nothing Impossible

thank you so much, for the suggestions... i am taking note of those places... and someday, i will see them.

much more, this early, i thank you for the prospect of us both, enjoying the time with each other. thank you, vasantha!

by the way, please tell what occupies you the most nowadays? what challenges and fulfillment you have derived from your life the past months? i have read your profile and i could not help but be in awe, at how far you have gone, serving people, especially women. i wish i would also be given that opportunity... to be of wider service to mankind.

take care,

tess

Eureka!!!

Vasantha's picture

Fighting Domestic Violence

There are many more things that you would see once you are here: I will keep telling about them some by some.
As fr what occupies me: in my work among the fisher community women, I am trying to organise them get a space in the decision making regarding the village. In each of the traditional fisher community villages, there is a committee to administer. This committee has only one year as it's life. Each clan (group of families) will nominate one person to the committee. In case if the committee is found incapable or corrupt even within the year, the villagers will call for a special meeting where new members for the committee will be proposed.
It is highest form of democracy. However the committee is based on profession: fishing. And so it is totally male represented. The men are unwilling to all the women to be part of the committee. Therefore we are trying to orgainse discussion among the men and women of each village to see whether women can be allowed to be members of the committee. In some villages the consent is reached, but many are yet to reach.
What takes my time most involuntarily is the cases domestic violence to our women. You may know that dowry system is still very prevelant and becoming strong. The more the bridegroom educated the more dowry expected from the bride's family. And if the bride is well educated and well placed in job, it does not excuse her from giving dowry. And then in many cases, the women are asked for more: a car for the groom, money to start some business and the like. And if she refuses to pester her people, then she is tortured and even killed. Our campaigns have made the government come up with a law that if a woman dies within 7 years of her marriage, then a district higher official should investigate to find out whether it is a dowry killing. Some of these officials try to use it as a means to make some money. Two days ago, a death was reported to me. I went to the villages learnt about the circumstances and went with the women leaders and met this officer concerned. He promised that the investigation will be impartial. We made a remark saying that we know for certain that it is a dowry killing and if his report does not reflect it then we will have to prove it in the court as a private case. If we do so and if the judge accepts that it is a dowry killing, then this officer who investigated will be punished.
Now this is only one example. I said that because it is the latest. There are hundreds of such cases I have taken up along with our village women leaders. When you come, you should spend at least one half day to interact with them. You will see the vibrancy that goes beyond words.
In Solidarity.
Vasantha

Eurekafilipina's picture

Fighting Domestic Violence

Dear Vasantha,

reading what you have shared with me enveloped me with mixed feelings. I could not simply believe such things happen in this world. I know India is into a unique culture, but hearing it direct from you puts me in disbelief, that even at this time, amidst the technology advances, the higher education, such thing still exists.

you are such a gift to your people, vasantha, to be doing something to fight violence against women. keep it up!!!! you are making a difference in this world...

someday, with your constant inspiration, I, too, can do a higher level of empowering women.

take care,

Tess

Eureka!!!

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