The Heart of a Mother and the Howl of a Woman
On October 15 a Filipino woman named Maria Theresa Carlson would have been 43 years old. Nine years ago on her 34th birthday she gave birth to her sixth child and 39 days after she plunged to her death from the 23rd floor of her apartment building. This ended her life of abuse, torture, humiliation, battery and emotional distress from a man whom she trusted, loved and was married to since she was 19 years old. Three years after her death, on March 8, 2004 on International Women’s Day, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed the Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act or RA 9262. This law could have saved Maria Theresa Carlson’s life.
She married a politician at a very young age, left a promising career and chose to be a mother and housewife. Six years before her death, she was already seeking for help. She would pass notes to women leaders, call women organizations, she would leave her husband, seek protection but it will always end up with her going back to her abuser’s arms and denying everything, including her cry and clamor for freedom. She did recognize her rights, but she succumbed to just taking her own life instead of fighting for it.
I have not heard or read anything about her abuser to this day. I guess he was never brought to court and made responsible. Maria Theresa Carlson still remains a victim for me. How many women are being tortured right now? How many are plunging to their deaths because they find no hope and no way to get out of such torment. How many women or children would choose not to say anything and hope that the violence and abuse will just go away?
I think about my children. I think about their protection and their rights. I tell my sons that no man should hit a woman. No man should ever abuse his partner or his wife. And for my daughters, they must never tolerate any form of abuse. My children must live a life without fear and with great resilience. When I left eleven years ago, my children were too young to understand that it took me 8 years to gather strength and leave an abusive relationship. I left for their sake.
If I stayed, I would be broken into a million pieces and my dignity shattered (and the abuse will still go on). My children will still lose their mother even if I am physically with them. I would just submit into deep depression and lose my mind. So I left and never looked back except for the one promise I gave all my five kids that we will all be together soon.
My twin daughters are with me now; it took me ten years to get them. We are struggling to know each other. I would still need to petition my three other children. My daughter Jayne, she is still in Manila without her sisters and me and it is killing me everyday. My sons Jino and Jiego are growing up to be young men with the hope that they will be respectful and recognize the rights of women.
World Pulse gave me the courage to speak. A month ago I thought this was just a passive community of women. I was wrong. I feel that I can now howl and say the things that I wanted to be heard of. Wolves howl for so many reasons, one of which is to let others join the pack. I am so blessed to have known all these wonderful women. (I wish I have heard the howling so many years ago). I see no color, race, age or status I only feel that you are all my soul sisters and that I have so much will to fight for my children. I have HOPE. The beat of World Pulse lives within me and I am asking my children and my friends to be one in that beat. Today, I am a part of a great and powerful journey and I encourage more to join and write, speak, act, sing and dance towards a dignified humanity.