Republic Act 9262 penalizes “psychological violence” committed against a woman and/or her children by her intimate partner. Section 3 of RA 9262 provides:
“Psychological Violence” refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to:
 damage to property
 public ridicule or humiliation
 repeated verbal abuse
 marital infidelity
 causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of a family to which the victim belongs
 causing victim to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive injury to pets
 unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children.Effects of psychological or emotional abuse
Neil Jacobson and John Gottman in their study “When Men Batter Women” relate the insidious effects of psychological or emotional abuse as follows:
(1) “Emotional abuse is harder to live with than being beaten and it means something different to women when it occurs with physical abuse.”
(2) “Despite the pain and bruises inflicted by punching, kicking and worse mayhem, it is the scarring left by an emotionally abusive husband that is more likely to trigger a battered wife’s decision to leave her spouse.”
(3) “Emotional abuse is more oppressive, particularly when it is frequent. It can be present every day, every waking hour, 24 hours a day. What men are doing with emotional abuse is almost like mind control.”Cycle of violence: why do women get caught up in an abusive relationship?
The cycle of violence explains why women (even those who are well-educated and financially well-off) get caught up in an abusive relationship.
(1) For a detailed discussion of the cycle of violence, emotional abuse, power and control, etc. please surf to Domestic Violence and Abuse: Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships.
(2) You can read a simple discussion about the cycle of violence from the Queensland Police website.
(3) Patricia Evans’ book “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” published in 1996 is considered to be the most definitive resource on the topic of emotional abuse.
Warning signs of an emotionally abusive relationship
The Abusive Behavior Checklist enumerates signs that show if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship. “Getting Free: A Handbook for Women in Abusive Relationships” written by Ginny NiCarthy (Seal Press, 1982) also provides an emotional abuse checklist with more than 70 questions to measure whether or not a woman is being subjected to emotional abuse by her intimate partner. The checklist is divided into the following major sections:
A. Are you isolated?
B. Is your attention monopolized by the abusive person?
C. Does your partner claim to be all powerful?
D. Does your partner enforce trivial demands?
E. Are you exhausted, debilitated or dependent?
F. Do you feel humiliated or degraded?
G. Does your partner threaten you?
H. Does your partner occasionally indulge your wishes?
I. Does your partner do things that make you feel crazy?
J. Is your partner emotionally distant or neglectful?Some of the questions under the major sections cited above are:
Question 01. Does your partner ridicule or insult people you like?
Question 03. Does your partner become angry or upset, dampening your enthusiasm, just before, or during a social event you’ve looked forward to?
Question 07. Do you feel uneasy about being with your partner and your friends at the same time?
Question 08. Do you feel nervous or frightened of what your partner will say or do if you are even a few minutes late from work, shopping, the hairdresser, or visiting others?
Question18. Does your partner insist that activities take place in precise ways or at precisely designated times?
Question 69. Does your partner groan, complain or ridicule you, when you cry, worry, or ask for emotional support?
Question 75. Have you given up asking your partner for companionship?
Question 76. Have you stopped asking for empathy or emotional support?These and other numerous questions from the emotional abuse checklists listed above are meant to help emotionally abused women. The questions “flesh out” the enumeration of Section 3 of RA 9262 on what constitutes psychological violence.
Where to get help if you are being abused
For RA 9262 and other cases involving women, you can ask for help from the following:
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) Rehabilitation Unit Tel. No.: (02) 734-8635 NCR Ugnayang Pag-asa, Legarda, Manila Tel. Nos.: (02) 734-8617 to 18
Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children’s Concern Division (WCCD) Tel. No.: (02) 723-0401 loc. 3480 Call or text 117 (PATROL 117)
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Violence Against Women and Children’s Desk (VAWCD) Tel. Nos.: (02) 523-8231 loc. 3403
DOJ Public Attorney’s Office Women's Desk Tel. Nos.: (02) 929-9010; 929-9436 to 37
Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Women’s Desk Tel. Nos.: (02) 524-2990; 521-8450 loc. 3816
Women’s Crisis Center Women and Children Crisis Care & Protection Unit – East Avenue Medical Center (WCCCPU-EAMC) Tel. Nos.: (02) 926-7744; 922-5235Going through the emotional abuse checklist can really deplete your spirit. The questions in the checklist describe an uncouth, emotionally distant and verbally abusive man who demeans and ridicules his wife. How radically different is the picture painted by the Old Testament book of Song of Solomon, specifically in chapter 4, where the man by his words and actions cherishes and treasures his wife, as follows:
1. Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead. 2. Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. 3. Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks. 4. Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men. 5. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies. 6. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense. 7. Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee. 8. Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards. 9. Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. 10. How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! 11. Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. 12. A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. 13. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, 14. Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: 15. A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. 16. Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.