A visit

By May 14, 2023G Spot

By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo


IT was just another one of the regular visits. After six months, he was no longer crying like a lost child. He is becoming more and more, relaxed, forgiving of those who wronged him. After a while, he was used to the uncertainty of his lot, took in much of the pain, beginning to sound more like the person tamed into submission.

Pain has a way of steeling a person, or making him numb. It has a way of steering itself into action, good or bad, or worse, inaction, a kind of acceptance of the unchangeability of a given.

I have seen this happen in most battered women, much worse, as they seem to progress in inflicting pain upon themselves, over and over again, after being assisted by women’s groups. Most go back to their partners, content with a justification that it is for the sake of the children, even when, ironically, the children are the ones who plead with them to just end the wretched relationship.

There exists a prison in the mind, much worse than the real one. The real one exacerbates its existence, or cements it, giving the illusion of its extreme power over the individual to act, and grasp a different reality. It takes time, a lot of dedication, for those who care, to see change.

The Women in Development (WID) Foundation had some success in assisting battered women go through the challenge of freeing themselves from the perceived impossibility of a new life. In Pangasinan, for example, Armi Bangsal Lorica, then Provincial Coordinator for Women, had to make regular visits to counsel several families, including teaching wives to engage in micro-enterprise projects to gain some financial independence, until it was no longer physically possible for her to do so. The work is often frustrating, and success is difficult to come by. In fact, two other WID Trustees, psychologist Mildred Yamzon and Teresita de Venecia, who dedicated their lives to this endeavor, have passed on from this life, and the women they assisted had either already perished from the violence or worse, chose to stay, “for the sake of the children” who had already left and carried on their own lives.

Do men, experiencing oppression, go through the same pattern? Maybe, that takes immersion and thorough study of situations where men, especially teenagers, out-of-school youth, are most vulnerable. It can be complicated as the kind of oppression are not similar to the prevalent oppression among women.

Painful experiences, more than happy ones, leave an indelible mark. They leave a scar, a scar that has the ability to resurrect itself into a fresh wound, and bleed for a long time. 


the tree eats, slowly,
a face, nailed to its trunk
healing the pain
borne over the years
grafted to the bark
her scar, a monument
of human indifference

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