Article published in Göteborgsposten
By Purple Romero
The Philippines. The first time Jona’s husband hit her they had been married for eleven years. Soon the abuse became a routine, and when he started hitting the children too Jona chose to escape. But she is still married to him – the Philippines is one of only two countries in the world that does not allow divorces.
-I feel like a prisoner in this marriage, says Jona. I want to get a divorce but I can’t, as it’s not allowed. They say that matrimony is holy, but don’t they care about those of us who are suffering?
The resistance comes mainly from the catholic church, which has considerable power over public opinion.The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) have tirelessly opposed the attempts of legalising divorce, as they believe it would be “against family and against matrimony”. All attempts have either failed or fizzled out as the legislators don’t want to lose the support of the influential catholic bishops.
-The church doesn’t want a law that allows divorce, but it shouldn’t make any difference as the state and the church are separated in the Philippine constitution, says Melody alan, general secretary of the organisation Divorce Advocates of the Philippines (DAP).
DAP are fighting for a legislation that would allow divorce. 70% of the 10 000 members are women, many with similar experiences to Jona. Melody Alan believes that it is a topic that especially engages women, as many are often the victims of abuse and assault within the context of marriage.
Article published in Göteborgsposten, 8/3-2018. Full article (in Swedish) here: http://www.gp.se/nyheter/v%C3%A4rlden/h%C3%A4r-k%C3%A4mpar-kvinnor-f%C3%B6r-att-f%C3%A5-skilja-sig-1.5337502