The promotion of women’s rights is not anti-men in as much as the abuse against women is not the right of men. In our modern society, abuse is abuse. It should not be condoned and must be condemned or curtailed at every opportunity. All kinds of abuse is not compatible with modern society. In the continuous struggle or fight to eradicate any form of abuse, there are those who laid down their reputation, wealth, time, and even their lives, whether consciously or not, in order to raise awareness or institute much needed reform in our society. There is an unverified social media post that Marivic Genosa passed away. Who is she? She is well known among lawyers as the reason why there is such a concept as “Battered Woman Syndrome”. If it is true that she already passed away, this is a tribute to her struggle. Because of Genosa’s case, a woman suffering the syndrome will be excused from any criminal liability if she kills her husband. This is an innovation in our criminal law which was recognised by the Supreme Court in the case of People of the Philippines vs. Genosa (G.R. No. 135981, January 15, 2004).
People vs. Genosa
Marivic killed her husband who often physically abused her. She was found guilty by the trial court, but on appeal she prayed that she be acquitted since the killing was due to the fact that she was a battered woman. She is raising the fact that she was battered as a defence for the very first time in the country’s history. Aside from the grounds stated in our Revised Penal Code, Genosa would like to add another justifying or excepting circumstance. This is unprecedented. The legislature that promulgated the Revised Penal Code never considered this instance. Understandably, the law was enacted during a time when women’s rights was not an issue. Although the Supreme Court was convinced with the argument of Genosa through her lawyer Atty. Katrina Legarda, it could not do anything but to uphold the law and the guilty verdict since there is yet no law making the syndrome a valid justifying circumstance. The Court cannot legislate.
Battered Woman Syndrome as a Defence
The SC said: “The A battered woman has been defined as a woman who is repeatedly subjected to any forceful physical or psychological behavior by a man in order to coerce her to do something he wants her to do without concern for her rights. Battered women include wives or women in any form of intimate relationship with men. Furthermore, in order to be classified as a battered woman, the couple must go through the battering cycle at least twice. Any woman may find herself in an abusive relationship with a man once. If it occurs a second time, and she remains in the situation, she is defined as a battered woman. Battered women exhibit common personality traits, such as low self-esteem, traditional beliefs about the home, the family and the female sex role; emotional dependence upon the dominant male; the tendency to accept responsibility for the batterers actions; and false hopes that the relationship will improve. More graphically, the battered woman syndrome is characterized by the so-called cycle of violence, which has three phases: (1) the tension-building phase; (2) the acute battering incident; and (3) the tranquil, loving (or, at least, nonviolent) phase.” For the defence to be valid these must be present “First, each of the phases of the cycle of violence must be proven to have characterized at least two battering episodes between the appellant and her intimate partner. Second, the final acute battering episode preceding the killing of the batterer must have produced in the battered persons mind an actual fear of an imminent harm from her batterer and an honest belief that she needed to use force in order to save her life. Third, at the time of the killing, the batterer must have posed probable — not necessarily immediate and actual — grave harm to the accused, based on the history of violence perpetrated by the former against the latter.