Opinion: Violence against teachers: A national crisis in silence

Violence Against Women (VAW) is any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.  These are forms of abuses:  Physical Violence is any physical action toward another person (pushing, hitting, whipping, throwing, slapping and spanking) that can produce bruises, broken homes and broken lives.  When another human being hits a person, it is demeaning, it is a message of worthlessness and the victim may think, “I’m not good:  hence, I deserve to be hit.”  It creates tremendous burden on the person’s ability to cope with life.  Emotional Violence is far more than the usual cursing, blaming, threatening and manipulating.  It is putting her down or making her feel bad about herself.  Its scars go as deep as physical wounds and actually take longer to heal.  This is not directly observable but can have long-lasting effects on the personality of the victim.  Verbal Abuse can become a prison, a humiliation and deprivation, conversations that tear down self-esteem; calling her names.  Economic Abuse is trying to keep her from getting or keeping a job; making her ask for money; giving her allowance; taking her money; controlling the financial aspects of the family.  Sexual Abuse is making her do sexual acts against her will; marital rape; forcing unwanted and sadistic sexual acts; treating her as a sex object; physically attacking the sexual parts of her body; making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks (source:womens_desk@yahoo.com).

Teachers are the unsung heroes of our nation.  Ever since, teachers are considered builders of professionals, because without them there can be no Engineers, Lawyers, Architects, Educators, Priests, CPA’S, Doctors, Nurses, Policemen, etc.  That’s why teachers are respected highly by the entire community.  People respect the authority in uniform at school.  Wherever there is a meeting to form an organization in the community or in the church during fiestas, the presence of teachers are well appreciated.  When election comes, teachers are the front lines to facilitate the votation for candidates from local to national elections.  Sometimes teachers neglect their own families just to give quality service to the school they are assigned to.  Even their own salaries intended for  their families are being sliced down just for their pupils to have a conducive environment for learning.

Teachers are facing so many DepEd orders to be strictly followed.  There are orders like “No Corporal Punishment”, “No Collection Policy” that if not followed, teachers will be facing administrative cases which can be a ground for dismissal and imprisonment.
Why is it that the laws and orders being implemented are all for the protection of the pupils and parents alone and on the other hand it’s all against the teachers?  Do teachers have no feelings?  Are teachers not human?  Many teachers of today are victimized.  School violence may be related to teacher victimization. All educators are at risk! How big is the problem?   According to a survey, each year, 253,100 (7%) teachers are threatened with injury. By school level 139,400 (55%) in secondary schools and 113,700 (45%) in elementary schools.  By gender- 78,500 (31%) are male teachers and 174,500 (69%) are female teachers.  Each year, 127,500 (3%) of teachers are physically attacked by students (National Survey in S/Y 2003-2004) not to include survey cases of teachers physically attacked by parents.

What about cases faced by the teachers during and after election period?  Receiving subpoena to appear nervously in the trial court and being interrogated by the lawyers on the manners of voting done in the precinct just to satisfy the complaint of a losing candidate.  Teachers are accused or judged of dishonesty.  There was an incidence that a teacher being interrogated was pregnant and because of nervousness her baby inside her womb became critical and almost had a miscarriage.  With these circumstances, teachers are violated emotionally.

There are still martyr teachers of today who are violated by their husbands.  Teachers suffer from physical, emotional, verbal, economic and sexual abuse from their husbands.  After a day’s very tiring work, when they come home,  the husband who is unemployed and engaged in many vices like drinking liquor, smoking, using illegal drugs or getting into relationships with other women, mistreats his exhausted wife.  There are teachers who become punching bags of their husbands when they are drunk. There are men who are very proud to marry a teacher not because of the dignity of her work, but of the monthly salary he will be receiving from her wife, being the cashier of his wife who is a teacher.  How pitiful those teachers  are to have this kind of life!  Fortunate are those teachers with responsible and loving husbands, who give moral support and comfort to the tired teacher at the end of the day.

It is really true that teachers are the unsung heroes.  Despite of the family problems she has, still she reports to the school to render her service as if no problem or trouble was encountered.
It’s now time for the government especially the Department of Education to give orders and laws solely for the protection and privileges of the teachers so that they are not victimized and violated in and out of the school premises.  Nowadays, more and more skillful and reliable teachers are leaving the country for two reasons: to seek greener pastures and to be free from threats of the pupils and the parents respectively.  But only a few of them fortunately land on educational institutions, because the majority of them end up as care givers, nannies, and house hold helpers.  Really, what a waste and  a shame it is!

There is a need to call the attention of our legislators.  We, all the teachers, are knocking at your doorsteps to wake you up, that the future of the teachers and educators that will hone your children is in your hands.  Let’s put the teachers on a pedestal where they are safeguarded, respected and in a stress-free environment.  So that we, the teachers and educators, can really focus and concentrate on executing our duties and obligations by giving a quality education to your children,  and honing them to become a great leader in the future, because we all believe, “Children of Today will be the Future of this Nation“.  Parents, accept the facts that no matter how serious and dedicated teachers of today to educate and prepare your children to be a good leader someday, but no cooperation from the parents by not allowing the teachers to discipline their children, all those teachers dedication, effort and sacrifices, will be futile.  Pupil, do understand these, that everyday, the primary concern of your teachers in school is to give you the proper educations to be able to journey the right path for you to reach your goal in life, to attain a good and abundant future. Throw away this detestation and replace them with great amity for your teachers by asking your parents to be truly compliant with your teachers for you to achieve your dreams into reality.  Teachers, Pupils, and Parents must whole heartedly collaborative with each other to make this world a better place to live in.

Let us congratulate and commend all the teachers for their dedication and commitment to their profession!  Long live the teachers!

by Genevieve O. Oh Pimentel
School Principa
Causip Elementary School
Bula, Camarines Sur

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