Been visiting Mutya Power.
I just can't help praising the women working on this blog for their initiative in opening up the issue of Mail Order Brides for discussion.
The issue of the M.O.B. is something I find myself confronted with too. While a lot of Filipinas marry for love, there are an equally good number who do marry out of economical reasons.
I do understand about poverty and how the economic situation in the Philippines leads to this "kapit sa patalim" mentality. As one young girl told me, she came here with a man who was old enough to be her grandfather because she wasn't smart enough to land a job and it was her only way out of poverty. Later on, the grandfather type dumped her for a still younger version and she ended up in a relationship with a man who was closer to her chronological age. Her second man was rather bossy, but he did care for her in his way. It was quite a turbulent relationship and when her second husband passed away, she hopped on to the next relationship wagon.
There is another case, which involves a girl married to man who is old enough to be her father. This man - divorced from a Dutch woman - presented quite a docile face at first. This girl when I first met her was a vivacious figure. Once the marriage papers were signed, the man altered. We saw the other side of him.
A typical evening with them would involve him telling invited guests that his wife was worthless, that she was "bobo" (knew nothing/ uneducated ), that he could find a hundred pretty Filipinas to take her place.
Over time, I watched how this vivacious and energetic filipina transformed into a nervous wreck who jumped at the sound of his voice.
We tried to show her that this relationship was an abusive one, but she insisted that unless he hit her, she could not leave him. Her insistence on staying with him stemming from something he'd said about Filipinas marrying only for money and her belief that if she did separate from him, it would justify what he said.
I still struggle with cases like these, and when I encounter situations where I know economics is one of the issues, I can't help feeling so, so, so frustrated.
In a recent workshop given by Stichting Bayanihan ( a support group for Filipinas in the Netherlands ), one of the subjects raised was that of empowerment.
I wonder what a Rik person (as referred to in the Mutya Power blog)
would say if his Celine suddenly stood up, brandished a bolo and declared: "I am an empowered woman, Rik. I'm not the submissive you thought I was."