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Child Abuse (Abuso) in the Philippines

A Story about My Uncle

Let me tell you my story about my uncle when I lived in his house when I was nine years old. A long time ago I wrote about how he was very mean to me. Now I will tell how the story.

When I was nine, my father became very sick with tuberculosis. He had to make the hard trip to Manila to go to hospital, 20 hours on the bus. So all  my bros and sisters had to live somewhere else.

I went to live with my aunt and uncle. She is my mother's sister. They have one of the bigger houses in our barrio, and the only house with a real CR (toilet). I went to live there with my little bro Arnel who was only nine months old.

I had to do all the cleaning and cooking and also watch Arnel. He cried all the time, and many times I cried too. I just wished so much he could be quiet, but that's how babies act.

My uncle really hated the noise when my bro was crying. One day, I was cooking and my uncle came home. He told me to make my bro stop crying. I said only "sendali lang po" (wait a minute please). This is what we always say when we ask someone to wait with respect.

My uncle hit me hard across the face when I said this. My nose was bleeding and there was also blood in my mouth. I told him I was only trying to finish cooking. I only have one body, I said. You know, same thing when people say they only have two hands. Then he hit me again.

My uncle hit all of his children. My aunt was very scared of him too.

That night when I went to sleep I wondered how much more of this life I wanted. This was not a life that I could live. So I moved to the bundok (mountain) with my older bros and sis and younger bro. We were poor like rats. But my older bros got food from the trees and fish from the ocean. And of course they never hit me.

Even today my bros can make me a little crazy because they tease me so much and make me angry. But they are real family and I can never forget how strong they were back then. You know, they were only about 11 or 12 years old then.

Even today I will never forgive my uncle. When I go back home to my village I will not speak to him. One time he wanted to borrow money because he knows that I make money there in Pampanga where I live. But I refuse to loan him even one peso.

We are taught in the Philippines to respect our family members and to not be bastos, or rude. But I have learned the worst words in the English language, and I really want to use those words against my uncle. It is God's responsibility to forgive him, not my responsibility.

I know that child abuse happens all over the world. So I don't say it is only in the Philippines. But there is no excuse for a man to hit a child like that. I hope someday my uncle learns that and understands what a bad thing he did to a girl who was working very hard and was only nine years old.

My father is still alive but he is not strong because of his lungs. He cannot work much and many times he is very unhappy about this. I bought a little boat for him so that he can fish and sail over to other villages.

I fight with him all the time lol but this is different. We are always arguing but he would never think to hit me. People always tell me that I am like a female version of papa. We don't like to fight, but we are not scared to fight.

My father is never scared of anything. I am so happy that he is my father and that my uncle is not!

More Stories By Inday Vinyas

Inday Vinas grew up in Samar Province, Philippines. She left high school after three years to work and help her family, including seven brothers and sisters. She is now a writer and small businessperson.