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Family Problems / Family Violence: Disrupted and Reconstituted Families

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Family as defined is the basic social unit which exists in all societies. It provides important support for the individual in society. That it caters for the physical, effective and emotional needs of the individual. That expectedly it provides the individual with social and educational support. The family is also responsible for rearing and protecting children. It is the basic unit of socialization and cultural transmission, since children acquire their fundamental values and attitudes from their families. Indeed, it is the social cell in which human beings are born, and where they learn to become members of a wider human society.

However, the family is also where many interpersonal conflicts occur, problems develop, and individuals suffer. All families have difficulties from time to time. Some families have resources to solve their problems while others do not. When a family is no longer able to deal with its problems, and cannot provide the basic physical, security, effective and emotional needs of its members, we call this kind of family ‘dysfunctional’. Where disrupted and reconstituted families are discussed and there are many reasons why a family becomes disrupted or reconstituted. Among others, they are alcoholism, drug addiction, physical illness, death, war, poverty, unemployment, mental illness, spouse abuse, child abuse, divorce and separation, and polygamy.

This paper aims at cultivating our knowledge and understanding of the basic concepts related to family life. That as we discuss the importance of the family, we also note the problems that may prevent the successful functioning of the family locally and globally.

* Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place. * The 1973 Constitution, mentions that the State “shall strengthen the family as a basic social institution.” * Is the oldest form of institution in the history of mankind. It plays a significant role in the personality development and socialization of the child at different developmental stages. * Fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.


1. Nuclear Family – is made up of the father, mother and children living together under one roof. 2. Extended family is made up of all members of a nuclear family, plus the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and/or cousins, all living together as one family.


Polygamous Family- In some parts of the world, such as in Muslim countries and some African countries, men are allowed to have more than one wife. 2. Single-Parent Family – Is headed by one parent, usually the mother. 3. Step Family – Also known as a reconstituted or blended family. 4. Adoptive Family – Some children are adopted by their relatives. 5. Foster Family – Some children are placed with foster families because they do not have a family of their own, or because their family does not meet their safety and welfare needs. 6. The Child-Headed Family – This is the family where a number of children have lost both parents. These children may not have relatives to take care of them, or are too many for someone to take in. In these circumstances, the eldest child becomes the head of the family.

* Dissolution of a two-parent family due to divorce or separation (Cherlin 1992). Otherwise known as broken family. * Family disruption may also be in the form of parental separation, abandonment, death of a parent, and divorce.

1. Death of Parents
2. Abandonment

* Is a legal term describing the failure of a non-custodial parent to provide support to his or her children according to the terms approved by a court of law. In common use, abandonment refers to the desertion of a child by a parent. * Common causes are family breakdown, irresponsible fatherhood or motherhood, premature motherhood, birth out of wedlock, or the death of one or both parents.

3. Filipino Diaspora / Migratory Work

* The dispersion or spread of any people from their original homeland.

* Seeking better lives for themselves and their families, took risks and bravely went to strange lands and cultures taking on whatever jobs were available.

* Technically, the Filipino diaspora should also consider internal migration, involving thousands of Filipinos who flock from rural to urban areas seeking jobs (created new family dynamics).

* Due to poverty and unemployment.

4. Divorce

* A legal dissolution of the marriage contract by a court or other body having competent authority. This is properly a divorce, and called, technically, divorce a vinculo matrimonii. * Pertaining to or noting a divorce that absolutely dissolves the marriage bond and releases husband and wife from all matrimonial obligations. * The decree or writing by which marriage is dissolved.


* Lack of commitment to the marriage
* Lack of communication between spouses
* Infidelity
* Abandonment
* Alcohol Addiction
* Substance Abuse
* Physical Abuse
* Sexual Abuse
* Emotional Abuse
* Inability to manage or resolve conflict
* Personality Differences or ‘irreconcilable differences’
* Differences in personal and career goals

* Financial problems
* Different expectations about household tasks
* Different expectations about having or rearing children
* Interference from parents or in-laws
* Lack of maturity
* Intellectual Incompatibility
* Sexual Incompatibility
* Religious conversion or religious beliefs
* Cultural and lifestyle differences
* Inability to deal with each other’s petty idiosyncrasies
* Mental Instability or Mental Illness
* Criminal behavior and incarceration for crime
* Insistence of sticking to traditional roles and not allowing room for personal growth
* Falling out of love


Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner. 2. Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation. 3. Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in prostitution, or connivance in such corruption or inducement. 4. Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned. 5. Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent.

6. Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent.
7. Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether
in the Philippines or abroad. 8. Sexual infidelity or perversion.
9. Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner. 10. Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year.


* A family in which at least one of the adults has children from a previous union, either living in the home or nearby. Reconstituted families are also known as “step-families”. * A `reconstituted family` (also known as a `blended family`) is the sociological term for the joining of two adults via marriage, cohabitation or civil partnership, who have children from previous relationships. * Were mainly the result of remarriage after the death of a spouse, hence the expression step-families from the Old English prefix “steop”, meaning bereaved or orphaned.

Potential Problem Areas in a Reconstituted Family

1. Power struggle
2. Lack of clear role definition/conflict.
3. Role of the step-parent is ill defined. When ex-spouses are involved. 4. Accentuates the need for tolerance of differences.
5. Step-relationships are new and untested, not given as they are in intact families. 6. Coalitions can be formed, that undermine the child-rearing efforts of the blended family. 7. Financial arrangements.

8. Sibling Relationships/ Issue on Sexuality.
9. Parent-Child Relationship / appraisal of the value of previous family arrangements.
10. Parenting
11. Couple

* Any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another can constitute
domestic violence. * Domestic violence most often refers to violence between married or cohabiting couples, although it sometimes refers to violence against other members of a household, such as childDomestic and family violence takes many forms. It involves violent, abusive or intimidating behaviour carried out by a partner, carer or family member to control, dominate, humiliate or instil fear. * A person does not need to be married for it to be considered ‘domestic and family violence’. It can be perpetrated by a partner, family member, carer, boyfriend or girlfriend. * Domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person.

1. Verbal – including swearing and continual humiliation, either in private or in public, with attacks following clear themes that focus on intelligence, sexuality, body image and capacity as a parent and spouse. 2. Psychological – including: driving dangerously; destruction of property; abuse of pets in front of family members; making threats regarding custody of any children; asserting that the police and justice system will not assist, support or believe the victim; and threatening to ‘out’ the person. 3. Psychological – including: driving dangerously; destruction of property; abuse of pets in front of family members; making threats regarding custody of any children; asserting that the police and justice system will not assist, support or believe the victim; and threatening to ‘out’ the person. 4. Emotional – including: blaming the victim for all problems in the relationship; constantly comparing the victim with others to undermine self-esteem and self-worth; sporadic sulking; withdrawing all interest and engagement (for example weeks of silence); emotional blackmail; and suicidal threats. 5. Social – including: systematic isolation from family and friends through techniques such as ongoing rudeness to family and friends to alienate them; instigating and controlling the move to a location where the victim has no established social circle or employment opportunities; restricting use of the car or telephone; and forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people.

6. Financial – including complete control of all money, through: forbidding access to bank accounts; providing only an inadequate ‘allowance’; not allowing the victim to seek or hold employment; coercing to sign documents or make false declarations; using all wages earned by the victim for household expenses; controlling the victim’s pension; and denying that the victim has an entitlement to joint property.

7. Physical – including: direct assault on the body (strangulation or choking, shaking, eye injuries, biting, slapping, pushing, spitting, punching, or kicking); use of weapons including objects; assault of children; locking the victim in or out of the house; forcing the victim to take drugs, withholding medication, food or medical care; and sleep deprivation. 8. Sexual – including: any form of pressured/unwanted sex or sexual degradation by an intimate partner or ex-partner, such as sexual activity without consent; causing pain during sex; assaulting genitals; coercive sex without protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease; making the victim perform sexual acts unwillingly (including taking or distributing explicit photos without their consent); and criticising or using sexually degrading insults. 9. Harassment and stalking – including: following and watching; telephone and online harassment; tracking with Global Positioning Systems(GPS);or being intimidating.

* On average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner. * In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published data collected in 2005 that finds that women experience two million injuries from intimate partner violence each year. * Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life. Women are much more likely than men to be victimized by a current or former intimate partner. Women are 84 percent of spouse abuse victims and 86 percent of victims of abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend and about three-fourths of the persons who commit family violence are male. * There were 248,300 rapes/sexual assaults in the United States in 2007, more than 500 per day, up from 190,600 in 2005. Women were more likely than men to be victims; the rate for rape/sexual assault for persons age 12 or older in 2007 was 1.8 per 1,000 for females and 0.1 per 1,000 for males. * The United States Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 3.4 million persons said they were victims of stalking during a 12-month period in 2005 and 2006.

Women experience 20 stalking victimizations per 1,000 females age 18 and older, while men experience approximately seven stalking victimizations per 1,000 males age 18 and older. * Women of all ages are at risk for domestic and sexual violence, and those age 20 to 24 are at the greatest risk of experiencing nonfatal intimate partner violence. * Young women age 20 to 24 also experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, followed by those 16 to 19.People age 18 and 19 experience the highest rates of stalking. * American Indian and Alaska Native women experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence. * 15.5 million children in the United States live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year, and seven million children live in families in which severe partner violence occurred. * The majority of nonfatal intimate partner victimizations of women (two-thirds) in the United States occur at home. Children under age 12 are residents of the households experiencing intimate partner violence in 38 percent of incidents involving female victims. * In a single day in 2008, 16,458 children were living in a domestic violence shelter or transitional housing facility. Another 6,430 children sought services at a non-residential program. CONSEQUENCE OF VIOLENCE

* Women who have experienced domestic violence are 80 percent more likely to have a stroke, 70 percent more likely to have heart disease, 60 percent more likely to have asthma and 70 percent more likely to drink heavily than women who have not experienced intimate partner violence. * In the United States in 1995, the cost of intimate partner rape, physical assault and stalking totaled $5.8 billion each year for direct medical and mental health care services and lost productivity from paid work and household chores.21 When updated to 2003 dollars, the cost is more than $8.3 billion. * Sexual and domestic violence are linked to a wide range of reproductive health issues including sexually transmitted disease and HIV transmission, miscarriages, risky sexual health behaviour and more.

* Technology has become a quick and easy way for stalkers to monitor and harass their victims. More than one in four stalking victims reports that some form of cyberstalking was used against them, such as email (83 percent of all cyberstalking victims) or instant messaging (35 percent). Electronic monitoring of some kind is used to stalk one in 13 victims.

* One in five teen girls and one in ten younger teen girls (age 13 to 16) have electronically sent or posted nude or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves. Even more teen girls, 37 percent, have sent or posted sexually suggestive text, email or IM (instant messages).

* More than half of teen girls (51 percent) say pressure from a guy is a reason girls send sexy messages or images, while only 18 percent of teen boys say pressure from a girl is a reason. Twelve percent of teen girls who have sent sexually suggestive messages or images say they felt “pressured” to do so. PREVALENCE AND TRENDS GLOBALLY

* The United Nations Development Fund for Women estimates that at least one of every three women globally will be beaten, raped or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In most cases, the abuser is a member of her own family. * A 2005 World Health Organization study found that of 15 sites in ten countries – representing diverse cultural settings – the proportion of ever-partnered women who had experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetimes ranged from 15 percent in Japan to 71 percent in Ethiopia. Gender trends:

* Women make up 3/4 of the victims of homicide by an intimate partner. Actually, 33% of all women murdered (of course, only cases which are solved are included) are murdered by an intimate partner. Women make up about 85% of the victims of non-lethal domestic violence. In all, women are victims of intimate partner violence at a rate about 5 times that of males. Racial and Ethnic trends:

Black women and men suffer from the highest rates of domestic violence. “Black females experienced domestic violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races. Black males experienced domestic violence at a rate about 62% higher than that of white males and about 22 times the rate of men of other races.” Age trends:

Domestic violence is most prominent among women aged 16 to 24.

Economic Trends:
Poorer women experience significantly more domestic violence than higher income women. Marital status:
For both men and women, divorced or separated persons were subjected to the highest rates of intimate partner victimization, followed by never- married persons. Reporting to police:
The rates at which individuals report domestic violence to police vary along racial and gender lines. Hispanic and black women report domestic violence at the highest rate (approximately 65% to 67% of abuse is reported). For white females, only about 50% of the abuse is reported.


1.Executive Order No. 209 — The Family Code of The Philippines, Year of effectivity – 1988. 2.Presidential Decree No. 603 — The Child and Youth Welfare Code, Year of effectivity – 1975. 3. Republic Act No. 7610 : Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. 4. Republic Act No. 8049 — Hazing Law, Year of effectivity – 1995

5.Children in conflict with the law-Rules and Regulations on the Apprehension, Investigation, Prosecution and Rehabilitation of Youth Offenders promulgated pursuant to P.D. No. 603, Article 209, Year of effectivity – 1995. 6. Administrative Matter No. 03-04-04-SC — Rule on Custody of Minors and Writ of Habeas, Corpus in Relation to Custody of Minors. Year of effectivity– 2002. 7.Presidential Decree No. 603 — The Child and Youth Welfare Code, Year of effectivity– 1975 8.Republic Act No. 7877 — Anti-Sexual Harassment Act,Year of effectivity– 1995

9. DSWD Administrative Order No. 141, Series 2002 — Standards in the Implementation of Residential Care Services ,Law Year of effectivity – 2002

10. Children in mental institutions
National Center for Mental Health Operating Procedure

11.Republic Act No. 8552 — Domestic Adoption Act, Year of effectively – 1998 . 12. REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165- Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002. 13. Presidential Decree No. 1083 — Code of Muslim Personal Laws 14. Professional Regulation Commission Resolution No. 435, series of 1997 — Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers, year of effectivity – 1998. 15. REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8353- The Anti-Rape Law of 1997

16. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 or the Republic Act No. 3208.

Analysis and Recommendations:

Violence is very evident and displayed both in local and global phenomena. That mostly women and children are the victims. And with this crimes happening around both international laws and Philippine laws are legislated to help lessen and eliminate the issues and cases of violence in the land, yet thousands of reports on this crime are noted and in the same way thousands of unreported too are highly expected. This is a global phenomena that needs to be addressed otherwise it will continue to destroy lives of those vulnerable and those trapped in a situation,in a relationship or in a family they thinked they are safe and valued but not and is/are left no choice. Therefore the following are highly considered for recommendations. * Tight and strict implementation of the laws to run after abusers and punish them accordingly so as not to become a precedent in the family/area. * Vigilance on the part of the family members or the concern himself/herself, and will automatically report issues of violence in the authority . * Fair and just implementation of the law without any attempt of protecting and favoring someone because of bribe or “ utang na loob”.

* Government should increase monitoring and conduct information campaigns on child labor and sexual exploitation in all tourism businesses to make the probable targets aware thus get away from trouble. * Strict guidelines on issues regarding minors travelling abroad not with their parents. * Conduct of counseling services by the government agencies concern for Filipinos “bride to be” or spouses on realities and consequences of intermarriages and migration, their rights and obligations, available support networks and other useful information. * Encourage more participation of the NGO’s in the issue of human trafficking, women and child abuse. * Provide reintegration programs of support and services to women and children who had been victims of abuse to bring back their normal life. * Strict adherence and compliance to international laws and policies on the issue of human trafficking in order to attain the common goal and objectives.


* The UN Secretary – General’s Database on Violence Against Women.

* Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

* Philippine Laws Related to the Discipline and Punishment of Children, Copyright 2006.

* Jouriles, E.N., Norwood, W.D., McDonald, R., and Peters, B. (2001). Domestic violence and child adjustment. In J. Grych and F. Fincham (Eds.), Interparental Conflict and Child Development: Theory, Research, and Applications, (pp. 315-336). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

* International Humanitarian Law – Treaties & Documents

* International Law and Human Trafficking.

* http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/long_term_consequences.cfm

* http://www.divorcestatistics.org/

* http://www.encyclo.co.uk/define/Reconstituted%20family

* http://www.dole.gov.ph/labor_codes.php

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