To provide legal representation to survivors of domestic violence in tort actions against their batterers to promote healing and restore dignity to abused families in the San Francisco Bay Area.
TINA TARUC’s STORY
Tina Taruc was three months pregnant when R physically abused her for the first time. R punched Tina’s stomach and pushed her against the wall. The next day, Tina awoke with severe cramps in her stomach.
Worried about the well being of her unborn child, Tina visited a doctor. To her relief, the ultrasound revealed no abnormalities. The doctor gave Tina a list of women’s shelters but Tina didn’t believe that a women’s shelter was the best place for a pregnant woman.
After enduring more abuse, Tina threatened to leave R for beating her. R then found an attorney and filed for a divorce. Since Tina couldn’t afford an attorney of her own, the divorce left her with nothing.
Tina decided to ask for help. She made a long-distance call to the Philippines and contacted her grandfather, Luis Taruc, who is known for leading the Pilipino peasant’s rights movement in the 1940’s. With many followers, friends, and allies even in the United States Luis Taruc was able to quickly secure a safe place for Tina to begin her new life.
After Tina gave birth to a baby girl, she found an attorney that helped her obtain a restraining order against R and file for full custody. However, Tina did not find an attorney that would sue her batterer for personal injury. Hence, she worked two jobs to provide for her daughter while R continued to live a financially comfortable life.
The Alipato Project is named after Luis Taruc whose legacy inspires us to strive for a world free from abuse. Taruc’s earlier followers endearingly nick-named him, “Alipato,” which is a Tagalog word that means, “a small glowing ember that escapes a dying fire.”
Many domestic violence survivors believe that their legal rights only involve filing for divorce, seeking U Nonimmigrant Status (for undocumented immigrant victims), obtaining a restraining order, or assisting in the criminal prosecution of their abusers.
Seeking monetary damages through a traditional civil tort claim against one’s intimate partner for physical abuse is an effective remedy. However, such cases are time-consuming and not very profitable to the average personal injury lawyer. For these reasons, it is difficult for a victim to find a lawyer who has the expertise and willingness to take on such cases.
Our goal is to defend the financial rights of domestic violence survivors and to deter abusers from future misconduct.
The Alipato Project’s personal injury program provides legal representation to survivors of domestic violence in tort actions against their batterers. We obtain compensatory damages to compensate a victim for the harms caused by the abuse and punitive damages to put abusers on notice that further misconduct may come at a substantial price.