Freedom from Domestic Violence is a Human Right

Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10th. It honors the day on which, in 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It’s 2015 and domestic violence is still treated as a private matter. Applying a human rights framework provides a way to interrupt this perception and reframe it as a national problem. Indeed, in the United States, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44, and one in four women are abused by their partners.

Yet, numerous barriers exist in the U.S. to preventing domestic violence and holding perpetrators accountable. One such barrier is the severe lack of legal representation in civil court available to domestic violence resisters, whether in seeking restraining orders, custody of their children, or money damages. Despite the fact that basic needs are at stake in these proceedings, there is no constitutional right to counsel in civil cases.

A human rights framework requires that governments provide individuals with access to court and to an adequate and adequate remedy when their rights are violated. Human rights standards also call for governments to ensure their citizens are free from want and free from fear.

Until our government guarantees housing, food, and legal counsel to domestic violence resisters, the Alipato Project will continue to represent abused families in civil court to help obtain financial reparations from their batterers. For Human Rights Day, please donate to the Alipato Project to help us pay for rent in 2016!


Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 10.37.21 AM

Alipato Project Reaches First Settlement: The Landmark Boblitt v. Boblitt Case

Linda Boblitt made case law when she appealed the trial court’s decision to throw out her civil case against her batterer on the basis of issue preclusion. Linda Boblitt’s abuser’s lawyers argued that since incidents of domestic violence were brought up in the parties’ earlier divorce case, Linda Boblitt had no right to sue her ex-husband for his long history of physical and emotional abuse.

The appellate court reversed the trial court’s dismissal, holding that the party raising issue preclusion has the burden of “showing that the parties litigated in the dissolution proceeding all of the allegations of domestic violence on which Linda’s current tort action is based were, in fact, litigated and decided against her in the dissolution proceeding.” Boblitt v. Boblitt. 190 Cal.App.4th 606, 614, (2010).

Five years later, Linda Boblitt hired the Alipato Project to litigate the rest of her civil claim. See the news excerpt below:

“Canlas settled her first case in Sacramento County. Her client, Linda Boblitt agreed to a settlement of $13,500, a figure that Canlas believed was too low. Boblitt was exhausted from the arduous process and learned that the defendant did not have much more than $13,500 to give. Over the span of a few decades, Boblitt’s ex-husband had broken her jaw, knocked out her teeth, and hit her with a car…

After the settlement conference and the agreement, the judge gave Canlas some needed encouragement. “He told me, ‘Keep it up, you’re doing God’s work.'””

> read more in the East Bay Express!

 Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 5.00.01 PM

Alipato Project’s Founder Featured in OZY’s Rising Stars

On October 20, 2014, Alipato Project’s Domestic Violence Trial Attorney was featured in OZY’s Rising Stars! Click here to read all about it.

Rising Stars

Interview with Alipato Project’s Founder on Feministing Five

We wrapped up Sexual Assault Awareness Month with an interview on Feministing, one of our favorite blogs! Click here to read the full article.

#Leo4MrHyphen 2014

Leo Esclamado represents the resilient families of the Alipato Project and the Filipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity by competing for the coveted Mr. Hyphen 2014 crown! Please watch his video and vote Leo4MrHyphen by March 21, 2014!

There is more to Leo Esclamado than could fit in a three minute video. Below are some reasons why you should vote for #Leo4MrHyphen:

  • Leo understands the intersectionality between different disenfranchised groups and therefore has no  qualms in prioritizing both the fight against domestic violence and the movement for climate justice;
  • As a volunteer board member of the Filipino/American Coalition for Environment Solidarity (FACES), Leo brings humor, food, and serious membership analysis to every board meeting;
  • After Hurricane Katrina, Leo fought and stopped the landfill near the Vietnamese Community in New Orleans;
  • Leo works to raise awareness and funding for Filipino fishing communities who have been impacted by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan;
  • For the past three years, Leo has worked as a community organizer with the Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action (TIGRA);
  • Leo organizes newly arrived Pilipino families to use their economic power to build strong communities;
  • Leo is a poet, his favorite color is dark brown (“because brown is beautiful”), and he runs the blog “young, gifted, and brown;”
  • Leo has some pretty neat dance moves (see video)
  • Leo’s competing for the Mr. Hyphen crown to give voice to the horizontally-managed volunteer-run nonprofit organizations: Alipato Project and FACES.

We want to know what #ResilientFamilies means to you!

Alipato Project in the News

By Cherie M. Querol Moreno
By Cherie M. Querol Moreno

Read the whole article here.

Revenge Porn Now a Crime in California

Posting intimate pictures of your ex on the internet with the intent to inflict serious emotional distress is now a crime in California.

First Amendment advocates like the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation opposed this new law. They argue that the law infringed on one’s Constitutionally protected right to share information the public needs to know.

Victim advocates like the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative on the other hand believe the new statute does not go far enough because it only protects victims whose photos were taken by the perpetrator.  The statute does not take into account photos taken by the victim but shared without their permission.

Other critics point out that it might be too hard to prove that a perpetrator of “revenge porn” intended to inflict serious emotional distress. Indeed, there are many other reasons why one might post a pornographic photo without their ex’s consent: extortion, compensation, to brag, or even as a joke.

Anthony Cannella, the senator who authored the bill admits, “I think this is a great first step… But we need to do more.” For now, the hope is that the threat of a $1000 fine or six months in jail is enough to deter folks from committing revenge porn.

As an organization in search of justice outside of the prison industrial complex, the Alipato Project is hesitant to celebrate yet another “crime” added to the books.

We strongly believe that as a society, we should focus on addressing the harms caused to a survivor instead of on the wrongs committed by a perpetrator.

Our office currently represents a survivor whose ex-partner allegedly shared intimate photos of her without her consent. However, instead of arguing that her ex should go to jail, we argue that he should financially compensate our client for the emotional distress he inflicted on her.

This type of solution gives victims the money they need to pay for counseling sessions and other forms of therapy that restore dignity and promote healing.

As for deterring future acts of “revenge porn,” we as a community need to work toward a major culture-shift. Together, we can and must strive for a society in which what is labeled “shameful” and “embarrassing” isn’t that intimate photos have been made public, but the malicious act of posting another’s pornographic photos without their consent.

Since 2400 BCE

One of our board members, Tara Ramanthan, is doing just that. She is building a group for male-identified folks to discuss masculinity, gender violence, patriarchy, sex, and love. Help her promote community and healing by giving her feedback in this survey.