About Filipinas Against Violence Campaign

Filipinas Against Violence is the Filipina Women's Network's annual anti-domestic violence campaign in collaboration with Eve Ensler's V-Day organization to raise awareness through theatre, popular culture and education about the high incidence of violence in Asian homes and intimate partner relationships. Our mission is to encourage Filipina and Asian women in abusive relationships take action and seek help. Engaging the Filipino and Asian communities through the V-Day shows and hearing the women's stories "hits home" and helps the Asian community understand the broader connections of Asian values such as respect for women, dignity, family, equality and justice to social and economic issues and to class and religion.

 

About V-Day

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls*. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.

Through V-Day campaigns, local volunteers and college students produce annual benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues; A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer; documentary film screenings (What I Want My Words To Do To You), Spotlight Teach-Ins and workshops, to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities. Each year, thousands of V-Day benefit events take place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls.

Learn more at VDay.org

 

About “The Vagina Monologues”

Hailed by The New York Times as "funny" and "poignant" and by the Daily News as "intelligent" and "courageous, The Vagina Monologues, which was first performed off-Broadway by Ms. Ensler, dives into the mystery, humor, pain, power, wisdom, outrage and excitement buried in women's experiences. Through this play and the liberation of this one WORD, countless women throughout the world have taken control of their bodies and their lives; giving voice to experiences and feelings not previously exposed in public.

Hailed as the bible for a new generation of women, it has been performed in cities all across America and at hundreds of college campuses, and has inspired a dynamic grassroots movement to stop violence against women.  Witty and irreverent, compassionate and wise, Eve Ensler's Obie Award winning masterpiece gives voice to real women's deepest fantasies and fears, guaranteeing that no one who reads it will ever look at a woman's body, or think of sex, in quite the same way again.

WHY GET INVOLVED

This is a campaign to end violence against women and girls as part of V-Day’s Worldwide Campaign

 

The Vagina Monologues is a key fundraiser for FWN’s Anti-Violence Awareness Campaign which we launched in 2003 in response to the 2000 unsolved murder of 22-year old Filipina woman Claire Joyce Tempongko who was stabbed multiple times in front of her two young children ages five and ten years old. The Tempongko case was instrumental in the City of San Francisco’s overhaul of its citywide response to domestic violence. Mayor Willie Brown created the Justice and Courage Oversight Committee to implement the Blueprint for San Francisco’s Response to Domestic Violence after the City was found liable for Tempongko’s murder and an investigation led by former City Attorney Louise Renne. Marily Mondejar was appointed to the Oversight Committee, It took almost 10 years for Tempongko’s murder to be solved - a difficult period for the Filipino community, a case that reached  the California Supreme Court.

FWN’s Anti-DV Campaign has evolved to include anti-human trafficking initiatives with the Mayor’s Office, CourtWatch of DV homicides of Filipina women nationwide, rallies, support for legislation that protect women and girls in abusive situations, Handprints: Men Against Violence, the publication of the V-Diaries Anti-Violence Resource Guide and the annual benefit performance of The V Monologues.
2016 is our 11th year and we convene the performance to keep awareness of atrocities perpetrated against women and girls. 

What started in 2003 with what we thought was a simple play with an all-Filipina women cast, the show has now become FWN’s Anti-Violence Awareness Campaign after many challenges from the FilAm community because of the V-word. In 2009, we opened the casting to include API women with Assemblymember Fiona Ma, Supervisor Jane Kim, School Board Trustee Hydra Mendoza and other notable community leaders reading for the show. In 2012, the show casted Women of Color to expand our campaign. Supervisor Malia Cohen, Fabiola Kramsky (wife of DA Gascon), Eliana Lopez (who is now doing a Spanish version), Emerge’s Kimberly Ellis, Theresa Sparks, Cecilia Chung and Tita Aida, to name a few, have read for the show. 

We have also expanded the show to include our men supporters with Handprints - asking the men in the audience to pledge not to hurt women - led by Mayor Lee, Assemblymembers David Chiu and Rob Bonta; San Francisco Supervisors Eric Mar, Norman Yee, Scott Wiener and our community of men leading the pledge. Our campaign has continued on with the rise of human trafficking of women and girls as young as six years old.

Our 2016 beneficiary is the Comfort Women Justice Coalition, an organization who is raising funds to build a Comfort Women Memorial in San Francisco. There’s a special monologue written by Eve Ensler for the Filipina Comfort Women she met in 2002. We include this monologue every year to highlight the Comfort Women Survivors now in their 80s and 90s as they continue to gather everyWednesday at the Japanese Embassy in the Manila, Philippines waiting for an official apology from Japan.

 
District Attorney Kamala D. Harris presented with the Vagina Warrior Award by FWN CEO, Marily Mondejar (center) in 2005. Pictured with Clara Tempongko (left), mother of Claire Joyce Tempongko.

District Attorney Kamala D. Harris presented with the Vagina Warrior Award by FWN CEO, Marily Mondejar (center) in 2005. Pictured with Clara Tempongko (left), mother of Claire Joyce Tempongko.

Claire Joyce Tempongko pictured with her two young children.

Claire Joyce Tempongko pictured with her two young children.

 

BACKGROUND

CLAIRE JOYCE TEMPONGKO VERDICT OVERTURNED: NO JUSTICE FOR FAMILY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MURDER

On March 30, the state appellate court overturned the murder conviction of Tari Ramirez, citing incorrect jury instructions about what constitutes murder versus manslaughter, and introducing the possibility that the case may have to be retried. This decision reopens many partially healed wounds. The California Attorney General has requested a review of the March 30 ruling with the California Supreme Court. 

The 2000 murder of Claire Joyce Tempongko, a 28-year old Filipina woman who was stabbed 21 times by her ex-boyfriend, Tari Ramirez, in front of her two young children, stunned the community. It compelled the City of San Francisco to create the ‘Justice and Courage Oversight Committee’ with the Commission on the Status of Women to investigate the City's system-wide response to domestic violence. In 2002, the committee released “Justice and Courage: A Blueprint”, which outlined recommendations to remove the gaps and barriers in the criminal justice and social service systems to prevent future deaths. FWN joined the Commission to ensure the report’s recommendations are implemented, the gaps and barriers are closed, Tari Ramirez is arrested and prosecuted, and public accountability is put into practice by including community members and city departments so they can work together to end domestic violence in San Francisco. FWN's anti-violence campaign keeps the memory of Claire Joyce Tempongko alive but most importantly to end violence against Asian Pacific American women and girls.

Following the murder, Ramirez fled to Mexico. By no small miracle, he was apprehended there in 2006 and brought to trial in 2007. In September 2008, Tari Ramirez was convicted of second-degree murder and later sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.

Meanwhile, Claire Joyce's mother, Clara, struggled to make sense of her daughter's violent death while attempting to create a normal environment for her two grandchildren now left traumatized and motherless. Overcoming her feelings of hopelessness and bouts of depression, Clara has become an outspoken advocate for better measures to fight domestic violence.

The Vagina Monologues benefit performance is dedicated to the memory of Claire Joyce Tempongko that she may get the justice she deserves.

At first he was charming, but soon he became violent.
In the first 6 months we were together, he beat me 18 times.
I was too afraid to leave him.
Then, he tried to strangle me.
I got an emergency protective order but it did no good.
In the end, he stabbed me 21 times
in front of my 2 children who are now motherless.

The October 2000 murder of 28-year old Claire Joyce Tempongko
by her ex-boyfriend Tari Ramirez shocked the community.
We knew Claire, we knew she was in trouble,
but the system of police officers, prosecutors, judges,
and probation officers, failed her.

After killing Claire,
Tari Ramirez disappeared into his native Mexico.
Thanks to then-Supervisor Fiona Ma,
the reward for his capture was upped to $50,000 --
just enough for bounty hunters to become interested.

 6 years after the crime,
Ramirez was miraculously apprehended in Cancun and
extradited to San Francisco through the steadfast efforts of
the FBI and then-District Attorney Kamala Harris.

In December 2008, Tari Ramirez was convicted of
second-degree murder with a deadly weapon and
sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.

Meanwhile, Claire Joyce's mother Clara struggled
to make sense of her daughter's violent death
while attempting to create a normal environment for
her traumatized grandchildren.

Overcoming her sense of hopelessness and bouts of depression, Clara has become an outspoken advocate
for better ways to fight domestic violence. 

Just as the community was moving past
the tragic loss of Claire Joyce Tempgonko,
just as her family was emerging from the abyss of mourning
from the loss of a mother/ daughter/sister,
the UNTHINKABLE happened.

On March 30 of this year, the state appellate court
overturned the murder conviction of Tari Ramirez,
citing incorrect jury instructions,introducing the possibility that
the case may have to be retried.
This decision reopens many partially healed wounds.

To be sure, key reforms have been put into place
to prevent a similar tragedy. Following the murder,
the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women
launched an investigation and issued a report
with hundreds of policy recommendations.

 

An Oversight Panel was established to oversee progress on these recommendations. I serve on this Panel, Marily Mondejar had served on it until recently, and we have been meeting together for nearly a decade, with some important successes.

  • New codes distinguish domestic violence from other forms of assault.
  • Police and the courts worked to eliminate a significant backlog in stay-away orders.
  • The once invisible crime of stalking is now recognized.

 

And, the City has made a growing commitment
to providing direct services to address domestic violence,
from $1.8 million in 2003
to $2.7 million in 2010.

In 2010, nearly 30,000 individuals received
crisis line, emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling, and legal services.


This combination of policy reforms and direct services has caused the number of domestic violence homicides to plunge,
from a yearly average of about 10 murders a decade ago,
to just 2 or less today.

 

Now we await to see if the California Supreme Court will
review the State Appellate Court's decision and, hopefully, reinstate the 2nd degree murder conviction of Tari Ramirez.
Otherwise, we could face another trial, back to square one.

 

Whatever happens, we will never forget Claire,
our friend, our sister.

By Julie D. Soo
, Past President of the Commission on the Status of Women. She is senior staff counsel with the California Department of Insurance.



On March 5, 2013 the oral arguments for the murder case of Claire Joyce Tempongko was held at the California Supreme Court to hear the Court of Appeal's decision to overturn the ruling of second-degree murder.

 

This case is the foundation of FWN's anti-domestic violence campaign. We worked very hard through the years to help get her murderer arrested after he escaped to Mexico, to get him extradited to San Francisco, and to finally get him convicted in 2008. In 2011, the First District Court of Appeal overturned his conviction and now the case is up for oral arguments at the Supreme Court. On March 5th, many showed support for our on-going campaign, by taking a couple hours of their time to ensure that Claire Joyce's murderer does not go free. This case will impact future domestic violence related homicides.

Below you will find a message from Beverly Upton, and more information about the Tempongko murder case, including a copy of the amicus letter, a list of the justices and the questions asked at the California Supreme Court oral arguments.

--Marily Mondejar, President
----------------------------------------------------

Message from Beverly Upton, Executive Director, San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium:

Please join me at the CA Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 5th at 1:30 to hear the oral arguments regarding the lower court's decision to overturn the guilty verdict in the death of Claire Joyce Tempongko. The decision could have a lasting effect on DV cases throughout the state and beyond. For many of us, it is less instructive, it is about standing with the Tempongko family once again. It is about a young mom who was killed in front of her small children in our city. It is about requiring that additional jury instructions be given in domestic violence homicides regarding 'crimes of passion'. It is about the value of Claire Joyce's life and the thousands of others like her, in the eyes of the law.
We are so very grateful that the CA Supreme Court has agreed to hear this case. The Attorney General's Office will be arguing in favor of overturning the lower court's decision and upholding the jury's verdict. 
We thank them. We stand with the family of Claire Joyce Tempongko. Join us.

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Comments from Attorney Minouche Kandel, Bay Area Legal Aid:

In 2011, the California Court of Appeal decided a case that is very problematic for anti-domestic violence and pro-choice advocates. The case is People v. Beltran, California Court of Appeals. First Appellate District, Case number A124392. The case involves a very publicized domestic violence homicide that occurred in San Francisco in 2000, where the defendant, Tare Nicholas Beltran, murdered his ex-girlfriend, Claire Joyce Tempongko, in front of her two young children. Beltran had a documented history of domestic violence against Claire Joyce, and was on probation for domestic violence against her at the time of the murder.
The defendant fled to Mexico and it took six years to track him down and extradite him back to San Francisco. He was convicted at trial of second-degree murder. His attorney appealed. Beltran does not deny killing Claire Joyce, but claims it was manslaughter because of "provocation" and not murder. The alleged provocation was that Claire Joyce supposedly told Beltran that she had aborted his baby, and that he had not known she was pregnant or had an abortion, and this sent him over the edge.
His attorney argued that an improper jury instruction was given to the jury. The jury was given the instruction that to mitigate murder to manslaughter, the test is "whether a person of average disposition would have been provoked and how such a person would react in the same situation knowing the same facts." The defendant argued that this implied that the jury must conclude that the provocation must have been sufficient to induce a reasonable person to kill, and that this was not necessary, but rather that the test should be whether the provocation was sufficient to "induce a reasonable person to act from emotion rather than reason." The Court of Appeal overturned the trial court's decision based on the jury instruction.
This case raises some very important issues around whether a woman's comments on abortion should even be considered as provocation, as well as the history of domestic violence murders being downplayed as "heat of passion" manslaughter even when there is extensive history of previous acts of violence (as there was in this case). Domestic violence offenders frequently try to blame their victims for provoking them, to reduce their culpability from murder to manslaughter. The Court of Appeal has significantly lowered the standard for finding manslaughter, by requiring only that a reasonable person would be moved to the same "rash" act, rather than requiring that a reasonable person must have been moved to violence in response to the provocation.

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People v. Beltran (Tare Nicholas), S192644
For Respondent: Jeffrey M. Laurence, Office of the Attorney General, San Francisco.
For Appellant:  Linda M. Leavitt, San Francisco.
Petition for review after the Court of Appeal reversed a judgment of conviction of a criminal offense. This case presents the following issues:

(1) Was the jury misinstructed with former CALCRM No. 570 on provocation and heat of passion as a basis for a conviction of voluntary manslaughter?
(2) Did the prosecutor misstate the applicable law on the subject in argument?
(3) Did the trial court accurately respond to a jury question on the subject?
(4) If there was error, was defendant prejudiced?


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The Justices:

Hon. Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice
Hon. Joyce L. Kennard, Associate Justice
Hon. Marvin R. Baxter, Associate Justice
Hon. Kathryn M. Werdegar, Associate Justice
Hon. Ming W. Chin, Associate Justice
Hon. Carol A. Corrigan, Associate Justice
Hon. Goodwin Liu, Associate Justice