She doesn't want her daughter to think she's that kind of woman


She doesn't want her daughter to think she's that kind of woman

Based on her true story.


She was a minor when the raid happened. Videotaped dancing naked onstage, on national TV news with her soon-to-be-lady parts pixelated along with her face. The raid, led by a certain international humanitarian agency, was conducted to rescue them and arrest the perpetrators of a major offense.

Hauled with the other victims to a facility of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), she was the most defiant and engaged the department secretary in a shouting match. Innocent and ignorant perhaps of her own exploited innocence and underage status—and all its criminal implications and liabilities—she demanded tearfully for her immediate freedom to work for food as she knew how.


Under the government agency's custody, she—they—soon found out she was pregnant with her then-lover's child. They advised her to sue him: statutory rape. She refused; he was her lover.

She threatened abortion, giving them more reason to keep and watch over her.

She seriously considered adoption, till she gave birth and saw the face of her firstborn and decided to keep and raise her baby daughter.


They were protected, trained in livelihood skills, and rehabilitated.

Upon her release, she soon found out that he was immigrating somewhere to North America.

Upon her release, she worked at various odd jobs, barely supporting herself and her daughter (whom she sent off to live with her family, in her home city somewhere in Southern Philippines).

Months after her release, she was back in the oldest profession. Soon, she would reach legal age.


She prefers it here in a provincial city, where the bar owner gives her, them, the option to refuse takeout service. She prefers it here in a provincial city, unlike in Metro Manila where the bar owners compel her, them, to render takeout service. (Who knows what lurking monster or monsters will end up with her, alone in a secret den.)

She worked in one of the classier and higher paying joints in the big city, though. But she wouldn't go back there as it is humiliating: It is always assumed that those who left that high-end brothel "successfully" married their rich customers, or "progressed" into kept women.


She tried her hand in swine raising, in her home city, but found it difficult to earn only every three months, when the hogs are grown and ready for sale. (She had, and has, full-grown pigs for company every night. One was 66 years old, and “it” just didn't stand a chance.)


Twenty-six years old and still beautiful. She wants out before she reaches and looks 30, the average age when workers in her industry devalue significantly.


There are months when she could afford a vacation, and stays in her home city with her mother and now eight-year-old daughter. There she mostly stays at home, in plain shirt and pants. There in their poor neighborhood, she knows women who are regularly fetched by the mayor's aides. She refuses to be one of them.

She doesn't want her daughter to think she's that kind of woman.

Karlo Sevilla

Karlo Sevilla writes from Quezon City, Philippines and is the author of two poetry collections: “Metro Manila Mammal” (Soma Publishing, 2018) and “You” (Origami Poems Project, 2017). He was a runner-up in Submittable’s 2018 National Poetry Month poetry contest and one of his poems was nominated by Ariel Chart for the 2018 Best of the Net Literary Awards. He also won third place in Tanggol Wika's DALITEXT 2018 poetry contest, and his partial translation into Tagalog of Dylan Thomas’ poem, “And Death Shall Have No Dominion,” won a reader's choice award from Human Rights Online Philippines’ 8th HR Pinduteros Choice Awards. He has more than a hundred poems published in various literary magazines and platforms worldwide, including Philippines Graphic, Ariel Chart (as aforementioned), Collective Unrest, Derelict Lit, Rue Scribe, Poets Reading the News, and elsewhere. He currently studies for the Certificate in Literature and Creative Writing in Filipino program of the Center for Creative Writing of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

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