Abu Dhabi, UAE. Photo: iStock

A former overseas Filipino worker who was physically and sexually abused in the United Arab Emirates has launched a foundation for battered women in the Philippines.

Jeanette Bocobo-Marco, who previously worked for a travel agency in the UAE, has launched a foundation to assist battered women by providing shelter and livelihood programs, the Philippines Daily Inquirer reports.

When Bocobo-Marco was working in the UAE, she married an Arab man. After a year of their marriage, he began physically and sexually abusing her; however, she could not divorce him without her husband’s assent.

After one beating, police found her almost dead in the desert. They discovered that she had been molested by her husband and beaten with a piece of wood.

Eventually, she was able to divorce her Arab husband under Sharia law, citing domestic violence. She was given financial aid to allow her and her young son to turn over a new leaf.

At an autism benefit arts show in Abu Dhabi, she met the New York-based pop artist Peter Marco, whom she eventually married. The couple later launched a clothing line called Marco Not Polo, featuring artwork by Peter and designs by the Manila-based couturier Erjohn de la Serna.

Bocobo-Marco recently launched the Basilia Women’s Foundation, which aims to empower victims of domestic abuse by providing them with training to support themselves. Marco chairs the chairman organization, while her husband serves as chief finance officer.

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