Revoking protection orders 'not unusual' in abuse: expert
Catherine Gastador was granted a protection order against the man now accused of killing her her but just five months later sought to have it revoked.
Women may seek to revoke an order for a variety of reasons, including fear, family pressures, or a genuine belief they are no longer in need of protection, said Joy Dupont, training co-ordinator for Manitoba Justice’s victim services department.
“It’s not unusual ... that the person causing the fear will take steps to improve themselves or express remorse because they don’t want the relationship to end,” she said. “It’s not unusual that the person who got the protection order may think it’s safer now.”
In other cases a woman may be manipulated into revoking a protection order, believing it necessary to “keep the peace” with their friends or family, Dupont said.
The body of Catherine Gastador, 23, was found Tuesday in her condo and her adoptive uncle, 36-year-old Mario Ronquillo Valdez, is charged with second-degree murder.
Gastador was granted a three-year protection order against Valdez in February 2007 after telling the court he assaulted her on two separate occasions. According to court documents, one of the assaults occurred at the Merchants Hotel, where Valdez worked as a bartender and Gastador was a waitress. Gastador alleged Valdez choked her after the two got into an argument over a slow service complaint.
In June 2007, Gastador asked the court to set aside the protection order, calling it “a mistake.” Gastador said her drinking was partly to blame for the assaults and called Valdez her “favourite uncle.”
Describing the bar incident, Gastador wrote in an affidavit: “I might have made him feel like I was the boss of him ... He didn’t have to push me down and choke me, but I kind of asked for it because I was being disrespectful.”
It’s not clear when Valdez moved into the Preston Avenue condo building Gastador also called home.
Dupont — not speaking specifically of the Gastador case — said women in abusive relationships will often minimize or deny the abuse, or blame themselves.
“It’s part of the cycle of violence ... they are made to believe they are culpable as well,” she said.
Uncle accused in niece's slaying
A Winnipeg father is struggling to understand not only why his daughter was stabbed to death, but how the man accused of killing her could be a relative he helped enter Canada from the Philippines to live a better life.
After Mario Ronquillo Valdez was charged in Tuesday’s slaying of Catherine Gastador, 23, at her Wolseley condominium, the victim’s father, Eduardo Gastador, suggested that the questions are nearly as much of a burden as the tragedy itself.
He said the 36-year-old Valdez — a brother of his wife Charito Gastador, and Catherine’s uncle through adoption — might not have come to Canada in the early 1980s if it hadn’t been for his sponsorship in the immigration process.
“That’s on my mind too. “Why did he do that to us, to my daughter? Because we — me and my wife — are the ones who sponsored them to come to Canada,” Eduardo Gastador said of the help they had given to Valdez and a couple of his family members.
“And then they stayed at our house, in this house,” he said on his doorstep in Tyndall Park. “Mario was only six years old.”
The early assistance to the newcomers, he said, also included help with moving and finding furniture.
A three-year protection order was granted to Catherine Gastador in February 2007 to keep Valdez away from her. Though police announced Friday that they had arrested a suspect in her slaying, they didn’t release his name till Saturday.
Valdez is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Catherine Gastador, whom police confirm died of multiple stab wounds and other upper-body injuries.
He remains in custody and is also charged with failing to comply with conditions of a recognizance in an unrelated matter.
Other questions swirling around the Gastador family include why Catherine had applied to have the protection order withdrawn about five months after it was issued — and why Valdez has apparently been living at the same Preston Avenue condo complex as her while allegedly telling some people that they were a couple.