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Men And Women Tell You Why It’s Hard To Leave (And How They Eventually Left) An Abusive Relationship

Leaving is not as easy as you think
by Khatrina Bonagua | Jul 17, 2018
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The tweet of University of Sto. Tomas student @dianekiimberly shocked the Twitter community yesterday, July 15, when she revealed the physical and emotional abuse she suffered from her boyfriend, fellow UST student, Kyle Viray.


According to netizens, Diane shared her story on Twitter because upon reporting her situation to the school admin, her ex-boyfriend was only made to do community service and was excluded from participating in the graduation ceremonies, which she felt was too lenient given what he did to her. 

Gabriela Youth, which is under Gabriela Women’s Party, called on the UST admin to give proper sanctions fitting for the crime committed against Diane and the other women who were also allegedly abused by Kyle Viray.

Netizens also shared their thoughts about Kyle Viray’s case, the disappointment over their school’s actions (or lack thereof), and even their experiences (both men and women) under an abusive partner.

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The traumatic experience of Kyle Viray’s ex-girlfriend is not an isolated case. According to the latest data by the Philippines National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), one in four (26 percent) married women, aged 15 to 49 has experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence by their husband or partner. Moreover, 20 percent of women have experienced emotional violence, 14 percent have experienced physical violence, and 5 percent have experienced sexual violence by their current or most recent husband or partner.

What’s worse is that the data above are all reported cases. Imagine all the underreported and unreported cases of men and women who have experienced abuse, but lack the courage to tell their stories.

When people hear that someone is in an abusive relationship, their initial reaction, is most likely: "Why don’t you just break up with him/her?!" If you’ve never experienced being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused, this question might seem understandable. But for those who have, it’s not that simple.

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We interviewed men and women who were once in different kinds of abusive relationships—and they tell us why they stayed and what made them finally decide to call it quits.

He was her first—and she believed that the physical abuse was normal and would eventually go away

“It started after our first anniversary when he started physically hurting me. There are many instances that whenever we fight and I won’t follow what he wants, it will result in him punching and kicking me. And whenever I cry, iuuntog niya ako sa pader para tumigil ako. Once, he even publicly humiliated me when he slapped me while we were inside a bus full of people. Palagi siyang ganun pag nag-aaway kami, until second anniversary namin (yes, I endured the pain and humiliation for another year).

I know I should’ve walked away when I had a chance. But I was too blinded by love because he was my first boyfriend. I thought it was just a spur of the moment or natural lang yun sa isang relationship. Di pala. Ladies, please don’t be fooled by the phrase ‘love hurts.’ It may hurt emotionally but it shouldn’t hurt you physically. Because the moment your partner lays a hand on you, that’s the same exact moment you know you’re in love with a monster. Save yourself.” – Ann, 23

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He was afraid she’d harm herself if he left her

“In my past relationship, the physical abuse was being done by my girlfriend—on herself. Pag nag-aaway kami, o pakiramdam niya iiwan ko na siya, lagi niyang sinasaktan ang sarili niya. Magpapakamatay daw siya pag nakipag-break ako sa kanya. Tapos syempre pupuntahan ko siya, makikita ko na lang na may mga sugat na siya sa wrist. Minsan naman tinawagan ako ng mom niya saying na di siya lumalabas ng kwarto, at kung nag-away ba raw kami. We were like that for a year. Pag di ako nakakareply, o di ko siya napupuntahan, lagi niya akong tinatakot na mawawala na lang raw siya forever kasi ayaw ko naman daw sa kanya.

I tried to understand her. I was always there for her supporting her, talking to her. But her demons are bigger. I tried convincing her mom to have her checked, but they said ‘Ikaw lang naman ang gamot niya. Basta nandyan ka masaya siya.’

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I felt responsible for her, I felt guilty. But I realized that they were controlling and manipulating me. It was emotional abuse. I love her so much and I love her family as well. Pero wala sa akin ang solusyonBago makipaghiwalay, I explained that I was doing it for her. It was hard, pero kailangan. One's happiness shouldn't depend on another person.” – Gerald, 32

She believed it was her fault 

“My ex-boyfriend was really seloso. Kahit alam niya na friendly lang talaga ako at very sociable, nagagalit siya basta may kinakausap ako na iba. Noong una nagdadabog lang siya at nagbabato ng gamit pag nagseselos siya at nag-aaway kami. Next thing I knew, ako na yung binabato niya. Pati sa pagdadamit ko nagagalit siya to the point na tinatadtad niya ng kissmark yung legs, arms, at neck ko para di ako makapag-shorts at sleeveless pag lalabas.

Sabi ko noon sa sarili ko baka kasalanan ko kaya siya ganun kasi dapat nga naman di ako nakikipag-usap sa ibang lalake at dapat maayos yung damit ko. Tumagal kami for 3 years na ganun. Kahit na sinunod ko lahat ng gusto niya—di ako nakikipag-usap sa iba, di ako nagsusuot ng maikli, meron at meron pa rin siyang ikinagagalit at minumura at sinasaktan niya pa rin ako. Yung realization na mali pala yun ay nangyari noong I compared ourselves to my friends na in a relationship—di naman ganun yung mga partner nila. Doon ko na-realize na wala sa akin ang mali—nasa kanya. At kahit anong pagbago ko sa sarili ko, balewala, kasi siya ang problema.

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Wag niyong isipin na you deserve the beating and the harsh words. Hindi. Nobody deserves that. Kahit na may mali kayong nagawa (o kahit siya lang may tingin na mali yun), di yan dinadaan sa pananakit at pananakot. Di yun pagmamahal.” ­­­– Marie, 30

For him, words hurt more than the scars and bruises

“It was not just my ego that was hurt when I was in a mentally abusive relationship with my ex-girlfriend—nasaktan yung buong pagkatao ko. Over the course of our relationship, my then partner would try to ‘fix’ me because, according to her, di ako yung type na pwedeng iuwi sa magulang, na ang tamad tamad ko, na puro lang ako ‘passion’ at walang future dahil sa di ako nakakaipon, at na dapat daw ganito ako, ganyan. Kahit anong gawin ko, di siya enough for her. She constantly puts me down and demotivates me through words. Minamaliit niya halos lahat ng nagawa at decisions ko. Pakiramdam ko noon, wala akong kwenta.

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At first I thought that’s just how she shows how much she loves me. Sabi nga niya, she’s just worried for our future, and that she just wants the best for me. But I realized—and I know this sounds cheesy—but loving someone shouldn’t be like that. We should be each other’s fans, supporting each other no matter how weird or how crazy our ideas are. We should encourage each other to be the best versions of ourselves—and this shouldn’t be done by making the other feel that he’s not enough or that you’re better than him.

It took me five years before realizing this. It was hard to break up with her, kasi nga ang tagal na namin. Ang dami ng na-invest para sa isa’t isa—oras, pera, emosyon. Pero sa totoo lang, breaking up with her was one of the best decisions I ever made. Know you worth, guys. Be with someone who trusts, appreciates, admires, and encourages you. Don’t just settle just because ang tagal niyo na at baka wala ng iba. Meron yan, believe me.” – Tim, 30

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