Written by: BTSADV Survivor
I met my abuser back in the Philippines in May 2006. I was introduced by his niece who is also my friend while he was on vacation. He was a very charming, nice guy with a great sense of humor. He was in a relationship at that time, so I didn’t pay attention to him.
Before he left at the end of his vacation, he had told me he had fallen in love with me, and he was willing to leave his relationship and move to the Philippines to start a life with me. He went back to America, and he later told me he had broken up with his girlfriend and was in the process of doing his paperwork so he can come back to the Philippines to be with me. I thought to myself, “Wow, this guy really loves me to sacrifice the life he has in America.”
In August 2006, he moved to the Philippines. The relationship grew, and I fell in love with this guy. The beginning of the relationship was awesome. We were so happy together and always spent time together. He told me about the life he had back home and that he hated it. He grew up without a father and had gone to juvenile for something he did when he was 18. I felt bad for him and tried to make up for all the sadness he felt from his childhood and everything.
During a Christmas party with friends in December 2006, everyone was having fun and making jokes at each other. One friend had jokingly asked me, “Oh, are his privates big?” I responded with “medium,” and everyone was laughing. Nobody took the joke very seriously, as in my culture everyone has a sense of humor that even that kind of joke they don’t take seriously. Since that day, everything had changed. He pretty much isolated me from friends and family without me noticing and always wanted just the two of us to spend time together.
In a hotel room during August 2007, we had an argument where he pushed me, and I fell down on the carpet. I didn’t pay attention to it and just told myself he was just really mad at me. I left that night.
Everything from that day – argument upon arguments – always escalated until he started physically abusing me to the point that I would get bruised and bleed. I didn’t tell anyone. I had kept it from my family and friends in fear of him. Every time he hurt me, he would blame me and justify his behavior. He always said that I should never make fun of him, and I should defend him to my family and friends. He accused me of always choosing my friends and family over him. I felt isolated and helpless, but there was not much I could do.
In May 2008, I found out I was pregnant. I thought to myself that maybe it would change everything because there is a baby on the way. But I was wrong; even during my pregnancy, he beat me. I don’t see any remorse or pity while he was doing that but just that angry man who has so many issues with himself.
Later that fall, he told me he would go back to America so he could earn some money before I gave birth in January 2009. It was a relief for me when he said that, but I loved him, and I always thought that he would change. He left for four months while I was still in the Philippines.
During his stay in America, he told me that he wanted to petition me as a fiancée because it will be better for the baby and me to live there. He also had promised me that he would make himself better for the baby and me. I was hesitant because of the fear, but I trusted that he would change, so I agreed. I gave birth to my baby girl in January 2009, and we left the Philippines in May to live in America with him. Little did I know that he intended to further isolate me and gain more power and control since I do not know anybody here. But because I was uneducated about abuse, I had no idea.
During the ten years I was with him, I was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. He forced me to have sex all the time without my consent, but at that time I didn’t know about marital rape. I was raised that in marriage, making love with your partner is normal. We had a honeymoon phase at that point still, but I always had to be careful with my every move so that I didn’t make him upset. I lived my life in fear of the guy who I thought loved me.
I was living in the same apartment with his family, and none one in his family tried to do anything to stop the abuse. I would go to work bruised because I was beaten up by him the night before. In 2015, he cheated on me with another woman, and he blamed me saying he cheated because I never changed.
In September 2016, we divorced but continued to live under the same roof because I had no other source of financial stability and we had two kids at the time. One day in February 2017, while I was bathing our son, he came into the bathroom and started an argument with me. I tried to fight him, and he punched me behind my ears. The family that was there told me that we couldn’t live together anymore and said that I should go to my abuser’s house for the night until everything calmed down.
He was supposed to move out of the apartment, but he never did. So, I lived with his aunt until August 2017 when I finally got my own place. I was physically freed from him, but his abuse continues because we share kids. This was also the time that I finally broke my silence with my family and friends.
No one had once thought that I was in an abusive relationship because my social media and the façade that I projected to people was that I was in a very happy marriage. The abuse happened closed doors. I made myself better after I left. I joined domestic violence support groups and started my individual therapy.
Today, I’m still on my way to healing and recovery. I will never be ashamed of my past again. The abuse was never my fault. And, today, I have the courage to tell myself that I am strong, I am beautiful, and I am worth it.
**If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.
What’s YOUR Raw Truth?
Sharing our stories can be incredibly empowering while also helping others connect with survivors who have similar experiences. If you are inspired to share your story with us, complete the form below. You can choose to remain anonymous.