The Aftermath: On Dealing With Abusive Partners
by Maria Romero, November 12, 2018 10:31am
Art by Dani Elevazo
There’s independence, and then there’s self-care, but how are you supposed to do both when your hands are tied and there’s no freedom to speak of?
Accounts of abused people have been making waves in social media for quite a long time now. Last July, news about an abusive student from the University of Santo Tomas broke the internet and just recently, actress Janella Salvador also admitted that her on-screen partner Elmo Magalona physically abused her. These narratives aren’t new, especially to victims of domestic abuse. Because in reality, we know too well that countless relationships—romantic, professional, familial, friendship—have been wrecked ruthlessly. This is because of the perpetuating culture of abuse of power, and okay, men’s fragile masculinity. And at the bottom of all these abuses are women afraid of breaking their silence. Thank you, Janella, for speaking up. That’s one huge brave act!
It’s true, ending a relationship is one of the most devastating things to do, especially if you’re still holding on to a promised forever. And honey, that’s okay. It’s not your fault to hold on a little longer and you did not cause the abuse to happen. Breaking your silence per se isn’t a piece of cake much more coping with the abuse aftermath.
News flash: There’s nothing you can do to turn the tables but there are many things you can do to regain control over your life.
Step 1 will teach you pain
The first step would be to walk out of your abusive partner’s life. That’s the most liberating thing you can do. In any case, abuse, whether it’s only been done once, is a crime punishable by law under Republic Act 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act. It's never okay to normalize abuse in relationships.
Grieving through the process is normal, but wouldn’t get you anywhere. Keeping your support system strong through calm and honest conversations would do.
It’s frightening to be open with other people in a challenging situation like this, but you'll come out stronger once you do that. You’re so used to staying in one corner that when you choose to be brave, it almost feels like someone is wearing your skin. But trust us, the initial step was painful but it wouldn’t be long before that agony turns into triumph.
Step 2 will teach you patience
The second step would test your patience meter but it will be worth it. Living with abuse sure takes a toll on your general well-being and recovering from that wouldn’t be easy. This is in addition to constant worrying and fear. Amidst all these, keep your equilibrium and take good care of yourself. For instance, you can deal with stress by developing new hobbies such as baking, writing, or sewing. In this technological world, it wouldn’t be so hard to find something to be occupied with. By all means, try to convert your story of defeat to something that celebrates life. The best thing you can do now is to find warmth in the comfort of people and things that gives you a sense of fulfilment.
Step 3 will teach you love
The final step will make you believe in love again. Sure, after undergoing all the trouble of being under abuse and coping up with it, you already understand the abuse dynamics. So once you’re brave enough again to put yourself out there, be the anchor guiding those who have also experienced the same faith. Be the voice of those who are afraid to speak up. More importantly, do not ever allow yourself to enter the same problematic relationship you once were in.
To women who were once smitten, these won’t undo what had happened but this will show off what you’ve become. You’re an empowered woman and you don’t owe any person anything. You’re strong a woman so let the world see you slam the door to abusive people. Thank you, next.
In case some of you are still afraid to come out, here’s where you can get help:
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City
Tel. No.: (02)931-8101 to 07
DSWD –NCR Ugnayan Pag-asa Crisis Intervention Center
Tel. No.: (02) 734-8639/ 734-8654/ 734-8626 to 27
NBI-Violence Against Women and Children Desk (VAWCD)
Taft Avenue, Manila
Tel. No.: 523-8231 to 38 / 525-6028
Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp Crame, Quezon City
Tel. No.: 723-0401 to 20
PNP-Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC)
Camp Crame, Quezon City
Tel. No.: 410-3213