Ellen* buys herself a cake for her 43rd birthday. Before dinner, she prepares a table for three: her two daughters and herself. When her children arrive, they are soaked—not by sweat, but by the rain. A storm brews outside her home as her kids wash up in the bathroom. She had hoped it wouldn’t rain on her special day because the rain brings back painful memories.
“When it rains, it reminds me of all the years I took the abuse from my husband. It rained on the day that he left us, too,” she recalls, holding back tears.
Just like all of us, Ellen was also quarantined with her family in their little home in Quezon City. Before 2020, she would describe her relationship with her husband as “normal” and “predictable”. But things changed for the worse at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When things took a turn.
Ellen’s husband was working at a construction company when the government called for a nationwide lockdown. The boss of the company laid off many workers two months into the quarantine, Ellen’s husband included. This meant they had to rely solely on Ellen’s sari-sari store which, thankfully, stayed open during those trying times.
Their daily routine had changed immensely. Ellen would prepare her family’s meals until dinner at dusk, her kids would set up their tablets for online class, and Ellen’s husband would wake up at 12 to eat lunch then go out to meet friends in the afternoon before coming back for dinner. The financial burden was now on Ellen’s shoulders, urging her to take part-time cleaning jobs over the weekend just so she can sustain their day-to-day needs.
One Friday night, Ellen’s husband had come drunk. They had a quarrel by the door about how inconsiderate he was of risking their children to the virus. That was the first night he struck her.
At first, Ellen thought it would be a one-time occurrence. But her husband kept coming home past midnight, unsober, and physically abusive.
A pandemic within a pandemic.
One out of 4 Filipino wives experience domestic violence. 243 million of women reported sexual and/or physical violence in 2020 alone during the lockdown. A report also shows that those who live near, on, or below the poverty line are more vulnerable to gender-based violence.
Support groups and mental health programs have been put up since 2020 to help women with battles at home. Ellen was one of the first women to partake in a Domestic Violence Support Group in her town and it has greatly improved her emotional state.
“I wouldn’t know what to do without my group,” Ellen shares. “They really saved me when I couldn’t save myself.”
The sun shines after the rain.
Two years later, Ellen is happy to say that now, she’s free from the chains of her past. She and her husband have amicably split ways, never having spoken since. Now that things are also slowly going back to normal, her small business continues to grow.
“It would be a lie to say I don’t remember the painful memories,” Ellen says. “But those years of abuse are behind me now. It’s gone, it’s over. I’ll spend the rest of my life working for my two daughters to give them a good future.”
A plan that will always care for those who matter the most.
Mothers want a solution that protects their loved ones when they’ll need it the most.
“Mabuti nakayanan ko ang lahat,” Ellen says. “But I realized na dapat I always have a plan that will secure my children just in-case may mangyari uli sa’kin.”
Paramount Direct’s Go Protect Plan is the perfect partner in securing your children’s future. It is a life insurance product that gives you peace of mind no matter what uncertainties may bring. It has a Life Benefit of up to PHP800,000 with optional riders for Accidental Death and Waiver of Premium on Disability. It’s available for ages 18 to 60 (if 10 years to pay) and 18 to 54 (if 20 years to pay). Premium starts at PHP333/month, based on age 20-24 and Plan 100, payable in 20 years.
Just remember that you’re not alone. If you need help, you can get in touch with any of the organizations below:
Luna Legal Resource Center for Women and Children
Gender Watch Against Violence and Exploitation (GWAVE)
(035) 422 84 05 | +63 915 259 3029 | +63 999 576 6679
Women’s Care Center Inc. (WCCI)
+63 999 577 9631 | +63 920 967 7852 | +63 917 825 0320 | (02) 8514-4104
ING MAKABABAYING AKSYON (IMA) Foundation
(045) 323 4750
*Name has been changed to preserve the person’s privacy.