Ruffa Gutierrez couldn't stop crying while listening to the stories of domestic violence at the forum spearheaded by Avon Philippines. Ruffa was the host of "Speak Out Against Domestic Violence" held at the Ayala Museum in Makati City yesterday, May 20.
Ruffa has been very vocal about the cause as she herself admitted that she was physically harmed by her ex-husband Yilmaz Bektas.
During the program, three theater actresses—Liesl Batucan, Stella Cañete, and Irma Adlawan—read and fleshed out the stories of three women who experienced different kinds of domestic violence. The stories of the three survivors of domestic violence hoped to inspire and empower Filipino women.
"Yung unang kuwento, na-touch ako. Yung pangalawa, mas lalong na-touch ako. Yung pangatlong kuwento, hindi ko na mapigilan ang sarili ko at talagang naiyak ako. I was able to relate to them," Ruffa said after the event.
She added, "Siyempre, very familiar yung mga kuwento. Naalala ko yung mga masasakit na nangyari sa akin. At na-inspire ako doon sa third kuwento dahil siyempre, mayroon nang bagong buhay ngayon yung girl and she's moving on"
Ruffa also mentioned that it was hard for her to move on before when she arrived from Istanbul because she did not own anything and she was at a loss on how to move on with her life.
"Buti na lang 'andiyan yung family ko. Ngayon, tingnan n'yo ang buhay ko three years later. I feel very blessed. Siyempre kasama ko yung dalawang anak ko. Napakaganda ng nangyari sa akin dito sa Pilipinas.
"I feel very fortunate and blessed. God was able to give me a second chance. Mag-isa akong bumubuhay sa dalawang anak ko. Wala akong tulong na hiningi kay Yilmaz. Masarap yung pakiramdam ko ngayon," Ruffa declared.
MIRACLE. Ruffa confessed that before she came to the event that afternoon, she was crying because of a very personal matter. But her tears were tears of joy.
"Yung sa tatlong taon na pinagdaanan ko, finally today ay nabigyan ng kasagutan. God was able to answer my prayer."
Pressed by the media to give details, "It's a miracle about my kids and their future–" but she stopped a bit because her eyes started to well up.
"Siyempre yung para sa mga anak mo, lumalabas pa rin yung pagiging mommy mo kahit na hindi ka maging masaya basta mapaayos mo lang yung mga anak mo.
"I think today, God has given me that prayer that I have been asking for. And kahit na mawala na ako ngayon, kahit na bukas, magiging okay yung mga anak ko."
Ruffa though dashed hopes of any reconciliation or getting back together with Yilmaz.
"Actually, after today, I think it's better na kaming dalawa ni Yilmaz ay may relationship bilang parents sa aming mga anak," she said.
TRIALS IN LIFE. Ruffa divulged that it was very hard for her to be alone in Turkey and experiencing "domestic violence." She said could only draw her strength then from prayers to fight the loneliness she was experiencing. She also pointes out that the yaya of her two kids were the ones keeping her company.
"Matagal ko na alam na one of the yayas has cancer. But yesterday was the first time I saw her photo. Wala na siyang hair. I just want to say that I'll be there for her kasi siya lang ang kakampi ko sa Istanbul. Noong time na nag-aaway kami ni Yilmaz, yung dalawang yaya lang yung kausap ko. Sila lang yung nakakaintindi sa akin. Kasi sila lang din yung mga Pilipinong kasama ko doon...," said Ruffa while fighting to hold back her tears.
Ruffa also gave encouraging words for the yaya of Venice. "Hanggang buhay ako, I'll be here for you. Sana malampasan mo itong trials na nangyayari sa buhay mo. Kasama mo ako noon sa hirap na naranasan ko sa Istanbul. Ngayon na mayroon kang cancer at nag-undergo ka ng chemotheraphy, sasamahan kita ngayon sa laban mo against cancer," she said.
Speak Out Against Violence is an international campaign by Avon. Actress Salma Hayek was one of the spokespersons of the campaign back in 2005. Another Hollywood actress, Reese Witherspoon, is the global ambassador of the campaign.
The campaign enters its second year in the country in the hope of raising awareness and gathering funds and support for the Women's Crisis Center in maintaining its hotline activation program. The program receives up to 400 calls per month.