updated 30 Nov 2011, 12:54
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Tue, Nov 22, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN
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My husband came home a different man
by Susan K

Vicky's story began like those of many wives whose husbands leave to seek jobs overseas-full of hope for a better future.

"I used to hear bells ringing in my ears every time I heard the name of the place-Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I can't explain the joy I felt every time I received a letter. I felt hope, love, longings, kisses, and hugs were enclosed in those envelopes from my beloved husband… and they came one after the other," she recalled.

She married her husband in 1986, and after a year they had a son. "It was a blissful marriage," said Vicky. "My friends can attest that he put me on a pedestal. I was a lucky wife, they said."

"My husband left the house to work abroad because he thought that what we were both earning here in the Philippines would  not be enough to provide our son a better future. So in January 1988, he decided to try his luck in the Kingdom."  He left a two-year-old marriage and a year-old son.

"I was the typical, supportive wife. Although deep inside I was hurting, I was also willing to sacrifice. And I loved him even more."

Fast forward-2011. "My husband is now living with another woman. Our marriage started to crumble in 1991, before the birth of our second child."

Vicky said her husband came home from the Kingdom a changed man-a violent and abusive man. "He was no longer the same person I married. I saw a complete stranger. It was hard to describe because in all honesty I didn't know exactly what kind of life he had while he was abroad."

"I persevered. Perhaps, I thought, this too, will pass. Perhaps he was also a victim of society, as much as we, his family."

But after more than a decade living the nightmare of a battered wife, most times feeling like a zombie and seeing the look of horror in her children's eyes, Vicky finally had the courage to ask him to leave, citing laws against domestic violence.

"We have moved on. My son is trying to finish his course and is now a third year college student. My daughter just graduated cum laude from a well-known university and is now employed."

The government sings high praises to OFWs, they call them the "unsung heroes." They sacrifice for their families; bring in dollars. They help the Philippine economy, etc.

This is another side of the story. What do they call the victims of abusive OFWs?

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