Divorce Saved My Life. Pass the Divorce Bill!

Divorce saved my life. Here is my story of abuse, freedom, and the chance for a new life. 

I got divorced in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Granted, it was initiated in Las Vegas, where the process is cheap and easy. Granted, it was a marriage between same-sex partners, so a lot of people would have stopped reading by now as they may find this invalid. 

The point is I did not get married and uproot myself just to live alone in the end (as in—sans family, sans friends) in a foreign country where I hoped to build a future somehow with someone I hoped wanted the same things I did. 

But it turned out to be a situation where I had to do all the housework, be called “stupid” and other derogatory names, emotionally and psychologically abused, be in a state of constant stress, almost die of stroke, cheated on, and coerced into sexual activities I was not comfortable doing. I could go on, but I don’t want to relive this past. 

It was when my ex-partner told me, “I don’t want it to get to a point that I might kill you” (a subtle threat) when I fled the state (Alabama) and flew to New York to stay with friends temporarily—not knowing where to go next or what to do. I didn’t have a steady job. I didn’t have savings. But I HAD to leave. Until I eventually settled in Nevada with the help of an employer who promised to help grant me papers so I could work even without the visa that was tied to that person.

Even after that, I was constantly receiving text messages asking me about my whereabouts, calls, and my friends being used to get information on me. I was diagnosed with CPTSD (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and lived a life of constant hypervigilance. I lost a lot of people in my circle in the process. Why?

Because a lot of them believed I shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place. They were disappointed that I didn’t leave sooner. They thought it was my fault.

Here’s the truth. A lot of people (men and women) who are in abusive relationships CANNOT easily leave. First, there is a trauma bond going on where the abused is slowly being eroded, stuck in a cycle of being love-bombed and devalued, and ultimately, losing their self-worth. Read: *, **. 

The entire process of leaving took a few years before the divorce happened. There is a dynamic of power and control at play, making it especially difficult for someone to “just leave” this situation. “On average, it takes a woman 7 attempts to leave an abusive relationship for good.” *** And unfortunately, in many cases, it results in the death of the abused by the abuser. 

In addition, I was in fear of losing the legality of my stay in the US if the marriage came to a legal end. It took me time to finally make this decision because I initially didn’t want to go back to the Philippines, where I had already left my high-paying job and where nothing was waiting for me (or so I thought). 

In the end, I got the divorce. I had to tiptoe around this whole process to make it quick. I no longer stated in the papers that I was abused to avoid further hearings and abuse from this person. But ultimately, the divorce set me free. 

I returned to the Philippines without a plan and without money. Not long after, I landed my current job, which allowed me to build my life again—along with extensive therapy, psychiatric help, medicines, and the support of my friends and family. Not long after, I found a person who is good for me, good to me, and good in all that she is. 

If divorce weren’t legal where I’d gotten married, my life would’ve been very different, even if I came home where this marriage still isn’t acknowledged in the least. But that is another problem. 

My hope is that by legalizing divorce in the Philippines, a lot of people, women, mostly, who are in the same situation I was, would have another chance at life. But as you’ve read in this story, it’s not an easy process to leave a toxic situation. We need support—not just from our circle but also from the state to provide the necessary tools and resources to actually leave and LIVE a life where survivors can rebuild themselves. 

In Nevada, I found a foundation dedicated to helping women break free from this cycle. I found friends. In Las Vegas, I found a home. It is thousands of miles away from me now, but it will always be a home to me. 

This, too, is my home. And I hope it becomes a safe place for Filipino survivors like me who deserve happiness. 



*** (https://vpfw.com/blog/why-it-takes-women-7-attempts-to-leave-an-abusive-relationship/)

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Natalia Go

Natalia Go is an Adult Speculative Science Fiction and Fantasy Author. Her earlier works are published on Amazon Kindle, including the short fiction, Interfinity. You Send Me to the Stars, her first poetry collection is now available for purchase.

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