*Trigger warning: domestic violence, abuse*
Abuse, in any form, is never okay. This is what Ruffa Gutierrez wanted to remind women of during an episode of It's Showtime. As a judge for the "Reina Ng Tahanan" segment, Ruffa told contestants that it's important to love themselves and that they deserved only the best.
"Sa dami-daming buhay na narinig namin dito, parang ke mayaman ka, matangkad, guwapo, or medyo tamad ka, pangit, bungi...nambababae sila e, 'di ba? So, parang, ito na ba yung kultura natin, na kaya nating tanggapin 'yon? I'm serious, I'm so affected," Ruffa said as some people offscreen started to laugh. "Kailangan ba nating tiisin yung ganitong buhay? This is not what we deserve. We deserve more than that, so let's love ourselves."
Ruffa Gutierrez to victims of abuse
"Especially pagdating sa domestic violence. 'Wag natin hayaan na itrato tayo ng ganun ng mga asawa natin. 'Di ba? Make a stand. We do have a choice in our lives. And that choice is to leave that person that continues to hurt us."
An emotional Ruffa addressed one contestant who was experiencing domestic violence and encouraged her to leave her abusive relationship. "Naiintindihan ko na tinitiis mo yung pananakit ng asawa mo dahil sa mga anak mo, dahil ako nagtiis din ako," Ruffa said as her voice broke. "Nagtiis din ako noon, pero there's a time that we have to stop. Kaya natin yan, nanay. Please, 'wag niyong hahayaan na tratuhin kayo ng ganun. I'm so sorry, it's just so painful."
In 2009, Ruffa opened up about her experience with domestic violence when she was still married to Yilmaz Bektas. Despite the fact that her former husband physically abused her, Ruffa was afraid to go to the police since she was living in a foreign country. The couple got divorced in 2007.
At that time, Ruffa also gave some advice for women in similar situations: "Importanteng mahalin mo ang sarili mo. If something happens—kung sinasaktan ka—it's best to speak out. Call a friend. Call anyone and get help."