Feature

Even a rich beauty queen can be abused.

The week's news at a glance.

Philippines

The Philippines’ juiciest gossip has suddenly turned into a serious news story, said Bong Austero in the Manila Standard. For weeks, the entire country has been salaciously following the divorce of Filipina actress and beauty queen Ruffa Gutierrez from her Turkish millionaire husband, Yilmaz Bektas. Why would the nation’s sweetheart leave her dashing catch after seven years? Ruffa told the gossip columnists that the couple, who lived in Istanbul, had “cultural differences.” Yilmaz countered with an accusation that his wife put her career above her wifely and motherly duties. And now the truth is out: Ruffa was “a battered wife.” Having converted to Islam for her marriage, she subsequently discovered that the “Muslim culture” condoned “hurting women.” Philippine commentators have scoffed at her claim, doubting that such a confident, accomplished woman would allow herself to be “beaten black and blue.” Such a view is both uncharitable and misguided. Ruffa herself cited the “Philippine culture of long patience” as a factor that bound her so long to her tormentor. Given the many tales of Filipina maids being abused overseas, “let’s not forget who the victim—and the Filipina—is in the story.”

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