Controversy in Elmo-Janella team-up sparks discussions on physical abuse

October 25, 2018 - 6:36 PM
Janella Salvador in ABS-CBN ball
Janella Salvador accused onscreen partner Elmo Magalona of physically hurting her. (Instagram/Janella Salvador)

Kapamilya actress-model Janella Salvador’s exposé that she was physically hurt by Elmo Magalona, her love team partner, opened up discussions on physical abuse in relationships and victim-shaming on social media.

After weeks of speculation on the cause of their reported breakup, Janella finally opened up in an interview with the Philippine Star’s Ricky Lo that Elmo mistreated her twice in their relationship.

She condoned him after the first instance, hoping it would be the first and the last. But the second time proved one too many.

Many people praised Janella for her bravery in speaking up on the alleged violence, but some questioned her motive on making it public rather than taking it to court privately.

Elmo has yet to air his side on the accusations of Janella, who had been his girlfriend for two years.


Janella disclosed that Elmo hit her twice in the two years they were together, the latest of which was last September. In the two instances, Elmo allegedly had a drink.

She admitted in another interview that both of them are seeking psychological help.

People who support her expressed that it is wrong to exert violence on others, regardless of the circumstances.

The women rights group Gabriela Youth also showed their support to Janella.

Others countered that Janella’s claims were fabrications given that she appears on TV shows without bruise marks on her body.

Those who support Elmo also criticized Janella for taking the issue to the media.

Twitter user @OnlyBida pointed out that many victims of domestic abuse hide their wounds to the public to function.

“There’s what we call “high-functioning abused” people where they can normally function despite the depression and abuse. You can try to ask those successful abused people na hindi naman nanginginig sa work at sa mga batang abused na hindi naman showy sa school,” he said.

Elmo was supposed to make the apology, Desiderio shared in a separate interview, but it did not happen after weeks of waiting for it.

“Elmo talked to me three weeks after the incident, after Star Magic [people] talked to him. That’s when he promised me to post a video apology of himself,” she said.

This may have prompted Janella to go public herself. She added that she was proud of her daughter for making the bold move.

Janella Salvador’s story

It started when an Instagram story of fellow actress Julia Barretto, Janella’s close friend, showed the latter bearing bruises on her left arm.

Days later, Janella and her mother posted messages about physical violence on their social media accounts.

Then on September 25, Desiderio accused Fashion Pulis, a celebrity gossip website, of receiving pay from Elmo’s mother to cover up a controversy.

It was alleged that Elmo pushed Janella out of a van, causing some bruising.

Janella then issued another statement on Instagram’s direct message as response to a fan asking for details of the incident. A snapshot of it was shared online.

She appealed to the public to quit their assumptions and criticisms against Elmo, her or her mother as it only aggravates the situation.

Janella finally confirmed the rumors that there was trouble in her relationship with Elmo and provided details of it to columnist Ricky Lo.

Why people stay in abuse relationships

The situation when a perpetrator assaulting the victim and then the victim forgiving the perpetrator is common pattern among abusive relationships with intimate partners, according to a study.

“The perpetrator alternates between violent, abusive and apologetic behavior with apparently heartfelt promises to change and that the abuser could very pleasant most of the time,” the researchers stated.

Victims also stay in the relationship and refuse to speak out because of a certain social stigma, psychologist Wendy Patrick explained in an article.

“Family and social role expectations may create pressure for the victim to remain in a caretaker role and attempt to repair the relational damage caused by the abuse,” Patrick said.

Other reasons include financial concerns, specifically for those with children.