Conversations about Domestic Violence and Partner Violence most often refers to the violence of a man against a woman, and it is not surprising: a significant part of the abuse in partnerships most often comes from men and concerns women. Nevertheless, it is impossible to limit the conversation to this scheme - in the relations of LGBT people, this problem is no less acute. In addition to physical and psychological violence, homosexual and bisexual women can face other, specific problems: for example, often abusive partners threaten them with outing, using the woman's orientation as one of the elements of control. It happens that a woman is criticized for being “not really” homosexual or bisexual, especially if she is not in a heterosexual relationship for the first time. Women often feel particularly isolated: the fear that others will judge them when they learn about their orientation can make it difficult to ask for help. Internal homophobia, biphobia or transphobia can also interfere.
We spoke with three women who were victims of physical and psychological abuse by their partners, about how it was - and what helped them to leave.
We met Elena about three years ago through mutual friends. She seemed like a cheerful person who can keep up a conversation in any company - and maybe that's what attracted her. She joked harshly, although we were still little acquainted, and it seemed to me that this was bad manners - but I wrote off everything in the manner of communication.
A week after we met, we went to the cinema, then with the same company we went out of town, into nature. It all started there: a fire, a lake, talking in a tent. It seemed to me that I recognized the person - and what I learned I liked. We began to meet, and after a couple of months - to live together. At the beginning of the relationship, everything was cool - butterflies in the stomach. We had mutual friends, we spent a lot of time together. They could break into each other at night and talk until the morning. She paid me a lot of attention, seemed very well-read.
The first situation that could have alerted me occurred on the City Day, with mutual friends. After going over a little, she began to behave strangely - she could say unpleasant things, although she had just sat and laughed. I attributed everything to the fact that the person got drunk and did not quite give an account of what he was doing. She ran out of the apartment, and if they did not start to catch up with her, she could come back and run away again - these were such hooks that showed that a person wants to attract attention.
When we began to live together, minor everyday conflicts began to arise. The reasons could be very different. For example, if I came home and didn't put my jacket away. Or ate all the cookies. She said something that she didn’t like - or my joke seemed too offensive or angry to her. She could say: “You are not doing anything for me,” although she lived at my expense for six months.
All quarrels followed the same scenario. First, there is a plot - there is some reason. Then resentment, scandal - and she stopped talking to me. Then we began to communicate again, but with a chill: it was clear that something grand was coming. A huge quarrel ensued, followed by another period of silence. Then we put up more warmly and came two or three weeks, maybe a month of good relations. And then everything is new.
Somehow I began to communicate with an old acquaintance again. I needed something from her at work - and after that we began to work on small projects together. But Elena thought it was something more. She put forward an ultimatum: either a friend, projects - or she. She asked: "Why are you on the phone all the time?" I said that from time to time we need to sort things out. She said: "Why do you smile when you look at the phone, and when you talk to me - no?" I explained that they sent me a joke or that a funny situation had arisen.
You start to think: we have gone through as much together, our people, after all. But then you remember
that a man flew at you twice
with a knife
Before that, I talked with those whom she knew - and that acquaintance appeared suddenly. Although different things have happened before. For example, when there was a conflict with friends, she tried very harshly, using manipulations to pull me over to her side, so that I could protect her or shield her, although she was clearly not right. She threatened her friends, and all sorts of abuse flew at me.
It was a moral terror. The man did not raise his hand to me, but he constantly pressed me in different ways, acted on my nerves. It is very difficult to evaluate everything from the inside. You constantly make excuses for a person - after all, she used to be white and fluffy. For two and a half years, my self-esteem dropped dramatically. She convinced me that I was to blame for all the problems.
In the finale, there was also physical violence. She was resting with relatives, and I left early and went to bed. At seven in the morning I was awakened by a knock, I opened it - and immediately got a boot in the nose. I closed the door and told her to go sleep it off or calm down. Then she began to knock out the door with her foot - into the hole she had punched, she climbed through.
She has a difficult relationship with alcohol: if she starts drinking, she drinks until she falls asleep. On that day, she arrived drunk - and when asked why she kicks me in the face, she ordered me to leave the house. We rented housing together, and I paid for most of it, but she paid for that month - and, accordingly, decided that now it was only her house. I refused: I have to go to work in three hours, where will I go? After my refusal, she started jumping. I am not exaggerating or expressing myself figuratively - she actually jumped and tried to hit from the jump, but missed the target. I was sober and dexterous.
I don’t remember in detail what happened next, but knives were used: I snatched the first one and threw it away, then there was the second. Then all my things flew out the window, to the smallest detail. I went into the car and returned in twenty or thirty minutes - she calmed down, calmly collected everything that she threw out, and went to bed as if nothing had happened.
I didn't go to work - I had a split lip, a swollen nose, a big blue bump on my forehead. While she slept, I carried my things to the car. It got to the point that I had to defend myself with an electric shock, so I had to fold things quietly so as not to wake her up. I went to my friend (the one with whom I did business) and stayed with her.
I left her apartment and took her things, but we continued to communicate. Lena decided that I had a new relationship, began to threaten, offered me money so that I would no longer communicate with this person. She continued to make scandals. The friend, whom I moved in with, was persecuted - with some man they were waiting for her at the entrance. They punched me in my car, at night her mother called me and threatened me and extorted money. Lena wrote to my friend that she would hire people to kill her.
Once she asked me to come and talk - I agreed to say goodbye in a human way. I didn't even get out of the car, but somehow she stole my wallet with documents and my phone. She looked through all my pages on social networks and instant messengers. I logged into all my accounts, started writing curses in work chats, telling my relatives and friends nasty things about me. I even called my supervisor, but hung up. She wanted to tell her family about my orientation. I’m not hiding something - I just don’t shout about it. But even if she told something, both relatives and acquaintances adequately relate to this, so it would not be the worst.
We traced the phone, I arrived and took it and the documents. She gave this phone to me for my birthday, but she told everyone around that I had stolen it. She kept the document for my car and asked for money for it. She wrote a statement against me to the police about the theft, frightened me with a criminal case, a term, three years in prison, almost a strict regime.
The investigator advised to return the phone, change the numbers and just never cross again.The application was not registered, but Lena, of course, was not told about it so that she would calm down. I was warned not to continue, and I also thought I was too tired. I moved and try to avoid this person as much as possible. The only thing is that I periodically look through social networks and see that they either block me or get me out of the black list - no prerequisites.
It was very difficult to leave. You think you need to - but how? Where will I go? And what's in there? Then there comes a moment when you feel that there is already an edge - but they start to stop you. Tears, constant calls, apologies - you just feel sorry for the person. She asks for a second chance, and you start to think: we have already experienced as much together, our people after all. But then you remember that the man flew at you twice with a knife, and you decide that now everything is for sure. This was the first time in my life and it shocked me so much that it immediately got rid of rose-colored glasses.
There was no physical violence in my love relationship - I’m not saying that I didn’t have it at all, but my partners didn’t beat me. But I was often devalued in relationships because I am a woman. They say that a woman is not considered, this is self-indulgence, and sex, even more so "real" - only with a man. In some, the abuse began when we moved in, and lasted for three years - in total we were together for five years.
I moved from another city to St. Petersburg, I did not know anyone else here. For half a year we hung out in a rented apartment, and the first bells began even then. For example, they had to operate on me, remove my eye - it was a planned operation, but I was worried. I tried to share this with a partner whose grandmother was seriously ill at that time, and received the answer: "Just think, my eye, my soul hurts!"
When her grandmother died, we moved into her apartment, and then it all started. My partner had no friends (and now she does not), so I was always ashamed to leave her at home alone. She did not like my friends, who had appeared before the move, and she also considered her new acquaintances from St. Petersburg to be "immoral personalities." It was not even jealousy - she disgusted people who, in her opinion, did not correspond to a "respectable" woman. For example, she did not like it if a woman has many partners, she loves sex, drinks a lot of alcohol, sometimes takes drugs. I could not invite anyone into the house, I really could not make friends, because I spent all the time with a partner.
She constantly insisted that I was not adapted to life, that I could not cope with anything without her and would die alone - and I believed her. She criticized how I dress, dictated what to wear. I was accused that I was not feminine enough, that I did not have an hourglass figure - I hated myself and my body. When we went somewhere, she treated me like a child: if I complained that I wanted to eat, she reproached me that I had to do it at home, and in general, since she can tolerate, then I can. They also accused me that I was not optimistic enough: she remembered a friend who remains positive even in illness, but I have a “sour face”.
It seemed to me, that I always do something and behave
not that I myself
I am to blame for everything, if I allow myself to behave this way
I supported her hobby, and she scolded my drawings: you are not trying enough, there is little progress, there Masha has been drawing better than you for a long time, and you are still marking time. Because of this, subsequently, I almost could not draw at all for three years - and now it is still difficult. There was also gaslighting: when I said that something offended me, I was convinced that this was not the case or that everything was not right at all.
In sex, I was almost never in the receiving role - I gave her pleasure, and we went to bed. I love sex, but feelings for a person are very important to me - without them, a significant part of the pleasure is lost, and having sex on the side is unacceptable for me. So I could remain without sex, where I would be pleased, for months and was very tormented by it.
I constantly felt guilty of something.It seemed to me that I was always doing something and behaving differently, that I myself was to blame for everything, since I allowed myself to behave this way with me. I tried endlessly to work on the relationship, but of course it was useless. I even thought about committing suicide - but did not.
It only got worse. She began to humiliate me just like that, because I pissed her off on my own. She accused me that I was stuck in my "refined" world: I was not interested in anything around me, you couldn't talk to me about politics, and about news too. I could cry for hours while my partner, who was aware of my tears, played in the next room in an MMORPG. She also started threatening to throw me out into the street. I had nowhere to go, there was no money and no friends - only friends who lived with their parents or partners. It got to quite strange. Somehow an old stool broke under me - just the legs folded inward. I fell and hurt myself badly, to which the partner went broke and demanded to immediately fix the stool or go out into the street with all my things.
Fortunately, we parted - I was the initiator. After that, we quietly lived a year under the same roof as neighbors, and then she very ugly moved out to the man. I go to a psychologist. I have a bunch of neuroses, I have restored my self-esteem from the ruins, but I am afraid to enter into relationships, I am afraid of people, I have problems with creativity, self-care and self-help. The fact that people live next to the abuser, I would not wish to anyone. I look around and don’t understand how I didn’t notice that I was living in hell. And then it seemed that everything was in order, I was just doing something wrong, so the partner offends me.
We knew each other from the first year - we entered one university and studied in related groups. It so happened that in my second year I transferred to her group, and six months later she began to show me signs of attention. Then she broke up with her boyfriend - she said that "he was a tyrant who was constantly jealous of me and would not let me go anywhere." I then thought that he was a goat, but now I understand that she was driving him, as she did me later.
Our relationship began quickly: she called me to meet, played my guitar and in the end kissed me very sharply. I didn't take it all seriously then. I was uncomfortable - there was a rush in everything, and I felt some kind of fear in front of her.
What kind of person is she? Many of the motives for her actions were incomprehensible to me. When we met, I frankly disagreed with many things. For example, she got a kick out of bullying people. As in the phrase "without a sucker and life is bad": she did not consider it shameful to cheat someone, to deceive. She also stole, a lot and often. Once we even got caught - I am still ashamed of that incident, even though I did not steal anything. What I thought when I saw it - the devil only knows. But I fell in love, and it stupefies my head.
There were other alarm bells besides her strange beliefs - for example, "light" spanking, which later turned into beatings. She was very secretive and constantly manipulated me. Over time, she somehow magically convinced me that I was provoking her with my behavior - and I began to believe in it, to blame myself. At first she was gentle, but when I was on her hook, she abruptly cut off the tap. I was looking for the reason why she had changed, first of all in myself - although in fact it was already a well-thought-out scenario. I was afraid of her and at the same time missed her.
I was looking for the reason why she had changed, first of all in herself.
I was afraid of her
and missed her at the same time
The reasons for quarrels could be anything. They gave the wrong grade, she had a fight with her mother (she hit hardest after their scandals), someone pissed her off or annoyed her - and there were always such people. The script was always the same: she took out anger on me and made me feel guilty - they say, I asked for it myself. I believed in it, suffered, tried to be better. But it was a road to nowhere, since it was not about me - I began to understand this only at the end of our relationship.
I cried a lot and was very depressed.I could hardly share this with anyone - I told a couple of friends, but some only made things worse, humiliated me for putting up with it. Once I felt so bad that I decided to go to a psychotherapist. But I was afraid that she could tell others about everything, and this will be reflected in my studies - or that she will try to "treat" me from homosexuality. In general, I came to the reception and just burst into tears - I said that there was no study, and other garbage, and did not come again.
I analyzed the situation a lot, and I came across a book by Tanya Tank "Fear, I'm with you" - it helped me understand the real motivation of my partner in many situations (Tanya Tank is the pseudonym of journalist and editor Tatyana Kokina-Slavina, who wrote a book about how she understands narcissism, also based on personal experience.-- Approx. ed.). I loved her, but I understood that if I didn't leave, I would suffer all my life. It was very difficult to leave, but it was necessary: she began to openly cheat on me and I was not going to endure it further.
The breakup was very painful - I walked away from it for eight months. Everything was complicated by the fact that I saw her every day at school. She scoffed, telling how well she was living, periodically tried to return - but I kicked her out. Now she is also trying, but I already understood what she is as a person.
I was very worried about it. There are scars on my soul, fears remain, which complicate the current relationship. It's hard to trust, I react painfully to calm comments - but I have a patient partner, we are working on this together.
In homosexual relationships, there can also be violence, but little is said about it - as if only heteropairs suffer from this. I also wish there were very few LGBT-friendly psychotherapists. If they would have helped me then, I think I would have gone easier and got out of addiction faster.
Photos: BENEJAM - stock.adobe.com (1, 2, 3)