Coming out as abused

Re: Life Changing, feature, 4/28

I do think this is such an important conversation to have in front of people because not many victims are willing/ready/able to be forthcoming and honest about the “back of house” dynamic of domestic violence and abuse. If we were willing to do that, our abusers would not be given paths of such little resistance from the world and from their victims.

Right after my ex-boyfriend left, I wrote a piece titled “The Abuser’s Advocate.” It is basically based on the foundation of the “one in three” victim statistic. When I see those numbers, I transpose the data into this: One in three men is an abuser. It is virtually impossible to simultaneously expect, assist or even encourage a woman to leave an abusive situation when the whole world refuses to recognize who the perpetrator(s) is/are. I remember all those years — count ’em — 1, 2, 3, …, 8! Piecing together how me and why me and then trying to assemble an evac plan based on my conclusions. 

The best I can say is, it’s been a wild and crazy ride. This last year has been my ninth year, and he is out of my life completely, but sadly I am not out of his. Just the other day he called me and my dad about 15 times, give or take about three times. It’s been an entire year since I’ve seen him! The last time I saw him in person, he had his bags packed and he pushed me into a wall in the laundry room and then winked at me and said, “Nothing happened.” That was it.

The last time I spoke to him was in December. 

I am eager to show the world the steamy, stinky entrails of domestic abuse. I am the furthest thing from what anyone would expect a victim to look like, act like, sound like, think like, etc. Unless you are a professional in this world, in which case I’m textbook. I have been to agency after agency. I reported my abuse to therapists. I put on those stupid questionnaires at doctors’ offices that I do not feel safe where I live. I finally built up the courage to ask my father for help, and he told me to tell my mother who told me she didn’t believe me. I was scapegoated for nearly a decade as a total psycho while my ex-boyfriend got to parade around enjoying the luxuries of social acceptability that should have been mine. This is the battle I am facing now … the damage that eight years of a life stolen from me by a narcissistic sociopath cannot be undone in just one year.

However, the most important thing is that the public en masse understands the truth about abuse. This is not about whiny victims. This is about the abuser and how this stuff comes to be what it is. The role I played in my own abuse is tremendous, and it’s important that I am courageous enough to be honest about that. When we do the wrong thing, the wrong thing happens. I lied to protect him. If I wouldn’t have lied, he wouldn’t have been protected. He would have had to be accountable. He has a previous domestic violence charge. But as women, we never want to see our men criminalized! We want to see them at their best. 

That very point is the emphasis behind my great desire to have some kind of open and public dialogue regarding this issue. There is no way for these men to get help without their becoming victims of their own personal weaknesses. My own abusive ex-boyfriend actually wanted to get help, but it was nearly impossible for him to find support for his issue … let alone someone he could trust who would help him work through his bad decisions and help him grow instead of robbing him of his life and punishing him. 

The B.O.C. McGee