Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Domestic Abuse and Violence in Gay Relationships (Part I)

I will admit up front that having spent much of my life engaged in taking care of assorted family members, that I have not been totally aware of many of the issues affecting my gay brothers and sisters. In many ways, the last several months have been eye opening for me as I have read novels by black,gay authors, met gay bloggers, fraternity brothers, and alums, dialogued with others in “the life,” and attended my first Pride in Hotlanta (I am still on cloud nine after the best Labor Day experience ever). One of the first novels that I read was “Passion Marks” by Lee Hayes. This was an emotionally difficult novel for me to read because I have such strong feelings about victims in our society, and the idea of domestic abuse and violence within gay relationships was cultural shock to me. The stories in the paper are more along the lines of gay victims of heterosexual attacks, but I can’t recall many articles about gay domestic abuse, especially those leading to death. Well, I finally made it through “Passion Marks” but with a sense of sadness and bewilderment that anyone could allow himself (or herself) to suffer physical abuse over a period time and not just simply walk out the door. To further cope with this novel, I reminded myself that this was fiction and did not want to think beyond that comfortable conclusion that allowed me to move forward.

Well, fate has a way of preparing you for things to come. I recently had dinner with a new friend, Maxim, who in passing conversation mentioned a relationship that he ended after being hit by his partner. I was stunned. In less than 30 days, I had gone from reading about gay domestic abuse to sitting across the table from a real live person who experienced it. Although, I let the moment pass, I called him later and asked if we could follow up on his remark and he agreed. (I tell his story with his permission). I will only summarize that conversation here. His partner, BigGuy, grew jealous of Maxim’s relationship to other people. As a kind-hearted person, Maxim does little things to help make his friends’ lives easier and has many friends.. As a result, he is well liked by a number of people. BigGuy, however, was a suspicious and jealous partner. On one occasion, BigGuy found the phone number of one of Maxim’s acquaintances in his wallet. They argued, Maxim was asked to remove his things from Big uy’s space. It didn’t matter that BigGuy was the only man in Maxim’s life and that he loved him. Jealousy, poor self-esteem and the need to confine and control Maxim created a highly volatile situation. Then when Maxim went to the house to remove his things, BigGuy backed him into a closet, blocking his escape and then hit and kicked him. After the assault stopped, BigGuy kept him in the closet for more than 30 minutes afraid to let him go. Then came the usual ploy of abusers who try to make the victim believe that they were pushed to that point by the victims actions but it won’t happen again. It is the well-known cop out of physical abusers like BigGuy that it is somehow the victims fault, and that the physical violence shows how deeply he loved Maxim. Fortunately, Maxim got out of this situation and relationship but the damage is done. Some folks are not as lucky.

I am sure that some of you have stories as bad or worse than this. Like I said earlier, this is eye popping to me. If you click on the title of this article, it will take you to a web site with reading on Domestic Violence in Gay Couples. I am also starting a "Domestic Violence in Gay Relationships" poll on Keith Boykins’ bulletin board on this topic. If you are or have been a victim or seen abuse in gay relationships, let’s blog about it. It should not be swept under the rug. If you are a victim or abuser, let’s talk about it.

Maxim introduced me to Tandy who has an even more horrific story. With his permission I will tell you how he was the victim of continuous abuse and was nearly killed in the process. To be continued in Part II. Shem hotep!

There’s no one I entirely trust,
there’s nowhere to go
It’s as if I’m trapped in some crazy freak show.
I no longer care to decipher what this is about
All I want is a license to Get The Hell Out.
--Excerpt from "Faceless People"


Rashid @ Old Gold Soul said...

Awwww damn....thank you for bringing this issue to our attention, Frat. I look forward to part II.

No4real4real said...

This was interesting indeed! I am unfamiliar with any actual accounts of domestic violence with same-gender loving couples. I more familiar with heterosexual couples and I can go on for hours about them. Either way it is important to bring attention to this problem. In doing do we empower people in this crisis to step away and get help early.

Very often I say that could never happen to me. I am sure everyone who had been abused has said the same thing but what separates the ones that do from the ones who don’t is personal inner strength. For those who lack that we need to encourage them that love isn’t an excuse for someone beating your ass.

Good job on the post and I look forward to Part 2.

No4real4real said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
No4real4real said...

It is encouraging to see from the article you have linked that 90% of gay men who were sampled left the abusive relationships as compared to 66% of women.

DaLite1 said...

I remember speaking with you prior to your entry about this post. I am well aware of the physical abuse in homosexual relationships. I have a very good friend who is in a relationship that has had its abusive moments...on particular incident was at the annual gay ski trip when he and his lover had it out in the hotel room resulting in someone being hit in the face with a crystal ash tray. In another more recent incident, during Brooklyn pride, I spent my evening in the hospital nursing another friend after being attacked by his lover, which resulted in him having a staple placed in his head. It still amazes me that people will remain in these types of situations. I want to get into further depth with you regarding these two situations and perhaps assist you on part two of your entry.

Clay said...

very interesting comment and you have opened my eyes -- ive had friends explain to me how they got into a fight with their partner, but i rarely look at it is "domestic violence" because they are both men and there isnt the same gender power dynamic with women. after reading this it makes me look at it different. be sure to revisit my blog!

Clay said...

sorry - i just had to come back and say you said on my blog: Brandy. Was she auditioning for "La Cage aux Folles?" -- that was hilarious!!!!!!!


Unfortunately, I have heard and this story many time. My God-Brother use to have sexual encounters with someone we grew up with. We consider this "someone" to be heterosexual. After their excounters he would fight my God Brother and beat the hell out of him. A few years ago in Newark, NJ (where I rest), a young lady stabbed her lover and killed her at a gay club. That type of drama I expect (I know that's insane), but the majority of my gay friends were in abusive relationships a some point in life. Great Post!