Thursday, September 22, 2005

Domestic Abuse and Violence in Gay Relationships (Part II)

Abuse in relationships is any behavior or pattern of behavior used to coerce, dominate or isolate the other partner. It is the use of any form of power that is imposed by one partner over the other to maintain control within the relationship.

At 23 years old, Tandy’s life literally hung in the balance as he gazed fearfully in the eyes of his lover, his partner, and his benefactor who now held him suspended 71 stories above the ground. Only moments earlier, he had been sleeping next to this man who had alternately shown him love and passion mixed with jealousy and insecurity. How had he come to this frightening state of affairs? He was a recent college graduate from Historic University who had come out during his college years to a few friends. Along the way, he met Professional, a highly successful entrepreneur who offered him a glittering world of cars, access to money, a great apartment but most of all a committed relationship. In retrospect, Tandy realized there were early signs of trouble when Professional told him he would never hurt him physically, that it would be mentally if it came to that.

More signs of trouble began to appear in the relationship. Tandy’s whereabouts had to be explained, meals had to be prepared just right, and then the physical abuse followed. Since Tandy was not out to his family and was several thousand miles away from his home, he was left to the mercy of his on again/off again partner. Professional became more controlling and even used the fact that Tandy was not out to his family as a means of threatening and controlling him (the mental abuse). Professional would roll out the phone number and address of Tandy’s family to show that he had the power to expose him and hopefully ruin his family ties and further isolating him. Not only that, he threatened to reveal the details of their sexual relationship in a fashion that would surely destroy Tandy’s parent’s image of their son.

Meanwhile, Tandy continued to try to make the relationship work. His own personality was submerged under the torment of his abuser. Life alternated between passion and violence. Beatings and lovemaking, sexual domination and being thrown out of the apartment turned into Tandy’s full-blown nightmare. Tandy was forced from the apartment on occasion and all of his possession thrown out into the hallway by Professional. Then Professional would retrieve them, fold them as though nothing had occurred and look to Tandy for forgiveness and forgetfulness. A carefully prepared meal to show his love for Professional was thrown in the floor and would lead to a beat down.

But nothing compares to knowing that you are literally at the point of death because of the person you love so deeply. With his feet dangling in mid-air, Tandy was held over the balcony of the apartment they shared by Professional whose abusive nature had now reached a peak. What better way to exert control than to show that Tandy’s very life was in his hands? Tandy was experiencing the ultimate humiliating experience, while Professional was exercising the ultimate display of power over his victim. They reconciled that night only to have the physical abuse continue with Professional violently kicking Tandy while cornered in a closet (yes, just like Maxim in Part I).

Tandy became one of the lucky ones. Realizing the destructive relationship that he had with Professional, he decided to escape. In the middle of the night, Tandy put all of his possessions in his SUV and drove across country, back to his parent’s home. The phone calls from Professional have stopped coming now. Tandy is one of the most mature friends that the Fratman1906 has met. His eyes still moisten as he tells his story, and his life is changed forever. But he is stronger, and he is one of the lucky ones because he is alive to tell his story. Not only that, he uses his real life experiences to guide his younger brothers in "the life" in hopes they will not have to endure the same experiences as he. Moreover, he is in a loving, affirming relationship with Dr.P.

I had planned two entries on this topic, Maxim’s story and Tandy’s story. But wait; what happens when you must accompany your friend to the emergency room after a violent abuser has victimized him. Part III will tell the story from Friend. If you have a story, comment on it here or take the poll and talk about it on Keith Boykin's board. Pay close attention to the entry by KennethWinfrey on September 21. Want to know more on this topic? Just click the title of this entry. If you are a victim or a perpetrator, seek help.

Shem hotep!

1 comment:

Clay said...

you still got me thinking on this man ... once again, good post