Category Archives: ipva

IPV/A related Posts

Louder Than The Silence!

      WESURVIVEABUSE.COM, the well-respected and go-to-it domestic violence and abuse online resource, has honored Yours Truly by featuring my brand new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”  The overarching theme of “FRENZY!” is Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A),which is domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ Community.  IPV/A–demoralizing and potentially life-threatening behavior–significantly impacts the LGBTQ Community.

        Tonya GJ Prince is the founder of Wesurviveabuse.com.  An expert in both domestic and sexual violence issues, Ms. Prince has more than two decades of experience in these critical arenas. Her particular emphasis is crisis counseling and education.  Herself a survivor, the prolific Ms. Prince is an author, advocate, counselor, motivational speaker and mentor.

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     To read the feature, visit:  www.wesurviveabuse.com/2016/10/the-forbidden-truth-about-intimate.html  Tonya, thanks for your invaluable, continuing support!

Broken Bones, Broken Dreams—An Update

Cover photo by Don Gillard     

Towering over me and yelling at the top of his lungs, Antonio, my 6’4”, 280 pound muscled life partner, had me pinned against the wall–his huge, clammy left hand now grasping my neck!  I couldn’t move.                                          

    All the while, the following thoughts flashed in my head:   “This can’t be happening!  How can the man who’s repeatedly professed his undying love be doing this to me?  How can he hurt me this way? HOW???” 

    And then, Antonio…!    

    These are excerpts from my latest novel, Nothing Can Tear Us Apart–RAGE!”  The two protagonists are ‘Tonio and Wes, who are in a monogamous relationship 

     Tragically, ‘Tonio allows old demons and vicious manipulations to cause him to snap.  As a result, he batters Wes—committing the horrendous act of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A).    

     “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”, the riveting and searing sequel, drops in October. “FRENZY!” continues the saga of Wes and ‘Tonio, delving even deeper inside the psyches of these two men.  You, the reader, will find out what buried traumas drive these men.  And, get ready for more masculine romance, rich psychological drama, intrigue, action, twists and turns—and provocative sexual situations. 

     Right after the release of “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!,” I embark on a national book tour and IPV/A seminars/workshops.  Stay tuned right here at Wyattevans.com for news and details.

     Nearly two years ago, I interviewed Kyle, a victim of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.  His was a raw and revealing story.

     Fortunately, he made his “Great Escape” from this life-threatening situation in just the nick of time.  I decided to follow up with this survivor, to find out how life has been treating him.

     Before sharing “life after,” I’m recounting his horrific experience with IPV/A.  But first, let’s understand exactly what this abusive behavior is…and its ramifications.  

So:  Just What Is “Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A)”? 

     In the LGBTQ community, domestic violence/abuse is generally referred to as Intimate Partner Violence/Abuse (IPV/A).  The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs defines IPV/A as “a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control, through fear and intimidation, over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship.” 

     Anyone—and I do mean anyone–can become a victim of domestic violence and abuse, regardless of size, strength, age, gender, or sexual orientation.  I’m an IPV/A survivor, and know of others who’ve experienced this dysfunctional and destructive behavior first hand. 

      Statistics show that this form of behavior occurs with similar frequency as in heterosexual relationships.    Additionally, new research suggests that a greater percentage of LGBTQ individuals are living in fear of an abusive partner than previously thought.  It is estimated that each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay men are battered.   About one in four LGBTQ relationships/partnerships are abusive in some way—about the same as in heterosexual relationships. 

     However, IPV/A is often overlooked, excused, or denied.  And according to psychologists/authors Jeanne Segal and Melinda Smith, the emotional abuse component is a larger problem than you believe.   They state, “Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive.  Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimized or overlooked, even by the person being abused.”  Examples include using offensive/derogatory names, racial epithets and homophobic language.

     As I stated in “It’s (Just) the Way That I Love You:  Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse in Same-Sex Relationships,” the multi-part series I researched and wrote exclusively for Huffington Post Queer Voices, there are numerous signs of IPV/A.  The most telling is fear of your partner, that you feel you have to “walk on eggshells” around him/her.  Other prominent signs:  excusing frequent injuries as “accidents;” agreeing to everything your partner says/does; being forced into sexual activity; isolating you; threatening to “out” you; blaming you for his/her actions.    

     Now, here’s the “universal Q”:  Can abusers really control their behavior?    Yes!  Typically, according to Segal and Smith, they reserve their actions for those whom they profess to love.  Abusers carefully choose when and where to strike, and cease their destructive behavior when it’s advantageous for them.

     And then there’s the story of Kyle.  

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Kyle’s Story

    Kyle, a twenty-eight-year-old Caucasian, is an IPV/A survivor.  He agreed to sit down with me on the condition that I refer to him by his middle name.  Kyle says that “Derrick,” his ex-partner, a thirty-year-old African-American, horrifically abused him for nearly two years.   

     EVANS:  Kyle, thanks for agreeing to share your important story.  When and how did you meet Derrick?

     KYLE:  (His eyes light up.) It was in mid-January 2011, at a Sprint store in Laurel (Maryland). Our eyes locked, and the chemistry was instantaneous! 

     KYLE:  He initiated a conversation, and we walked out of the store together.  He took my number, and said he’d call.  (Pause.)  I couldn’t wait!  I was so damned attracted. 

     EVANS:  Kyle, exactly what was the attraction?

     KYLE:  Wyatt, I was very needy.  Derrick was easy-going and self-assured, and seemed nurturing. And so handsome!  He was that “daddy” I was looking for. 

     EVANS:  When did he call?

     KYLE:  Late that night, and we talked for hours!  Derrick wanted to see me the next evening, at my apartment.   Since he was insistent, I agreed.  I was flattered.

    EVANS:  And that evening?

     KYLE:  Immediately, we ended up in bed.  And the sex was absolutely mind-blowing!  We became a couple right after that.

     EVANS:  So Kyle, how long did the “honeymoon” last?

     KYLE:  (He laughs nervously.)  Not very long.  Derrick became possessive—constantly calling to check up on me.  Wanting me with him practically 24/7.  Isolating me.   He was such an overwhelming presence.

     KYLE:  But being needy, I liked it–at first.  Thought it was love.  I kept saying to myself, “I’m so lucky to have him!”  

     KYLE:  And the sex was a drug. 

     EVANS:  Things became even more extreme, correct? 

     KYLE:  Absolutely!  The mind control began.  Derrick told me how to think, act, and dress.  And my biggest mistake was agreeing to let him move in with me. 

    KYLE:  (suddenly becoming solemn.)  The verbal—racial crap, etc.—started soon after. 

    EVANS:  And the physical?

    (Kyle takes a deep breath.) 

   KYLE:  A few weeks after moving in, he accuses me of cheating.  Totally ridiculous!  Derrick was all up in my face, shouting.  I was totally petrified!

   KYLE:  (Pause.)  Then, he decks me.  Hard!  I fall to the floor. 

   (Kyle begins to sob.  I ask him to take his time.)

   KYLE:  I was completely “out of it.”  Then, Derrick grabs me by the collar, screaming, “You nasty little white whore!  Wake tha f**k up!  We ain’t done yet!” 

   KYLE:  Next, he drags me to the bathroom.  To the toilet!  And then he…”

   EVANS:  And then he “what, Kyle?  (He’s sobbing heavily now, rocking back and forth.  He’s in “flashback mode.”) 

   KYLE:  He…he shoves my head into the toilet!  Over and over again! (Pause.)  Water’s all up my nose.  I’m gasping for air.  I felt like I’d pass out! 

   KYLE:  (Long pause.)  Actually, I just wanted to go to sleep…and not wake up.

    (Kyle states that the verbal and physical abuse worsened and escalated.   Fortunately, another gay couple helped him make his “Great Escape.”

    EVANS:  Kyle, why did you stay as long as you did?

    KYLE:  Out of fear, shame and the stigma.  (He gulps.)  And definitely a serious lack of self-worth.   

    Kyle’s moved out of the area, and is in counseling.  And, Derrick?  Well, he’s doing jail time.  

 

Fast Forward…To Now 

     EVANS:  Kyle, it’s been awhile since we last spoke.  How have you been getting along?

     KYLE:  Well Wyatt, I have to admit that in the beginning it was rough!  What Derrick put me through shook me to my very core.  (Pause.)  Actually, shattered me.

     EVANS:  And speaking of Derrick—is he still in prison?

     KYLE:  Yes.

     EVANS:   Do you know when his sentence ends?

     KYLE:  Actually, in the not too distant future.  I’m going to get confirmation on that soon. 

     EVANS:  How do you feel about his impending release?

     KYLE:  (Dread washes over his face.)  Not good!  Not good at all.

     EVANS:  You began therapy right after you relocated, correct?

     KYLE:  I did.

     EVANS:  Kyle, how did that work for you?

     KYLE:  Well, I had to go through two counselors before finding the right one for me.  She’s amazing!

     EVANS:  Are you still seeing her?

     KYLE:  Off and on now.  In the beginning, I saw her once a week—sometimes twice—for a little over a year.  It was a struggle, but well worth it.

     EVANS:  You know, I’m a strong advocate of psychological counseling.  At various points in my life, I’ve been “on the couch” for different issues—including IPV/A.  It was invaluable.

     KYLE:  Wyatt, my therapist saved my life!  She helped me deal with my issues, repair my self-worth and self-esteem.  Because of her, I’ve been able to put my life back together. 

     KYLE:  (Next, he smiles.)  Well, more or less.

     EVANS:  Kyle, I’m so happy for you!  Are you dating now? 

     KYLE:  Actually, I am!  One guy.  I’m taking things slow, however.

     EVANS:  Excellent!  Kyle, what words of encouragement and wisdom do you have for victims who are trapped in an abusive relationship?

     KYLE:  First and foremost:  no one deserves to be abused!  Second:  it is NOT your fault!  It never is.  Third:  you must tell as many people as possible, people whom you trust.  Somehow, you must make your “Great Escape,” the phrase you’ve coined.  But keep in mind:  you need a well thought-out plan and strategy before attempting to leave your abuser.  That’s critical. 

     KYLE:  I will never again allow myself to be in an abusive situation!  I’ll run like hell as soon as I see the warning signs.

     EVANS:  Thanks so much, Kyle.  Your story is an inspiration!  Continued good luck to you.

     KYLE:  And thank you, Wyatt. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901).  And always remember:  it ain’t (just) the way that he/she loves you.

“The Comeback Kid”: How Your Abuser Wins You Back

     So finally, you’ve managed to make your “Great Escape” from your abuser.  (Great Escape is the term I’ve coined for my LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse workshops and seminars.)  And after he/she fully absorbs that you’ve indeed found or reclaimed your backbone and guts, the counteroffensive begins in earnest with “plastic” pleas that include, “I really didn’t mean it,” “I was just so stressed out,” and/or “I promise it will not happen again ‘cause I love you to death!”  (“Love you to death?”  Trust and believe:  that’s something you really don’t want.)      

       You see, he/she is trying to reel you back in, to slither right back into your life.  And if you let that happen—at the very least without him/her taking full responsibility for their actions and getting individual counseling–it can be disastrous to you emotionally, mentally, and physically.  And potentially life-threatening.

     Before I detail how the abuser stages a return to win you back, let’s understand exactly what Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, or IPV/A, is–and it’s cycle of abuse.  Simply put, this horrendous conduct is referred to as domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ community.  According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, it is the “pattern of behavior used to establish power and control through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence, when one person believes that they are entitled to control another.”  The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs defines it as “a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship.”  

      Statistics show that this form of abuse occurs with similar frequency as in heterosexual relationships.    Additionally, new research suggests that a greater percentage of LGBTQ individuals are living in fear of an abusive partner than previously thought.  And each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay men are battered, and about one in four LGBTQ relationships/partnerships are abusive in some way. 

      According to psychologists and authors Jeanne Segal and Melinda Smith, “Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only:  to gain and maintain total control over you.  An abuser doesn’t ‘play fair.’  Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her ‘thumb.’  Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.”

     The Network/La Red, whom I’ve interviewed for the Huffington Post Queer Voices, weighs in.  Located in Boston, it is a survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in the LGBTQ community.  “Abuse is not about violence; it’s about control,” according to the organization.  “You can be just as controlling of someone if you are small—as if you’re large.  It’s about using violence or any other means of gaining and maintaining control.”

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     Segal and Smith add, “The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult.  You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.”

     So, what is the complete cycle of IPV/A?  According to the psychologists, this behavior falls into a common pattern, which begins with abuse and ends with the set-up:

  • Abuse. Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior.  The abuse is a power play intended to “keep you in line, and show you who’s boss.”
  • Guilt. After abusing you, your partner feels guilt—but not over what he/she’s done.  The abuser is more concerned about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for the abusive behavior.
  • Excuses. Your abuser rationalizes what he/she has done, devising a string of excuses or blaming you for the abusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
  • “Normal” Behavior. The abuser does everything to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship.  Your abuser may act as if nothing has occurred, or he/she may pour on the charm.  The abuser’s apologies and loving overtures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult for you to leave.  Your abuser may make you believe that you are the only person who can help, that things will be different, and that he/she truly loves you.  However, the dangers of staying are very real.
  • Fantasy and Planning. Your abuser starts to fantasize about abusing you again, spending a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how he/she’ll make you pay.  Next, the abuser devises a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.   (Here’s Part A of an example:  he/she tells you to go to the store, but doesn’t tell you that you have a certain amount of time to return.  When you’re a few minutes late because you were held up in traffic, for example, your abuser assaults you.)
  • Set-Up. Your abuser sets you up and puts his/her plan into motion, creating a situation where he/she can justify abusing you.   (Part B of the preceding example:  when you’re a few minutes late, your partner feels totally justified in attacking you because, according to him/her,  “you’re having an affair with the store clerk or manager.”)      

     Now, onto how the abuser attempts to slither, worm his/her way back into your life after you’ve made your glorious Great Escape.  The LaSalle Parish, Louisiana sheriff’s office lists these classic “Take Me Back Tactics:”

  • The Honeymoon Syndrome. Also referred to as “Hearts and Flowers,” this is any bribe to get you to return—and the sooner the better.  “The abuser will turn on the charm and promise to change.  He/she will promise to get therapy, promise not to hurt you again, and tell you how wonderful you are, saying things like, ‘I know I don’t deserve you, but if you’ll take me back’…”
  • The Revival Syndrome. “’I have been going to church since you left.  I have accepted religion into my life’.”  But, has the violence ended?  Well, don’t be duped and taken in.  “Just because he/she says he goes to church does not mean that the abuse and violence can’t be right around the corner.  Many ‘God-fearing’ people abuse, rape, beat and murder their partners!”
  • The Sobriety Syndrome. It’s a fact that abusers have a higher incidence of substance dependence.  Even when they deny it, abusers are aware that they have a problem or aware that YOU believe they have a problem.  “When faced with losing their partners, they suddenly ‘see the light’ and swear they will never touch it again.  You want to hear it and believe it and you will support his effort.  You should!  Encourage him/her to see a doctor, join a support group and seek therapy.  Don’t fall for the promise unless and until you see him/her actively participating in sobriety with OUTSIDE HELP.  Counseling can also address problems and issues to help the abuser substitute healthier behaviors for destructive coping mechanisms.”
  • Counseling Syndrome. Abusers utilize this tactic to (1) get you to stay, and (2) maintain control and intimidation. “Abusers cannot just stop their behaviors without assistance to overcome issues and replace destructive behaviors with healthy ones.  Appropriate counseling cannot be done WITH the victim present.  The victim is not free to say what they think without fear of repercussion.  Batters must take full responsibility for their actions, must understand and admit that THEY have the problem and must be dedicated to make positive long-term changes.  Couples counseling can come later, when the abuser begins to show positive changes in behavior.” 

       If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233), Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901), or  The Network/La Red’s Hotline (1-617-742-4911).

     And always remember:  It ain’t (just) the way that he/she loves you.

The Myths of IPV/A

     As a journalist and public/motivational speaker, one of my signature issues is Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A)–the term used for domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ community.  Sadly and too often, this demoralizing, heinous and horrific behavior is “swept under the rug”–particularly when it involves gay/SGL (same-gender loving) men. 

     The misguided belief that “Oh, you know…boys will be boys!” continues to permeate, and disgustingly so.  Therefore, the crime of IPV/A tends to be grossly underreported.  

     And without a shadow of a doubt, it is a criminal offense.

     In this article, I’m focusing on the Ten Myths associated with Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.  But before I do that, allow me to present my “IPV/A Primer.” 

     So, exactly what is this potentially life-threatening pattern of behavior?    What’s it all about?  What are its ramifications?

     IPV/A is, according to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, the “pattern of behavior used to establish power and control through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence, when one person believes that they are entitled to control another.”  Meanwhile, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs defines IPV/A as “a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship.”  

      Statistics show that this form of abuse occurs with similar frequency as in heterosexual relationships.    Additionally, new research suggests that a greater percentage of LGBTQ individuals are living in fear of an abusive partner than previously thought.  And each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay men are battered, and about one in four LGBTQ relationships/partnerships are abusive in some way. 

     According to psychologists and authors Jeanne Segal and Melinda Smith, “Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only:  to gain and maintain total control over you.  An abuser doesn’t ‘play fair.’  Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her ‘thumb.’  Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.”

     Segal and Smith add, “The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult.  You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.”

     Now, let’s explore those myths.  Courtesy of the Haven Women’s Center in Stanislaus County, California, you’ll see that they’re real humdingers and whoppers.  In no particular order, they are:

 

  • Domestic Violence is more common in straight relationships than it is in lesbian or gay relationships. But here’s the truth:  “Do not assume that gay men and lesbians are less violent than heterosexual men and women.  Best estimates of same-sex domestic violence according to research and statistics gathered from the lesbian and gay community is that domestic violence in gay and lesbian relationships is approximately 25-32 percent (basically the same percentage as in the heterosexual community).”
  • It isn’t really violence when a same-sex couple fights. It is just a “lover’s quarrel” between equals.  But here’s the truth:   “There is nothing equal or fair about domestic violence.  Being thrown against a wall or enduring endless criticism from an angry lover does not entail fairness.  Further, dismissing domestic violence as ‘just a lover’s quarrel’ trivializes the violence and gives tacit consent for it to continue.  Just because the two people are the same gender does not make it a fight between ‘equals.’  Many battered gays and lesbians fight back to defend themselves—it is a myth that same-sex battering is ‘mutual’.  There is almost always a primary aggressor.”
  • The batterer will always be butch, bigger, stronger. The victim will always be femme, smaller, weaker.  But here’s the truth:   “This is simply not true.  Size, weight, butch, femme, or any other physical attribute or role is not an indicator of whether or not a person will be a victim or a batterer.  A person who is 5’2”, prone to violence and very angry can do a lot of damage to someone who may be taller, heavier, stronger and non-violent.”
  • People who are abusive and under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not responsible for their actions. But here’s the truth:  “Violence is a choice, and there are better choices.  Every person is responsible for every action taken.  Drugs and alcohol are excuses for battering.  There is evidence to show that batterers who abuse drugs and alcohol are equally likely to batter while sober.  If a person who batters is on drugs or alcohol, that person has two serious and very separate problems.  Using drugs or alcohol does NOT relieve a person of responsibility for his/her own conduct.
  • The law does not and will not protect victims of lesbian and gay men’s domestic violence. But here’s the truth:  “It depends somewhat on where you live, but in the United States, heterosexuality is not a criterion for protection under the law.  LGBTQ victims can get restraining orders.  Domestic violence is against the law for LGBTQ people, too!”
  • Lesbian and gay domestic violence is sexual behavior—a version of S&M. The victims actually like it.  But here’s the truth:  “Domestic violence is not sexual behavior.  In S&M relationships, there is some contract or agreement about the limits or boundaries or the behavior, even when pain is involved.  Domestic violence entails no such contract. Domestic violence is abuse, manipulation and control that is unwanted by the victim.  Domestic violence cannot be dismissed as sexual behavior.  There is no similarity whatsoever.”
  • Domestic violence occurs primarily among gay men and lesbians who hang out at bars, are poor, or people of color.But here’s the truth:  “Domestic violence is a non-discriminatory phenomenon.  Batterers come from all walks of life, all racial/ethnic groups, all socioeconomic strata, and all educational levels.  The LGBTQ community includes members of every other minority and majority group (ethnic, religious, racial, socioeconomic, immigration status, etc.).  Domestic violence occurs proportionally across all groupings and categories of people.  No group is exempt.
  • Victims often provoke the violence done to them. They’re getting what they “deserve.”  But here’s the truth:  “That is absolutely untrue.  Violent behavior is solely the responsibility of the violent person.  Batters choose violence; victims do not ‘provoke’ it.  This myth is common among both batterers and victims of domestic violence, and is probably a strong force that keeps the victims in abusive relationships.
  • It is easier for lesbian or gay victims of domestic violence to leave abusive relationships than it is for heterosexual counterparts who are married. If it were really that bad, they would just leave.  But here’s the truth:  “Lesbian and gay couples are as intertwined and involved in each other’s lives as are heterosexual couples.  Due to the lack of societal support, many lesbians and gay men are more ‘protective’ of the relationship and less likely to leave despite the abuse. Leaving is often the hardest thing for a victim to accomplish—harder, for instance, than staying.  Batterers threaten their victims with more violence (including threats of murder) if they leave.  Threatening to leave may put the victim in more danger.  Leaving also requires strength, self-confidence, self-reliance, and a healthy self-esteem.  Those qualities have been eroded by the abuse.  Leaving a violent partner also means leaving one’s home, friends, children and community. A lesbian or gay man may be extremely isolated.”
  • Lesbian and gay domestic violence is the same as domestic violence between a man and a woman. But here’s the truth:  “The dynamics of same-gender relationships are not the same as in heterosexual relationships.  The stresses of being without full legal protections and the lack of societal support for their relationships are added stresses for the lesbian or gay relationship.  Therefore, lesbians and gay men will not respond to stress in their relationship the same way as heterosexual individuals do.  Lesbian relationships and gay men’s relationships will not look like nor respond to stress and abuse within the relationship the same way as heterosexual relationships.”

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     At times, when I conduct talks and seminars on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, I have to dispel some or all of these myths.  You see, in order for us to help put a stop to this demoralizing, heinous and horrific behavior, we have to change our way of thinking.  Because, make no mistake:  lives are at risk

     And always remember:   It ain’t (just) the way that he/she loves you.

 

If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901).

Mature man resting head in hands, side view

“Will It Ever End???,” Part Two

“After years of being beaten and emotionally abused, I managed to gather the strength and courage to leave him.  I thought that finally, I was in the clear!  But how wrong I was…

   “He beat the crap out of one of my buddies–to find out where I was!  And before you know it, he ‘popped up’ on me, and…”

    These are the words from a victim of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A)–the term used for domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ Community.  Unfortunately for him, his torture didn’t end–-even though he managed to separate from his abuser.  Part Two of “Will It Ever End???” is his story.

    Anyone (and I do mean anyone) can become a victim of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse–regardless of size, strength, age, gender, race/ethnicity, station in life or sexual orientation.   The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs defines IPV/A as “a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control, through fear and intimidation, over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship.”  It is estimated that each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay/SGL (same gender loving) men are battered.   About one in four LGBTQ relationships/ partnerships are abusive in some way.  

    As I stated in Part One of “Will It Ever End???”, one of the most pervasive and entrenched myths regarding IPV/A is that victims will be safe if they could simply leave their abusers.  In fact, far too many people believe that victims are free to leave their abusers at any time–and will naturally do so once the level of violence becomes “enough” to force that change.   

    However, leaving doesn’t usually put an end to the violence and abuse.  Time and time again, this can be the most dangerous point in a relationship.  This period is what’s called Separation Violence and Assault.  I give it the acronym, SVA.  

    According to www.aardvarc.org, a respected domestic violence information website, “Instead, (leaving) actually increases dynamics of violence and can initiate new levels of violence and new forms of retaliation from the abuser to the victim.  In fact, many abusers believe that the victim ‘belongs’ to them, and that as such, they are fully justified in doing whatever it takes to make sure that ‘their property’ remains theirs.”  In an attempt to force the victim to reconcile with him/her, an abuser may escalate the violence.  

    That’s exactly what Malik, a thirty-three-year-old, 5’9”, compactly and tightly built African-American, experienced.  He’s an engaging, articulate and polished manager with the Federal Government.

    Malik’s ex-partner is T. J., who was a security guard for his agency.  He described the Black twenty-nine-year-old as “damned good-looking,” a little over six feet, and “clocking in” at 220 pounds.  And powerfully built.  

    According to Malik, he suffered horrific emotional, mental and physical abuse at the hands of T. J. for more than two years.

    Recently, the rapidly-rising professional sat down with me, graciously and bravely sharing his particularly harrowing and heartbreaking account of IPV/A—and the SVA on the heels of it.

    Malik is a friend of an acquaintance of mine who stated that before the violence and abuse, Malik had an inner glow, an inner light that emanated from his saucer-like, hazel eyes.   

    But during his ordeal, not so much.   

    Wyatt:  Malik, thanks so much for agreeing to tell us your important story, one that shines a bright light on both Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, and its outgrowth, Separation Violence and Assault.

    Malik:  Sure, Wyatt.  Glad to be of help.

    Wyatt:  So Malik, let’s begin here:  when and how did you meet T. J.?

    Malik:  Oh, I remember it well!  (Light seems to flicker in those gorgeous eyes!)   In 2012, he was hired as a security guard at my D.C. agency.  (Malik no longer lives in metro Washington.)  I came to work one February morning, and he was there.

    Wyatt:   What were your initial impressions of him?

    Malik:  “Gawd,” Wyatt!  It was like this instant, organic attraction!  T. J. was so masculine, dominant, commanding.  He’d served in the military and had that “daddy thang” goin’ on.  The attraction, the chemistry between us was instantaneous!   It was like, “booyah!”  Know what I mean?

    Wyatt:  Oh, hell yeah.  (I’m chuckling.)

    Malik:  People talk about my eyes.  But his were, like, these sharp, probing and penetrating eagle eyes!  Simply mesmerizing.

    Wyatt:  What happened next?  

    Malik:  Oh how I fought the attraction!  But only for a little bit.  (Pause.)  But he didn’t.  He “got off” on flirting with me—coolly, strategically, discretely.  Soon, I did a little of it myself.  Hell, I couldn’t wait to see him when I entered the building in the morning, when I exited, etc.

    Wyatt:  Whoa!  Well now, as they say, “inquiring minds wanna know:” who finally made the first move?

    Malik:  (He smiles.)  T. J. did.  Usually, there was another guard with him at the post.  However, one Friday at lunch, about three weeks after we’d first laid eyes on each other, he was by himself for a few minutes.  And, I was the only person walking towards him.

    Wyatt:  This is getting good.

    Malik:  The “brotha” used those few minutes quite well!  Getting up on me, he whispered, “Yo, look.  Let’s stop the games.  Since we’re both attracted to one another, let’s get to know each other much better.”  To say the least, I got flushed and red in the face.

    Malik:  Then quickly looking around and without missing a beat, he added, “Before somebody else walks up, write yo’ digits on here (slip of paper), and I’ll buzz ya tonight.”  Instead of giving me HIS number, he demanded mine.  The whole thing was like, “Rat-a-tat-tat!  (Pause.)  But I loved it.

    Wyatt:  So buddy, you turned “ovah dem digits,” eh?

    Malik.  “Sho’ nuff.”  (He nods, smiling.)

    Wyatt:  When did he call?

    Malik:  That night.  We had a long conversation—I learned that he was a Vet, having done a tour in Afghanistan.  After that, he floated from job to job…I could tell he was a bit lost, had a lack of direction…he was trying to find his way.  He said that college didn’t interest him.  Then, he got the security job at my agency.

    Wyatt:  Malik, was any of that a “red flag” for you?

    Malik:  Not really…but maybe it should have been.  However Wyatt, I thought to myself, “He is working.  And who knows?  I just might be able to help him ‘find himself’, and inspire him to reach his fullest potential.”

    Malik:  (Quickly, he added:)  I was just so turned on by his masculinity, his forcefulness, his dominance!   I’m into those type of guys, who have that “daddy vibe” goin’ on.  (Pause.)  And his body and looks very much added to the appeal!  And, I have to admit that I was emotionally needy.

    Wyatt:  Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse pick up on that immediately–and exploit the hell out of it!  So, what happened next?

    Malik:  (Taking a deep breath.)  Well, he proposed—no actually, he told me—that we’d have lunch the next afternoon, that Saturday.  I liked his take-charge attitude.  However, he did allow me to choose the place.

    Wyatt:  Which was?

     Malik:  Mrs. K’s Toll House Restaurant in Silver Spring, Maryland.

     Wyatt:  I knew that eatery well.  It’s quaint, has a relaxed ambience, and provides impeccable service.  One of my favorites.

     Malik:  Exactly.  

     Wyatt:  How did that first date turn out?

     Malik:  First, I was nervous as hell!  I waited for him in the lobby.  He was like twenty minutes late.  I didn’t know what was up—no call, no text.    

    Wyatt:  He didn’t show?

    Malik:  Actually, he did!  But with no explanation.  He just walked up to me, gave  me a sly smile, and ushered me to the reservation person.  As we were led to our table, I started to sweat and my knees began to shake.    

    Wyatt:  “Daymn.”

    Malik:  But almost immediately, he put me at ease!  And Wyatt, he smelled good, looked good—showing off his muscles.   S**t, I was hooked.

    Wyatt:   And?

    Malik:  It was awesome!  And boy, did he serve up the sexual innuendos.

    Wyatt:  And?

    Malik:  After the meal, he said, “Yo.  Let’s go to your place to get better acquainted.”  And with a wink he added, “Don’tcha think it’s time?” (Pause.)  I agreed.  And guess what?

    Wyatt:  He squeezed my ass in the parking lot.

   Wyatt:  (Grinning.)  “Lawd,” I pretty much know what happened next.

    Malik:  I’ll keep it “PG” and just say that the sex—the lovemaking—was passionate, red-hot, mind-blowing!  Wyatt, I’ll use your coined word of “HAWT!”   

    Wyatt:  Well, what was the “afterwards” like?   

    Malik:  I told him that I was NOT into “booty calls;” that at the very least, I was looking for just one guy as a “sex buddy.”  T. J. said that he was “on the same page.”

“The Honeymoon Phase Always Ends for Everyone.”—Rose Leslie, Actress, “Game of Thrones.”

    Wyatt:  Alright.  Now, you guys were in what we call the Honeymoon Phase.  

    Malik:  (As he laughs out loud, his captivating hazel eyes light up.) Correct.  Man, things between us were great!  The sex got hotter and hotter!  It became a freakin’ drug.  

    Malik:  T. J. was attentive.   We enjoyed doing things together, etc., etc.  Hey: I was seeing relationship potential.

   Wyatt:  I see.  Now, how did you guys handle/navigate the fact that you both worked at the same job site?

    Malik:  We were cool!  Extremely.  Kept it all on the DL—we made certain that no one knew what was up.

    Wyatt:  Malik, at some point during the “honeymoon period,” the abuser starts to reveal his true self.  When did that happen you?

     Malik:  About three months in.  And, I was clueless.

    Wyatt:  Malik, thinking back, what were some signs?

    Malik:  Here we go:  if I went out to lunch, asking me where I was going.  Constantly calling and texting, keeping tabs on me.  After work, wanting me with him nearly 24/7.  Isolating me from family and friends.  Strongly suggesting how I should think and act, and what I should wear.  

    Malik:  When you think about it, it was mind-control.  And, he was so “slick” about it all!  It was a f**cking brilliant strategy.  

    Malik:  (His eyes fogging up.)  But I liked it, and felt flattered–at first.  You see, I believed he was demonstrating his love.  I kept saying to myself, “Dang!  I’m so lucky that this guy wants me and is so into me.”  I was becoming his possession.

    Wyatt:  And as you and I know, there was more to it.  (Pause.)  Would you mind sharing?

    Malik:  Wyatt, as I’ve said earlier, I was so emotionally needy!  (At this point,  he hesitates.)   You see, I’m Poz (HIV-Positive).  Thankfully, I’m healthy with an undetectable viral load.  I thought, over and over, “Wow!  This hot, masculine, HIV-Neg guy wants me, even though I’m infected!  Me!”   So, I became very anxious to please him, and found myself agreeing to much of everything he said and did.

    Wyatt:  Classic IPV/A.

    Malik:  (He shakes his head, and tries to stop from weeping.)  I know, I know.  When I look back at it, I feel just f**cking horrible.    

Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse

 

“First Strike”

    Wyatt:  Things escalated, correct?

    Malik:  Indeed.  T. J. said he was having financial difficulties, was months behind in his rent, and they were going to kick him out.  So, I agreed to have him move in with me.  (Pause.)  But actually, it was more manipulation, coercion on his part.  Worst decision I could’ve ever made.

    Malik:  As T. J. expressed excessive jealousy towards my family and friends, the isolation intensified.  He insulted my intelligence—I realized he was jealous of my position at work.  He humiliated me on a regular basis, calling me all kinds of derogatory names.  He’d yell at me constantly.  He controlled my spending.  

    Malik:  (Now, beginning to out-and-out cry.)  In effect, I was his property!  The situation was fu**kin’ “cray-cray.”  I felt like such a loser, so powerless.  So worthless.  Deeply depressed.

    Wyatt:  Easy, Malik.  I’m so sorry.  Take your time.

    Malik:  (Not meaning to cut me off, he kept going.)  The “muf**ker”  pressured me into sex!  He’d make me do stuff I really didn’t wanna do, that…you know, made my skin crawl…”

    (In my talks with victims of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, I hear this “storyline” over and over again.  And each time, it saddens me.  Profoundly.)

    Wyatt:  You told me that T. J. threatened to “out” your HIV status.

    Malik:  He did.  On numerous occasions.  

    Wyatt:  Malik, how did that make you feel?

    Malik:  (Inhaling.)  I was absolutely petrified!  Those threats “really kept me in line.”

    Wyatt:  When did the physical violence and abuse began?

    Malik:  One night, we were at a club, where I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in like eons!  He embraced me, just a friendly hug.  Without warning, he pulled the guy off of me and dragged me out of the club.  

    Wyatt:  Jesus.

    Malik:  (Now, he’s crying.)  Oh, yeah.  In my apartment, he beat the crap out of  me!  I had to miss nearly a week of work because of the black eye.  (He added:)  T. J. was a clever one—he made sure NOT to damage my face in subsequent beatings, so that folk wouldn’t talk.

    Malik:  On top of all that, he had the audacity to blame me for his actions!  He’d yell, “It’s all your fault, dammit!  You make me do what I do!  You’re fu**kin’ lucky to have me, considering you’re Poz!”  And when he cooled down, he’d force himself on me sexually.     

 

“Makin’ that Great Escape

    Wyatt:  So, when did your epiphany arrive, the realization that you had to make your “Great Escape?”

    Malik:  It was in August of last year.  T. J. had beaten me so badly that I had to be hospitalized for days.  But before that, I’d become chronically depressed—morose, unusually quiet, so very timid, etc., etc.  Cray-cray mood swings.  I could barely function at work—at life.  Everyone noticed, because I just  wasn’t my authentic self!

    Malik:  One of the doctors knew I was an IPV/A victim.  He was thirty-something, “really together,” and gay/SGL.  

    Malik:  Staring at me dead in the eyes, he said something like, “Look.  I don’t mean to get all up in your ‘bizness’ (business), but I know your partner has been assaulting you.  If you don’t get help soon, you’ll be in the morgue.”  Then, his eyes softened, and he said, “Lemme help you.  My brother has been through what you’re going through.  Like I told him, ‘You’re better than this’.”

    Wyatt:  Wow.  Did you heed his warning, take his advice?

    Malik:  I did.  That hospital stay was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me!  That’s when I made the decision to split from T. J.  

     Malik:  Fortunately, T. J. didn’t show up at the hospital, although he called.  I acted like everything was just hunky-dory, so as not to alert him.  Meanwhile, the doc informed me of resources I could tap into, and he had a counselor come in to talk with me.  

    Malik:  And, I developed a plan—which included one of my good friend’s sister:  a cop.

    Wyatt:  The plot thickens.

    Malik:  True.  When I was released, “Madame Officer” accompanied me home. She asked me if I wanted to press charges.  I answered, “No, I don’t have the stomach for it.  I just want him out of my space.”

    Wyatt:  Whoa!  Was T. J. there?

    Malik:  Oh, yeah!  She made him gather up all of his crap.  Next, she gave him one helluva stern warning NOT to contact me again—that she and her “friends” would be watching.  Finally, she made him leave.

    Wyatt:  Dang!  What was his reaction?

    Malik:  Totally blindsided!  Livid. The list goes on and on.

    Wyatt:  You’d made your Great Escape, of sorts.  But I know that wasn’t the end of it.  This is where the Separation Violence and Assault (SVA) begins, correct?

    Malik:  My God, yes.

IPVA-7

 

“Separation Violence and Assault:  It’s NO Joke.”

    Wyatt:  Malik, explain your experience with SVA.

     Malik:  You see, T. J. was feeling powerless–which royally pissed him off.  I was no longer his “possession.”  Soooooo, he blew up my phone, trying to convince me to take him back.  When that didn’t work, he threatened me with physical violence.  He threatened to out my status.  His nastiness intensified, dramatically.  I was completely stressed out.  I was scared out of my mind.

    Wyatt:   It’s my understanding that you left the area for a few days, to get some relief.  But while you were away, something terrifying occurred.

    Malik:  Yes.  I went to Manhattan to visit a friend.  When T. J. discovered I wasn’t in D.C., he went ballistic.

    Wyatt:  Damn.  What happened next?

    Malik:  He confronted my best friend, beat the crap outta him, forcing him to tell him where I was—and when I’d be back.

    Wyatt:  “Geesus Chryist.”

    Malik:  And when I came back, the next day, T. J. was ready.  He “popped up” on me at the apartment–and physically assaulted me.

    Wyatt:  Malik, what was the aftermath?

    Malik:  That was it for me!  My friend and I filed charges against T. J.  He’s doing some jail time.

    

“Final Victory”

    Wyatt:  Malik, you finally made your “Great Escape.”   How does it feel?

    Malik:  Wyatt, it’s indescribable!  I got a job transfer, and am thriving in another state.

    Wyatt:  I’m a strong proponent of counseling.  Did you go that route?

    Malik:  I sure did.  It was one of the best things I could’ve ever done.  It’s helping me to heal.

    Wyatt:  Malik, what advice do you have for victims of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, and its outgrowth, Separation Violence and Assault?

    Malik:  The bottom line is this:  you deserve better.  And if you want quality of life–and if you value your life–you have to find a way out!  It’s as simple as that.

    Wyatt:  Thanks so much for sharing your journey, Malik!  You’re an inspiration to us all.

    Malik:  I was happy to do it.

    (Thankfully, Malik’s inner glow, his inner light is returning—ray by ray.)    

 

    As I emphasized in Part One of “Will It Ever End?”  even though leaving may prove terribly unsafe, continuing to cohabitate with your abuser may prove to be downright deadly.  As I state in my national seminars and workshops, making your Great Escape involves and entails well thought-out, deliberate, strategic–and above all–careful planning.  And, making that Great Escape is absolutely necessary.

    And remember:  it is imperative that you tell anyone who will listen, particularly those you really trust.  And, the following is extremely important:  know your legal rights.  You have a right to equal protection of the law.  You have a right to live free of violence, threats, and abuse of any kind.  

    Make it your mission to conduct research to ascertain exactly what your rights are where you live.  The internet is for so much more than just Facebook and Twitter.

   There are officials and institutions that can help you free yourself from Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.  These include the 911 operator, police, county jail, district attorney and victim assistance.  Become knowledgeable about, and avail yourself of these crucial resources so that you can make your Great Escape.

    Here’s the bottom line:  you cannot—and must not—stay in a violent, abusive relationship.

    Need to make your Great Escape?  The Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project can help, 24/7.  Call: 1-800-832-1901.  Or, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Intimate Partner Violennce and Abuse 1

Will It Ever End???, Part One

     “After years of being beaten and emotionally abused, I managed to gather the strength and courage to leave him.  I thought that finally, I was in the clear!  But how wrong I was…

    “He beat the crap out of one of my buddies–to find out where I was!  And before you know it, he ‘popped up’ on me, and…” 

     This is an excerpt from Part Two of “Will It Ever End???”, my interview of a victim of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A)–the term used for domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ Community.  Unfortunately, his torture didn’t end–even after he fled from his abuser. Later in October, you’ll be able to read all about his harrowing story right here at Wyattevans.com.

     Sadly, one of the most pervasive and entrenched myths regarding IPV/A is that victims will be safe if they could only leave their abusers.  In fact, far too many people believe that victims are free to leave abusers at any time–and will naturally do so once the level of violence becomes “enough” to force that change.  

     However, leaving doesn’t usually put an end to the violence and abuse.  Time and time again, this can be the most dangerous point in a relationship.  This period is what’s called Separation Violence and Assault.  I give it the acronym, SVA. And, this is exactly what my interviewee experienced.

     In Part One of “Will It Ever End???” I discuss SVA in detail–including its ramifications.  And as I just mentioned, Part Two tells the riveting saga of an individual who suffered through this syndrome.

     Let me emphasize that in many instances, leaving does not put an end to the pattern of abusive behavior.  “Instead, it actually INCREASES existing dynamics of violence and can INITIATE new levels of violence and new forms of retaliation from the abuser to the victim; trying to force them to stay with threats of GREATER violence, legal retaliation (‘I’ll get the kids in court.’), up to and including lashing out with physical violence against third parties,” according to www.aardvarc.org, a respected domestic violence information website“In fact, many abusers believe that the victim ‘belongs’ to them, and that as such, they are fully justified in doing whatever it takes to make sure that ‘their property’ remains theirs.”

    In an attempt to force the victim to reconcile with him/her, an abuser may escalate the violence.  As well, the abuser might also be reacting to some perceived abandonment or rejection by his/her partner.

     However, even though leaving may prove terribly unsafe, continuing to cohabitate with your abuser may prove to be downright deadly.  As I state in my national seminars and workshops, making your “Great Escape” involves and entails well thought-out, deliberate, strategic–and above all–careful planning.  And, making that Great Escape is absolutely necessary.

     You must remember:  it is imperative that you tell anyone who will listen, particularly those you really trust.  And, the following is extremely important:  know your legal rights.  You have a right to equal protection of the law.  You have a right to live free of violence, threats, and abuse of any kind. 

     Make it your mission to conduct research to ascertain exactly what your rights are where you live.  The internet is for so much more than just Facebook and Twitter.

    There are officials and institutions that can help you free yourself from Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse. These include the 911 operator, police, county jail, district attorney and victim assistance.  Become knowledgeable about, and avail yourself of these crucial resources so that you can make your Great Escape. 

     Here’s the bottom line:  you cannot—and must not—stay in a violent, abusive relationship. 

     Need to make your Great Escape?  The Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project can help, 24/7.  Call: 800-832-1901.  

    Next up:  A victim of Separation Violence and Abuse opens up, and bares his soul.

Campus

IPV/A Has Enrolled in College

     As a journalist, I’ve made domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ community– generally referred to as Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A)–my signature issue.  As well, I conduct IPV/A seminars and workshops across the country.  And, this deplorable and potentially life-threatening behavior is the dominant theme of my latest novel, Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—RAGE! 

     Are you aware that a growing number of LGBTQ college students are victims of intimate partner violence and abuse in their current relationships?  Appalling, but true. 

     To learn more, read the latest The W.O.E. Report, my exclusive column in the July edition of Baltimore Gay Life.  Here’s a link to the online version of the magazine.  My article is on page 34, so you have to go to page 34 after going here.

Picture of a mom who assaulted her son for being gay

Mom Assaults Son Because She Believes He’s “Gay”

      As everyone’s aware, as a journalist, my signature issue is Gay Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A).  This demoralizing, horrendous–and potentially life-threatening–behavior is heavily stigmatized; thereby, it tends to be grossly underreported.  Therefore, I’ve made it my mission to shine a bright light on IPV/A. 

     And just recently, there’s been an unfortunate “twist” or sorts in this sick, galling saga.  Just days ago, Jacqueline Alexander, a Memphis, Tennessee woman, was charged with beating and punching her own son—all because she believes he’s gay.  The age of Alexander’s son has not yet been revealed. 

     According to WREG, News Channel 3 in Memphis, “Police said she punched her son in the face because she thinks he’s ‘too feminine’ and gay.”  According to the news channel, the child had bruises on his face when police arrived. 

     WREG interviewed Will Batts of the city’s LGBT Community Center.  According to Batts, this type of abuse occurs all too often. 

     “’We certainly have lots of kids and adults who come into the center who talk about being abused or hurt in some way by the people who are supposed to be the ones who care most about them’ he said.” 

     Batts stated that he “’wants to see a change in how people think, an acceptance of all, regardless of their sexual orientation, and to break the barriers of gender stereotypes’.” 

     “’We live with these really strict rules about how people should act or dress or talk or behave, and life is so much more complicated than that’,” he added. 

     Alexander’s bond has been set at $1,000.

Domestic Violence

Does Lovin’ Me Include Battering Me?

      Kwame Harris.  William Ewell.  What do these two men have in common?

     Well, they are (were) Black.  And, both men got caught up in separate incidents of the “nasty bizness” of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A). 

     In his particular situation, Harris was the abuser.  

     In his particular situation, Ewell was the victim.  

     And unfortunately for Mr. Ewell, he died from it.

     You may recall the story of Mr. Harris.  On December 20, 2013, the former San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders lineman was sentenced to five days in jail and three years of probation for battering Dimitri Geier, his ex-boyfriend, in August 2012.

     At the time of the violence, Harris and Geier were romantically involved.  They’d previously lived together.  According to the San Jose Mercury News, “While dining at a Chinese restaurant, they began to argue and Harris then pinned Geier against a glass wall.  When they went outside, Harris hit Geier several times in the face and head, causing a compound facial fracture that required surgery and insertion of a metal plate.”  After a six-day trial, Harris was convicted of misdemeanor violence and assault charges but acquitted of felony domestic violence and assault charges.

     Now on to Mr. Ewell.  According to the Nydailynews.com, “William Ewell died after getting into a fistfight with his 20-year-old beau on a Bronx street when the two came to blows.  According to friends, ‘Ewell was a devout minister who preached loved and respect for others’.”

      You see, on Sunday, November 30, Ewell was arguing with his boyfriend at Bronx Park East and Mace Avenue, near the Bronx Zoo.  His younger partner punched him, knocking him to the ground. 

     Ewell died sometime later.

     “Friends said that the couple were recently engaged.  Police stated that charges against the younger man were pending the medical examiner’s investigation.”

     These are two horrific examples of the vicious cycle called Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, or IPVA.    The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs defines it as “a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship.”  

      New research suggests that a greater percentage of LGBTQ individuals are living in fear of an abusive partner than previously thought.  It is estimated that each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay men are battered, and about one in four LGBTQ relationships/partnerships are abusive in some way.           

     As a journalist, I’ve made this dehumanizing and potentially life-threatening behavior–which tends to be heavily stigmatized and notoriously underreported in the LGBTQ community–my signature issue.  I conduct IPV/A seminars and workshops around the country. 

    I’m so passionate about this issue because I know individuals who have been victims of IPV/A.  And in my twenties, I experienced this demeaning behavior first-hand .

    My experience was psychological—the tearing down of my self-esteem, verbal abuse, threats, isolation.  At the time, I didn’t have the tools and information to make my “Great Escape.” 

     Fortunately however, I eventually did.

      With my continuing coverage at Wyattevans.com, Huffington Post, Baltimore Gay Life, BaltimoreOUTLoud, and The Wyatt O’Brian Evans Show (on the progressive Papichuloradio.com), I’ve been shining a bright light on this critical issue.   Part of this coverage includes telling the personal stories of IPV/A victims.

     At my seminars and workshops, I’m frequently asked, “Can abusers really control their behavior?”  The answer:  if they want to, they can!  Research has borne this out.  

     Currently, it’s unclear whether or not there was a pattern of violence and abuse in the relationship of Ewell and his partner.   But what we do know, however, is this:  there must be ZERO TOLERANCE for even one incident of IPV/A. And the faulty thinking and lame excuse (that too many people have) that “boyz will be boyz” just doesn’t cut it. 

    Here’s the Bottom Line:  Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) ain’t the way that you love somebody.    

     If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901).

domestic violence

I Love You To Death, Part Three

The latest installment of my continuing series on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) has just been published in the December edition of Baltimore Gay Life (BGL)! Entitled “I Love You To Death,” it’s the topic of The W.O.E. Report–my exclusive monthly column for BGL.

“I Love You To Death, Part Three” details how IPV/A victims can make their “Great Escape” from this despicable, demoralizing—and potentially life-threatening pattern of violence and abuse.

Here’s a link to the online version of the magazine. My article is on page 18, so you have to go to page 18 after going: here

Domestic Violence

I Love You To Death, Part Two

     The second installment of my three-part series on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) has just been published in Baltimore Gay Life (BGL)!  Entitled “I Love You to Death,” it’s the topic of“The W.O.E. Report,my exclusive, monthly column for BGL. 

     “I Love You to Death, Part Two” lays out the Complete Cycle of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.  In a concise manner, I explain the cycle from “A to Z”:  from Set-Up to Follow Through.  In this way, you can envision just how this sick, demoralizing pattern of behavior can be so damaging to the victim—physically, emotionally, and psychologically. 

    Here’s a link to the online version of the magazine. My article is on page 18, so you have to go to page 18 http://issuu.com/baltimoregaylife/docs/gaylife_november2014#signin 

Man standing over another man who is crying - domestic violence

Broken Dreams…Broken Bones

As you’re aware, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  And as a journalist, my signature issue is Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A), the term commonly used for domestic violence and abuse in the LGBTQ community.

     Some time ago, I wrote an exclusive series for Baltimore OUTloud entitled, “Broken Dreams… Broken Bones.”   In it, I defined and fully explained IPV/A, along with the effects and ramifications of this deplorable, heinous—and potentially life-threatening behavior.  In that series, I interviewed an IPV/A victim.  His is a harrowing and poignant story.

     So without further ado, I present “Broken Dreams…Broken Bones.”

     Towering over me and yelling at the top of his lungs, Antonio, my 6’4”, 280-pound muscled life partner, had me pinned against the wall, his huge, clammy left hand now grasping my neck.  I couldn’t move!

    All the while, the following thoughts flashed in my head:   “This can’t be happening!  How can the man who’s repeatedly professed his undying love be doing this to me?  How can he hurt me this way?  HOW???”

     And then, Antonio…

    These are excerpts from my current novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart-Uncensored” (gay/ethnic).  The two protagonists are Antonio and Wesley.  Tragically, Antonio allows old demons and misconstrued circumstances to make him snap.  As a result, he batters Wesley.

 

     As I stated in Part One of “Broken Dreams…Broken Bones,” anyone can become a victim of domestic violence and abuse–regardless of size, strength, age, gender, or sexual orientation.  In the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community, domestic violence/abuse generally is referred to as Intimate Partner Violence/Abuse (IPV/A).   

     The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs defines IPV/A as “a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control, through fear and intimidation, over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship.”  It is estimated that each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay men are battered.   About one in four LGBTI relationships/partnerships are abusive in some way.  

     Kyle, a twenty-eight-year-old Caucasian, is a recent IPV/A survivor.  He agreed to sit down with me on the condition that I refer to him by his middle name.  Kyle says that “Derrick,” his ex-partner, a thirty-year-old African-American, horrifically abused him for nearly two years.    

     Evans:  Kyle, thanks for agreeing to tell your important story.  When and how did you meet Derrick? 

     Kyle:  (His eyes light up.) It was in mid-January 2011, at a Sprint store in Laurel (Maryland).  Our eyes locked, and the chemistry was instantaneous!  

     Kyle:  He initiated a conversation, and we walked outta the store together.  He took my number, and said he’d call.  (Pause.)  I couldn’t wait!  I was so damned attracted.  

     Evans:  Kyle, exactly what was the attraction? 

     Kyle:  Wyatt, I was very needy.  Derrick was easy-going and self-assured, and seemed nurturing.  And so handsome!  He was that “daddy” I was looking for. 

     Evans:  When did he call? 

     Kyle:  Late that night, and we talked for hours!  Derrick wanted to see me the next evening, at my apartment.   Since he was insistent, I agreed.  I was flattered. 

    Evans:  And that evening? 

     Kyle:  Immediately, we ended up in bed.  And the sex was absolutely mind-blowing!  We became a couple right after that. 

     Evans:  So Kyle, how long did the “honeymoon” last? 

     Kyle:  (He laughs nervously.)  Not very long.  Derrick became possessive—constantly calling to check up on me.  Wanting me with him practically 24/7.  Isolating me.   He was such an overwhelming presence. 

     Kyle:  But being needy, I liked it–at first.  Thought it was love.  I kept saying to myself, “I’m so lucky to have him!”   

     Kyle:  And the sex was a drug. 

     Evans:  Things became even more extreme, correct?  

     Kyle:  Absolutely!  The mind control began.  Derrick told me how to think, act, and dress.  And my biggest mistake was agreeing to let him move in with me.  

    Kyle:  (suddenly becoming solemn.)  The verbal—racial crap, etc.—started soon after.  

    Evans:  And the physical? 

    (Kyle takes a deep breath.) 

   Kyle:  A few weeks after moving in, he accuses me of cheating.  Totally ridiculous!  Derrick was all up in my face, shouting.  I was totally petrified! 

   (Pause.) 

   Kyle:  Then, he decks me.  Hard!  I fall to the floor.  

   (Kyle begins to sob.  I ask him to take his time.) 

   Kyle:  I was completely “out of it.”  Then, Derrick grabs me by the collar, screaming, “You nasty little white whore!  Wake tha f**k up!  We ain’t done yet!”  

   Kyle:  Next, he drags me to the bathroom.  To the toilet!  And then he…” 

   Evans:  And then he what, Kyle?  (He’s sobbing heavily now, rocking back and forth.  He’s in “flashback mode.”)  

   Kyle:  He…he shoves my head into the toilet!  Over and over again! (Pause.)  Water’s all up my nose.  I’m gasping for air.  I felt like I’d pass out.  

   (Long pause.) 

   Kyle:  Actually, I just wanted to go to sleep…and not wake up. 

   Kyle stated that the verbal and physical abuse worsened and escalated.   Fortunately, another gay couple helped him make his “Great Escape.”   

   I asked Kyle why he stayed as long as he did.  “Out of fear, shame, such little self-worth.  Not to mention the stigma.”  Kyle’s moved out of the area, and is in counseling. 

   And Derrick?  He’s doing jail time.    

   If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901).

Domestic Violence hurts everyone

I Love You To Death, Part One

     October is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  In the LGBTQ community, domestic violence and abuse is generally referred to as Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, or IPV/A.  

     As a journalist, IPV/A is my signature issue.  Therefore, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I’m involved in various activities.  The first was an in-depth discussion of IPV/A on Dishing Tea, the international radio show hosted by Demetris Dennis Taylor.  

     And, the first of my three-part series on IPV/A entitled “I Love You to Death” has just debuted in The WOE Report, my new and exclusive column for Baltimore Gay Life. Visit:  baltimoregaylife.com/i-love- you-to-death-part-one/ 

    Stay tuned to www.wyattevans.com for more news and features on this critical…and potentially life-threatening behavior, which is deeply stigmatized—and tends to be grossly underreported in the LGBTQ community.