“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.