Domestic violence is a factor in both the LGBT community as well as the heterosexual community.
“Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.” (domesticviolencestatistics.org)
Before I had a car I took the city bus to and from my retail job at the mall. I took one bus from my house to the train tracks, where I waited for the second bus to bring me to the mall. I kept to myself and tried to keep entertained with the hopeful goal of listening to every Henry Rollins audio post I could find while I people-watched.
I usually sat alone on a low sitting wooden fence while waiting for my bus. Men never sat next to me, but women traveling alone often sat close.
One day my bus didn’t show and an older Hispanic woman in her mid 40’s meandered over to me to ask the schedule. After I assured the lady that our bus was late, she sat close to me and there was a hovering silence that I knew meant she wanted to speak. The woman began explaining that her abusive husband was awaiting her return home and I figured this was one of those times where I needed to play the part of a listening party and just nodded and stayed attentive, despite the itching uncomfortable feeling I get when strangers divulge very personal information to me.
During the course of ten minutes, this stranger had explained to me that she often escaped her house for days on end due to her husband’s violent fits of rage that ended with physical harm. I sat and listened patiently, and was careful to be empathetic while not showing signs of pity.
I asked the woman if she knew that she was strong enough to be independent and she looked at me like the sweet, naive child that I was (am) and explained that she couldn’t leave her abusive relationship because she was unable to financially support her 14 year old daughter.
At this point I realized that I had more to learn in this situation than to teach and continued to listen to this woman’s life story for the next ten minutes until our bus came and we sat separately.
The point of this is, domestic violence is a very real cancer that effects a large populace of our community. I believe through more frequent discussion of this issue, more resources will become available and more people will be aware of their options.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Join me in supporting The National Domestic Violence Hotline and sharing how you see domestic violence in your own community. #SeeDV
The Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project is dedicated to bringing awareness and assisting victims: “People sometimes misunderstand domestic violence and think it is only physical abuse when actually it can be emotional, financial and/or sexual abuse as well.“