I am a victim of domestic abuse.

JohnLine

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I am a victim of domestic abuse. A close, long-time friend and I went to see a movie together near my house, this was not unusual, we’d been going to outdoor movie screenings with each other all summer long. We’d tried having a relationship years earlier, and though that hadn’t worked out, we were both happy as friends, or so I thought.

She was always strong-willed, one of the reasons I liked her, and a bit of a trouble maker, in a fun way. She’d bring me to all sorts of hidden parts of the city, bohemian art houses, and secret bars.

It turns out she really wanted to sleep with me, lusting after my female persona (I’m gender fluid-ish), so she snuck booze into the theater and got so drunk that I couldn’t let her drive home. When I made it clear that she was only invited in “to sleep it off” on my couch, she became angry, verbally assaulted me, left, and attempted to drive home drunk anyway.

Thankfully, her car broke down two blocks from my house. The police found her but couldn’t charge her with drunk driving because her vehicle was not operational. She gave them my number and they called and asked if I could come and get her.

I drove down, and after I assured them I’d make sure she was alright, the police handed me her keys and backed off to watch. When I wouldn’t give her her keys back, she screamed at me and charged me, trying to punch me with a fist full of rings, like brass knuckles. I jumped back as she continued the assault, never raising a hand even to protect myself.

The police rushed in and detained her (a female officer held her), and asked if I wanted to charge her with domestic violence. I asked if there was anything else we could do that wouldn’t ruin her life. They told me they didn’t need my cooperation to charge her because they were direct witnesses of the attack, but they gave me the option of saying she’d lost her mind and they took her away for 48 hours of psychological observation.

She called me from the hospital, and threatened me if I told them anything that would let them keep her there longer, so I stayed quiet, and even brought her snacks and a change of clothes (which I purchased at my own expense).

Eventually, a mutual friend called me, a woman and a college professor who was eight months pregnant at the time. My abuser had called her and told her that I had called the mental hospital on her “out of the blue.” She initially believed my abuser and very angrily asked for my side of the story.

But once she heard my side, she believed me.

So that I wouldn’t have to, the professor went down to the hospital -eight months pregnant- picked up my abuser, and made sure her car was repaired. This let me end the relationship without guilt.

But the friend wouldn’t fully end the relationship with the abuser, making excuses like, it only happened once, and she wanted her to get better, and so on. But she did generally support me, I was the one still invited to all the events, etc…

Years later, the professor was invited to my abuser’s wedding. She went and ended up, famously, punching her in the face. (The professor punched the abuser.)

Because of all this, I get touchy when people say things like “believe all women.” Or make any sort of assumption of guilt, or responsibility, or content of character, based on gender or any other physical characteristic. To me there are two kinds of people in the world, and they aren’t women and men. There are people who face truth, who deal with it in a fair and compassionate manner, and there are people who deny truth, whatever the reason.

I hold no ill will towards my abuser. I hope she lives a long and happy life. But I wish I could deny her the opportunity to do the same to others.

The year after the abuse, I ran into her at a Halloween party. I was in femme, (I never miss an opportunity). She was there with her then fiancée, who was also in femme (though it was obvious he wasn’t trans). All night, she paid more attention to me, staring at me from across the room.

After the party, once I’d gone home, she texted me to tell me “how sexy I looked.”

I never replied.
 

Maggie Maxwell

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Because of all this, I get touchy when people say things like “believe all women.” Or make any sort of assumption of guilt, or responsibility, or content of character, based on gender or any other physical characteristic. To me there are two kinds of people in the world, and they aren’t women and men. There are people who face truth, who deal with it in a fair and compassionate manner, and there are people who deny truth, whatever the reason.
This is so true, and so hard. I'm sure it's something felt and known by anyone who's known a female abuser. I have a former friend who added an asterisk to "believe women" for me after she lied and manipulated time and time again, claiming other people, friends and family, men and women, had abused her or were complicit in her abuses. Whenever she was done with someone, when they finally saw her true colors, she'd scream "abuse!" and turn everyone else around her against them before they could hear the other person's side, and I fell for it for so long until she finally turned it on me. It's so hard. You want to believe people who say they've been abused, but people like your friend and mine wield it as a weapon, and once you've seen it as a weapon, it's so painful when you doubt other people's truths because these women ruined your ability to trust. It makes you feel like the villain when you're just as much a victim. I'm sorry this happened to you, and I'm glad you were able to get out safely from that friendship, and glad the police supported you when you needed it. And I'm DYING to know what exactly happened to make the professor sock her on her wedding day.