Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Homefront

The other day I was asked to participate in a very amazing fundraiser that focuses on domestic abuse. In addition to just telling my own story and recovery, I've also offered to write some articles and get my stagnating journalist muscle flexing. In doing so, I've done a lot of research on the subject and am just shocked at some of the things I didn't know!

Some of the things just seem so... simple in a way, but it strikes home. If I had to do a piece on abuse while I was in the relationship, and furthermore read some of these things, would it have alerted me to my own situation sooner?

From the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence on signs of emotional abuse: Putting her down.Making her feel bad about herself. Calling her names. Making her think she is crazy. Playing mind games. Humiliating her. Making her feel guilty.

I could have bolded every thing in that list. I know it seems almost common sense, but just seeing the stark numbers of it, next to charts against physical and sexual abuse makes me realize how prominent emotional abuse is in our society.

One of the things I hope to focus on is how society can take action against this. Like I have mentioned many times over, I have encountered a disturbing amount of resistance to mt situation, up to having people ask for proof on the situation. I have offered up names and contact info of people who would gladly speak of things they witnessed, but none have made the effort to get in touch them. It's alarming to me that we would bury our heads in the sand about this issue so much, because we don't want it affecting our little view of the world.

To an extent I can understand and forgive people who would call me a liar and believe what he says over me. As a friend put it, "[he] does a good job of destroying someone's reputation and character before they even get a chance to tell their side of things." It's true, I saw that enough.

I don't really stand to gain anything by going public about this. As I've stated before, I am not looking for retribution or punishment for my ex. If I did, I'd be a lot more public about who it is and a lot more forceful in having my story heard in places it would matter to him. No, what I want is a social revolution, of sorts, and for people to wake up and realize this does happen. Yeah, the guy you know may be funny, happy-go-lucky and "not capable of these things." But how well do you really know him? For four years of friendship I thought I did. I hate to be cliche, but how many murderers and sexual predators do you hear their friends and family say in news bites, "I never suspected that of him."

A sign of a good abuser, liar, and sociopath is they can hide these things even from their best friends and family. In my case, a lot of people were aware of this man's behaviour, but though that with me he was either better, or felt the need to not get involved because they didn't know me. And it is tough to get involved and speak out to someone who sees the good in this person and chooses to not believe the negative things they have been told before.

I will say the things I have learned about my ex since becoming public about this are disgusting. I knew he had some obscure tastes and bad judgment calls when it came to associating with women online, but the tales of underage solicitation for webcam pics and the level he weeds his way into women's lives makes me wonder how much he was hiding from me during our time together.

Some people would say that it is my job to make sure he gets what he deserves. But in all honesty, until every person who has told me what they know in private makes the choice to open up and speak about it, I am just one person with one story, and apparently in some circles, my word isn't worth much.

So until the time that other people feel they can stand up with me, and those around the world will stand with their friends who have gone through or are going through this, I will plug away here, and do what I can to encourage the world that we need to stand together and fight this.

Here are a couple of sites I was researching today:

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