When She Hit Me, And I Couldn’t Tell Anyone

HAHAT 2014Welcome everyone this year’s Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia. On May 17, we commemorate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. This is a day, that someday, and I hope in my lifetime, we should never have to address every year. There will come a day where we will celebrate our differences and our loves. I keep hoping.

My story this year is about something that I’m just now getting around to addressing. Or I should say, I’ve always talked about it, just not publicly like I have been in bits and pieces.

Last year, I discussed my first girlfriend, and how I came out amid Matthew Shepard’s death. I had mentioned in a vague line, it didn’t work out for us. This is how it didn’t work out for us.

Domestic violence between straight couples are fairly easy to grasp. There are never any questions asked. The victim and perpetrator are never put under put under a microscope about their living arrangements, or marriage, or if they were “just friends.”

Only, it’s when things get tricky for straight couples when it’s a woman that’s the perpetrator of violence. Because how could a woman beat a man? It’s after all just a woman! Good to know modern-day sexism is alive and well.

This was my case. I always say the first five years of my relationship with my girlfriend was Camelot, the last five years was a hell on earth like no other.

The first time she hit me, it was an accident. Or so I’m making myself think to this day. She was telling a joke she had gotten animated about, and smacked me across the face. My glasses had fallen to the floor from the blow. I was stunned but I laughed, she freaked out and apologized profusely.

But over time, she stopped saying she was sorry, and she hit again. And again. And again.

She and I worked together, and I would go in numbed and timid from a night of her taking a round on me. Covered in bruises and scratches on my face. My glasses had been so broken and bent up I spent time and again repairing them into looking like something functional. Our friends that happened to be store regulars would ask me what happened to me. We’d laugh. Because it was funny. We had a fight and it was silly and it was funny and it was nothing.

To say I was in an awkward spot is nothing, to say I was trapped was closer to the truth. We were “just roommates” at work, and I was convinced I couldn’t ask anyone for help. I ran it over and over in my head. What would they say?

“What do you mean she’s beating you?”

“Wait. You’re lesbians?

“What do you mean a woman is beating you?”

“Women don’t hit!”

Yes. Women don’t hit. Let that roll over in your mind.

I escaped that relationship and had lost all of my friends and believed it was my fault. Isn’t that the grand bitch of it all. Thinking you, the victim, had done something to set her off. I didn’t need victim blaming. I did it to myself!

But this happens every day and this happens still. Men and women in same-sex relationships involving domestic violence rarely go to the ER for a broken bone. Because they’re afraid of having their orientation discovered. And the unending probing questions. And lesbians getting a rape kit done when they don’t need a rape kit. And then if you’re not out to your family? How do you explain that black eye? Or those fingerprints around your neck?

Welcome to my world, welcome to today’s world.

In my upcoming release, Chasing Sunrise, the first book of the Darkmore Saga, tells the story of vampire king Sevon MaratΓ©. He himself is trapped in an abusive relationship. As a king, a ruler of a country, he is conflicted with who he can trust in his own palace as his lover has allies not only in the kingdom, but the kingdoms beyond. Sevon is terrified with the thoughts if he leaves the relationship, how will he survive? On top of that, how will his people with their allies severing all ties?

Despite Chasing Sunrise having a “pretty, pretty vampire and shifter wrapping” as I like to call it, at its core, it is a very serious story about domestic violence that I hope all others can identify with. My hope for the Darkmore Saga series is to help others. For those that are in a domestically abusive relationship, or those that know someone who is. To help victims and loved ones that they too can “chase the sunrise” and see the light again.

In fact, I’m doing my part. Through Dreamspinner Press, 100% of the pre-sale royalties for Chasing Sunrise is going to the LA Gay and Lesbian Center Domestic Violence Service.

While Chasing Sunrise is not available for pre-sale just yet, for my HAHAT giveaway, I am offering a print edition of Chasing Sunrise when it becomes available. The novel will be personally singed by me, and you will likewise get a rad box o’ swag!

To enter all you need to do is leave a comment with a message of hope to those out there suffering from domestic violence. Let’s populate this post with messages of encouragement and hope! Leave an email where I can reach you! The giveaway is only open to US Residents.

The Winner will be announced on May 26th!

Thank you. And never stop reaching for the light.

62 Comments Add yours

  1. alexissduran says:

    Thank you for a very brave and powerful post. My favorite kind of fantasy is fantasy that has gritty reality at its core. Your book sounds most excellent. All I can say hope-wise is that no one, anywhere, anytime, any gender, any orientation, deserves abuse. We all deserve respect and love, especially from the most important person in our lives, ourselves. Carry on the good work!

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Alexis. πŸ˜€ They say time heals all wounds, but I just had a dream this morning that I had moved back in with her. It was strange. Because it was definitely a scenario of I had knowledge of the past, but I was in this mindset of “things will be different now.” It’s been over a decade since I’ve seen her. And to this day she still visits my dreams once in a while. While they don’t hurt me anymore, they still leave me with the feeling of why the hell can’t she leave me alone.

      1. alexissduran says:

        Oh, god, I know. I lived with an alcoholic who committed suicide and I still have dreams that he’s not dead after all and wants to move back in. I feel so guilty rejecting him even though it was such a dysfunctional relationship. Those wounds leave dark marks on our souls. Thank goodness we have our stories to release some of the pain.

        1. Lex says:

          Wow. That is unbelievable! They say in our dreams we’re mentally working things out. I just hate waking up in the morning feeling grumpy that apparently my brain worked out nothing.

          The really interesting dreams I get on occasion are the ones where I fight back. And actually win. I know that day is going to be a good day. πŸ˜€

  2. Cindy says:

    I have been blessed that I have never had to go through what you and so many others have had live through. My step daughter has though and we (her dad and I) have done tons of research and have found out that there are help centers and shelters just about everywhere. Our challenge was to get our daughter to believe that she deserves the help and does have value. I can only imagine how much harder it is for someone in a same sex relationship. Thank you for your blog – i takes guts to tell your story – and for your participation in the HOP

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Cindy. πŸ˜€ And that’s something I had struggled with for a very long time that I deserve better and I had worth as a person. The main character, Sevon, in Chasing Sunrise deals with the same issue. There’s an element of the plot that the word “better” had become so twisted into a negative connotation in his mind.

      But it definitely is a long road to learning victims of domestic violence have worth and are deserving of love. Even then, when they have it, I speak from personal experience that your brain sabotages itself into thinking that the other shoe is going to drop. It never does. But you wait for it.

  3. Trix says:

    Thank you for sharing your story–I know it will help a lot of people!

    1. Lex says:

      I hope so Trix! πŸ˜€

  4. lenagrey says:

    It’s good of you to share your story. It reminds us why this Hop is so important. lena.grey.iam@gmail.com

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Lena. πŸ˜€ And just think, I was going to almost miss it this year!

  5. andreaspeed says:

    Domestic violence can happen to anyone, which is why it’s so horrible. I’m glad you’re out of that situation now. No one should ever stay in a relationship where they are getting hurt. Nothing is worth that.

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Andy. πŸ˜€ And it is kind of a weird unanswered question of “Why did you stay as long as you did?” It’s sad because we’re taught the moment someone hits you it’s over. Right there. Get up and leave. But you wait. You make excuses. And you stay until you finally realize you need to go… or you keep making excuses until you’re in a pine box. πŸ™

  6. Erica Pike says:

    Wow, Lex, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I’m glad you got out, even if it meant losing your friends. A beating is never the victim’s fault – anyone with half a brain should know that! I wrote about domestic abuse in Absolutely Eric. In some reviews, people thought it was implausible that Eric landed in an abusive relationship because his facade in the previous book, in which he’s a secondary character and the PoV was never his there, is confidence and “he would never allow anyone to beat him.” Some people don’t realize that it happens so gradually that you don’t really know you’re in an abusive relationship until it’s too late. And then leaving the relationship isn’t as easy as it sounds.

    With my book, I’m hoping that I can help at least one person in an abusive relationship. I’m sure you’re hoping the same for your book.

    Anyway, thanks for signing up for the hop. See you at GRL!

    Erica
    eripike at gmail dot com

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Erica! And that’s EXACTLY it. It is definitely an Outside Looking In concept when people don’t understand what happened or how they let it happen. I write another couple in a book I hope to someday revisit but they are horribly damaged guys that are deeply in love with each other. But from the outside, their friends are certain it’s a toxic relationship. But they work in the way of “We’re so fucked up, we’re perfect for each other.”

      It is actually a genuine concern when Chasing Sunrise comes out that some readers won’t “get it.” Some that have never been in an abusive relationship, won’t get why the villain is such a wretched person. Some may even think that his relationship with Sevon is even sexy! Actually one of my first rejections of Chasing Sunrise, the feedback had said the villain and Sevon’s BDSM relationship was smoking hot, and once the hero entered they had stopped caring. Like seriously? Trust me. That is SO not BDSM. Not at all. D:

  7. Lee Todd says:

    domestic violence is not the victim’s fault….I’m glad you were finally able to get yourself out of an abusive relationship (((((hugs!!)))))

    (can’t enter as I’m an Aussie….but really wanted to make a comment)

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks for your kind words Lee! :> <3

  8. H.B. says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I know it’s not easy to get out of a abusive relationship and am glad you are free of it now. I’ve never suffered domestic abuse but I’ve been abused and have seen domestic abuse several times over and have seen how ugly it can get. Seeing that the abuse isn’t your fault or that you deserve more than being someone’s punching bag is a huge step in realizing that there’s something wrong with the relationship and action needs to be taken.

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks HB. :> That is always the worst. I remember once a classmate of mine in art school was known for mouthing off. She was young and pretty naive about the way of the world. One day she asked “Why do the dumb girls stay? They’re so stupid for staying?” Which led me to tell my story right there in the classroom. But I told it from a second person POV “You think you are the only one who understands this person, so you stay. So you make excuses. So you only know you’re loved when they’re hitting you.” And she said “And why would they do that? That’s so fucking stupid.” I said “Because it happened to me.” That shut her up, and the class, real fast.

  9. Sandra Bard says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks for reading Sandra. :>

  10. Tali Spencer says:

    My heart hurts knowing you went through this, and in particular the soul killing part of blaming yourself, because it’s easier to blame yourself, and stay, and keep trying than to admit to yourself all that trust and love you put in that other person could be so wrong. πŸ™ I’m so happy you got out of that relationship and even happier you ended up so strong and wonderful. *hugs* Thanks so much for sharing your story!

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Tali. πŸ˜€ I’m happy to have a friend like you. *smishes!* But it is hard. It’s the victim blaming that gets me every time. People don’t seem to realize they don’t need any more blame for their quote unquote “poor life choices.” If that was ever a judgmental term as any. Like being abused is a choice and staying because you’re convinced don’t have any options is a choice. Actually, when I moved back home, I had been convinced she and I would get back together. That she would come for me and we’d be happy again. It took me a long time to understand that oh no. I was seriously better off.

  11. This was a sobering post. Violence happens in all kinds of relationships, and it’s very hard to find the strength to talk about it or to get out. To anyone who is being abused: You must find the strength. You have it deep inside. You are worth it.

    1. Lex says:

      Oh yes Caddy. It’s even something that’s very uncomfortable to talk about in my own household to this day. So it comes out in small doses. Still it’s a long way to work through it all.

  12. Wow, Lex… what a moving and brave story. I think you’re right. All too often we blame ourselves for things that aren’t really our fault. We want to please the ones we love, and we don’t always get repaid in kind.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Andrew. :> I think that is definitely one of my issues is being a people pleaser. I’d rather see people be happy and I often spread myself far too thin. I’m getting better at picking the important things and understanding I’m not going to please everyone all the time.

  13. A. Morell says:

    I’m glad you’re in a place now where you can share your story and provide insight on an issue that just doesn’t get talked about. I can recognize my first boyfriend for the abuser he was now, but back then the red flags never registered. Thankfully there were three time zones between us by the time it all really came out, and I just had to deal with a year and a half of creepy online stalking.

    To anyone currently suffering abuse, know that you are anything but alone. There is help and you deserve it.

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks. :> It is hard to talk about but definitely something that should be talked about. And good for you for recognizing before the point of no return! I had something similar when I put myself out there again on the dating scene in a long distance relationship. When they said “I only hit as a last resort.” I went “Oh okay~ :D” (what the hell was I thinking right?) and then over time seeing how angry they got over any imagined thing I realized NOPE. BAIBAI. They had called me months later telling me their pet had died and thought I’d like to know. I called them on it. They damned well didn’t call me over a dead pet. I let them have it. And they were cowed down and said meekly “…….I’m sorry. I’m just… going to go….” And I told them to never call me again. They never did. At least they respected something.

  14. Shirley Ann Speakman says:

    Thank you for your post I’m so sorry that it happended to you. My sister’s ex “boyfriend” many years ago was abusive to her and it took a long time for her to get over it.

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Shirley. Some days it doesn’t bother me as much as others. But it definitely is a long climb back.

  15. Penumbra says:

    Remember above all else, it’s not your fault, no matter how much the abuser tries to tell you it is. There are many people willing to help you, gather your courage and find them. Once they know you need help, they will give it, but they can’t until you tell them. You’re valuable and important and you deserve much better than what the abuser is doing to you. Set yourself free by contacting the people who can help.

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Lex says:

      Good words Penumbra! πŸ˜€

  16. Deborah H says:

    I know how that is my sister is living with me now because her girlfriend wad hitting her a beating her up for trying to leave but she did & I think she’s happier because she can finally say that she left. & it’s sad I was just talking to my hubs about this exact same thing about how the cop look at a man weird or don’t take it seriously about a woman hurting a man instead of the other way around. It sad.

    1. Lex says:

      Exactly Deborah! There’s been studies by crime profilers that those that are abusers or sex offenders or sociopaths are typically men. It was seen as rare for a woman to be one. And if I woman was one there was almost always a medical reason. Like… a tumor. Or a disease. Or some treatable thing that would supposedly return them to normal. After what I’ve seen? I’m seriously thinking these studies are crap. Anyone can be a sociopath. Anyone.

  17. Be strong things are changing for the better each day. Nothing is like it was long time ago. <3
    red_tigergirl2(at)hotmail(dot)com

    1. Lex says:

      <3 <3 Thanks Sarah. :D

  18. That’s a really powerful story Lex. Thanks for your bravery, and for sharing your insight! I worked with LGBT young people for years, and sadly, I can say that relationship violence was common for lesbian girls and gay boys. I think the isolation of those relationships, as you mention, makes them even more vulnerable to turning abusive than non-LGBT teen relationships. The abuse was physical, verbal, emotional, ‘technological’ (repetitive, stalking messages on social media and cell phones, meant to intimidate) and all the more intense if the person on the receiving end was too scared or isolated to reach out for help.

    My message is: you don’t have to go through this. There are people who can love you the respect and caring that you deserve.

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Andrew. πŸ˜€ And the LGBT youth are lucky to have you on their side. πŸ˜€

  19. Rissa says:

    Thanks for being a part of the hop!
    raynman1979(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks for reading Rissa. πŸ˜€

  20. rojoroaors says:

    thabnk you for sharing this hard topic to bring up. JJust remember you (or anyone subject to domestic abuse) do not deserve it. rojoroaors@yahoo.com

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks. πŸ˜€ It is an immensely difficult thing to discuss. As a survivor, I spent many years just pretending the past is in the past and we’re not going back there. But it still affects me every day. I can still function like a normal person. But when it comes to romantic relationships? I don’t get involved. I’d like to some day. But I can admit it’s not a priority.

  21. michelle says:

    Thanks for such an open and honest post! As a child raised in a violent home, I can say thay finding the courage to leave can change your life (and the lives of those dependent on you). And that you do not have to struggle alone, there is help and there is hope.

    Thanks for the giveaway. I hope your post
    reaches a lot of people.

    MHupp20032003(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Michelle. πŸ˜€ I’m surprised it’s taken off like it has really! There is a lot of courage to realize you can make it on your own! A LOT! I remember when I left I actually didn’t want to. I thought I was being punished and there was no way I’d survive. Well. I’m happy to say that’s not true at all. πŸ˜€ I have my parents, my brother, two fuzzy meowing children, and a nice roof over my head. πŸ˜€

  22. bn100 says:

    Nice of you to share and participate

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  23. Cornelia says:

    Thank you for post and hop.
    cvsimpkins@msn.com

  24. You are never alone, even when you feel like you are.
    sadie @ sadieforsythe dot com

    1. Lex says:

      It’s always darkest before the dawn. <3

  25. As anyone who has seen domestic violence of a mother to her children knows, women do hit. We may not hit as hard or in the same way as a man, but abuse comes from women, too. The scariest part for me, as I talked about in my own post in this hop, is that lesbian women can be turned away from domestic violence shelters. I find that terrifying. We penalize women for being women, only 16% of lesbian domestic violence victims report it, and then we take away shelter from those 16% of the abused women who speak up. It’s outrageous. I hope that you are safe and that no one will ever harm you again.

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Anastasia. πŸ˜€ That’s why I was SUPER careful about picking out a charity for royalty donations. My Mom encouraged me to go local, but my area suffers from the same problem of not having much outreach for the LGBT community. I wanted to be sure the money was going to the right place.

      The worst part is even when I did start talking about it, I got the “It couldn’t have been that bad!” or “You’re exaggerating!” or “But she was super nice to everyone!” or “She bought you gifts ALL the time. You’re just ungrateful!”

      This is a story we should no longer keep to ourselves. The world should know these abusers and the world can do so much better.

  26. Ray says:

    Please speak up and protest against domestic violence. No one has right to torture anyone, mentally or physically. So, please do ask for friends and family’s help immediately. Keeping quite only worsens the matter. Even if none is by your side, go to organizations that can provide you support. If you can’t speak up today, tomorrow someone like you will suffer too. So, not just for yourself, but for everyone’s protection we need to be united and speak up against the wrongs done.

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks for the encouraging words, Ray. πŸ˜€

  27. Thank you for such a private and powerful post. I’m not entering the comp as I’m in the uk but I wanted to leave a comment. My husband was abused by his ex wife. He stuck around for the kids. Shes always claimed that he abused her but after 8 years his never even raised his voice to me let alone a fist. He jumps if I sneak up on him and checks his food daily for drugs. He never told people although some did guess due to the fact that most people would have been like a woman hits you. I know it happens and I’m very sorry to those that are suffering. I love my husband and would never hurt him. I hope those that are in the same situation can find the strength that he did and leave. It’s hard to rebuild your life after something like that I know but it is possible. My husband worked hard to trust me and allow me into his life and I’m thankful for that every single. Believe that things can and will get better and please do not lose all faith and trust in others.

    1. Lex says:

      Thank you so much for dropping by Charmaine. πŸ˜€ And I absolutely understand where your husband is coming from. One of the things that irritates me is when people steal a bite or two from my plate. To them it’s no big deal and it’s funny. But for me it reminds me of when my ex would steal all of my food. A bite or two turned into handing the plate over entirely, and I had none to eat for myself.

      I’ve tried to date, but it’s difficult on two reasons. First is the whole unloading my baggage. Almost how NOT to date. Like “Here are all my issues. If you can deal with it, let’s do it. If not, there’s the door.” It’s like I think to myself “I really SHOULDN’T have to bring this up. But best to get it out of the way before it ruins everything.” It already erects a wall the new girlfriend can’t possibly climb. The second is I seem to fall for the SAME kind of people. I know I’m supposed to be smarter about that. I know I’m supposed to know what the signs are. But you never see them until you’re in them.

  28. ELF says:

    Thank you for having the courage to share your experiences (and hugs for all that you have overcome). It is always difficult for someone in an abusive situation to realize that they deserve better but it makes all the difference in the world to have someone reach out to them and give a helping hand or support. Your story will help many people.

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks! And I desperately hope so! In this day and age I’m saddened how books about abusive relationships under the guise of controlling relationships are teaching men and women that is what love should be like. Similar to the het bodice ripper rape fantasy novels I grew up with teaching me that relationships like that are not only appropriate, but desirable.

      I’m trying to show others the other side that such things are not hot, sexy, or desirable when they all go so terribly wrong.

  29. marcthf says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences. This is a serious topic and doesn’t get the attention it deserves! I hope others take strength from your story and stand up for themselves as well πŸ™‚

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Marc! I hope it’ll definitely open a dialogue about LGBT domestic violence. πŸ˜€

  30. sherry1969 says:

    Thank you for the post. I’m glad things worked out for you because so many times they don’t.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

    1. Lex says:

      Thank you for reading Sherry. πŸ˜€

  31. Wendy H says:

    Thank you for posting and for sharing your story with us. There is so much going on in the world today that it blows my mind how closed minded people are and that we would still hurt each other. I wish that one day hops like this one won’t be necessary and that there will be no need for domestic violence awareness either. πŸ™‚ wendynjason04 at gmail dot com

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Wendy! πŸ˜€ One day I hope the world gets it together and we all celebrate what makes us unique. I even look back on my ex and remember there were some things that were pretty wonderful about her. It’s strange isn’t it? A person that became your ‘boogeyman’ that haunts your dreams on occasion, yet you remember the good times. I think that’s how we learn to let go. It’s sad that I have made quite a few friends via our abusive relationships. They’re great friends, and we all understand each other. But it’s sad that we’re all in the Battered Women Club. πŸ™

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