Domestic abuse is not an uncommon thing. Many of us will confess to knowing someone who is in an abusive relationship, or has been in the past. The most difficult and deplorable thing for those suffering in this sort of dilemma is that the abused normally will not speak out or confess the horrors they are enduring.
Abusive relationships and domestic violence has been documented in films, music and books. Kelly A. Truman (Facebook, Twitter) has written a memoir that not only covers her life in an abusive relationship, but her life in an abusive LGBT relationship. While it seems like it wouldn’t make that much of a difference comparing it to an abusive straight couple, Truman sheds some light on the travails those in LGBT community might be experiencing.
“Estimates indicate that 35%-50% of lesbians will find themselves a victim of domestic abuse or violence at some point in their lives. It is hard to get an accurate count of how many actual incidents of abuse exist within our community. Many never report to the violence to authorities. I did not. An equal number of lesbians never discuss the topic even among friends. I did not. In many ways, it is viewed as too embarrassing to discuss.” explains Truman.
“There is also a fear among some members of LGBT communities that any public attention given to intimate partner violence will only serve to reinforce attitudes of homophobia and impede progress toward equality. We must understand that our march towards equality should include equal protection against abuse and violence under the law too. Law enforcement agencies have an inconsistent response across the board to LGBT domestic violence. Many police departments tend to view violence between same-sex couples as consensual or mutual. This coupled with the persistence of a homophobic law enforcement community in general; leave many victims of domestic violence within the LGBT community frozen in silence.”
Truman also discusses the fact that LGBT individuals tend to find themselves with limited options within the court systems and with little community service options, such as basic things like support and shelter. She tragically recalls a day when she called a domestic violence hotline and as soon as she revealed her lesbianism to the operator, the whole tone of the conversation changed and Truman remembered “feeling lost and all alone that day.” Truman also shared that she had sought out literature and sources on LGBT domestic violence and found very little results. The few that she did find were very dry and it was similar to reading a psychology textbook for a college course, consequently building more alienation and isolation. Truman then knew it was time to tackle this issue is a different format.
With her memoir A Beautiful Mess: Confessions From the Second Closet, Truman hopes to not only share her personal story but also to open a dialogue within the LGBT community about a real issue that needs to be addressed. The book was written between June-December 2008, six months after her abusive relationship had ended, and Truman used past blog entries that detailed the relationship from the beginning to help form the final draft of the book. Going through these past entries and memories, Truman also meticulously made sure to note all the red flags that signal an abusive partner, in hopes that those who are experiencing the same behavior from their partner, will recognize the abuse and end it.
“During my time within that relationship, I often felt that I was the only one this ever happened to and as with most abusive relationships; the abuser relishes in the alienation and manipulation to the point the abused will start to believe it is their fault. Ultimately, I want the reader to understand that they are not alone, they are not the only one, it is not their fault, and that there is life after being in an abusive relationship. There is healing, hope and eventually love that we deserve to have.” says Truman.
Born in Charleston, West Virginia, Truman knew from an early age that she didn’t fit in with the rest of the kids. Living in Louisiana, eventually moving to Dallas, Texas for college, and ending up in Nashville, Tennessee, she discovered her sexuality, but not with years of confusion, difficult reconciliation with her faith, and failed relationships with men. After being engaged to man for some time, she left and began relationships with women. Her second relationship was with a woman named Christine, which started out beautifully and seemed like the perfect love story. Eventually, it spiraled into a hell of abuse and violence. After finally getting out of the abuse, Truman knew this was an issue that would not go away.
“I wrestled with many emotions during my decision to go forward with publication: fear, embarrassment, doubt, etc. By late September 2010, after having spent much of the year crafting the finished product, I felt I was running on empty and I started back to church. It was during one of the first sermons I heard that the minister said, ‘God never, ever, ever wastes pain. If you are willing to be vulnerable, He will use your greatest hurt as a ministry to others.’ I felt that message was directed towards me.” recalls Truman.
“The next morning when I awoke to get ready for work, I picked up my phone and cycled through my Twitter feeds from the night before,” continues Truman. “One of the stories I read involved a LGBT domestic violence altercation in which one woman had been murdered. I also read the comments on the bottom of the article, some of which were nothing but homophobic slurs and I knew then that I would publish the book to give this closeted issue a face and a voice. No one deserves to be abused in any form by their partner.”
To learn more about Kelly A. Truman’s brave story and the progress of A Beautiful Mess: Confessions From the Second Closet, visit her blog at http://abeautifulmessnovel.blogspot.com/. Also, if you feel you are suffering from an abusive partner or know someone who might be, visit the website and click on the “Red Flags” section for signs of abuse.
“Ultimately, that is the message—if you’re in a relationship that doesn’t ‘feel right’ on some level—get out. Don’t make the mistake I did of trying to fix the person. There is nothing you can ever do that will be good enough for an abuser.” insists Truman.
- The Signs of Domestic Violence (everydayhealth.com)
- Less Help For Domestic Violence Victims (mattersofstate.co.uk)
- New York Lawmakers Seek To Strengthen Domestic Violence Statute (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- LGBT Domestic Violence Assistance Programs React To Murder Of Gay Man By Husband (pinkbananaworld.com)
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