Written by Anonymous
Challenging Gender Stereotypes in Domestic Abuse
Typically in our society males are thought to be the aggressors. When thinking of domestic violence and abuse, many picture the man as the dominant aggressive one, and the woman as the victim. However, my story serves to tweak that image a little bit. Women indeed can be the aggressors and the abusers.
A Personal Story of Identity and Online Relationships
My story is very personal, and something I have only recently begun to even wade through and process, so I am choosing to keep myself a secret… all you need to know is that I am a woman, and I am a feminist. I was in a relationship with another girl for two and a half years. However, I am a heterosexual female. How can this be? I committed the ultimate social no-no. I dated someone I met online, that I had never met in person. Hence, I did not know it was a girl. Supposedly, I was dating a 21 yr old college male..a very cute one I might add.
It was only until a little over the week ago that I learned the true identity of my ex-“boyfriend”. (We had been broken up for almost 4 months). My friends that had been there from the beginning of the relationship tried to tell me “he” was emotionally abusive but I just kept waiving it off. I mean I am a typical girl, this couldn’t happen to me, right? It was a fateful night at a FIFE meeting that changed my whole perspective on the relationship.
The Emotional Toll of an Abusive Online Relationship
The night we went to the Domestic Violence Forum. I almost left the meeting in tears because I had finally admitted to myself I had been in an emotionally abusive relationship. As the brave survivors told their stories, I began to identify a little too much with their stories. (not physically, but emotionally, of course.) It’s a little hard to explain how an online relationship can be abusive, but it was. “He” controlled my life. I wasn’t allowed to be friends with certain guys. “He” called me a bitch quite a few times. It felt like a slap in the face.. “a selfish bitch” “a stupid bitch”.. and “you were acting like a bitch, so I’m not going to apologize for calling you one” on my birthday. These words are thrown around in our society like its nothing, however, I don’t feel that you should talk to someone you love in that way. I was so scared of “him” when “he” was mad.
Everything was my fault. Every promise broken, was broken because I screwed up… and when I was upset it was “grow up, get over it” This all may seem like not a big deal but, at the time it hurt so much. One day “he” was up and the next “he” was down my throat. “He” would hold it over my head all the time that “he” was transferring to UVA for me..moving “his” whole life for me.. ”he” would do anything for me..so I could never be mad at “him” (psshtt what a load of bullshit.)It’s really hard for me to tell this because I am afraid people will judge me because I didn’t get out. Or that I’m overreacting, especially because it was an online relationship. But the truth was I loved “him” just as much as anyone I would love anyone here. The good times outweighed the bad and maybe just maybe the next time would be when “he” would actually follow through with what “he” said “he” would. I trusted “him” and “he” violated that trust.
Revealing the Truth: The Shock of Betrayal
A little over a week ago I found out that my ex “boyfriend” was really a 19 yr old girl. That made me so mad. I had “let” myself be pushed around by some little girl. She had lied about everything. Used a different name and some random kid’s picture (obviously) but also lied about more. She lied about friends of “his” I had talked to. It was her the whole time. Other girls that liked “him” she lied about. Just every little detail you can imagine, she made up. My whole relationship was a lie. Except, she says all the emotional stuff was really her, that she really did/does love me, and meant all of it. She blamed all the abuse on her trying to act like a “typical college guy”.. bullshit. She had hoped I would still be friends with her, but mostly, that I would be with her, as two girls in a relationship. I told her if the emotional stuff was really all her, then SHE was the one who abused me, it wasn’t some college guy act. Even if I were more open to girls, I would not be with her for that reason. And I would say the same things to a guy.
Confronting the Abuser: Taking Back Control
I stayed friends with her. I talked to her every now and then..until last night.I started asking myself why I was still talking to her. The reason: because she was a girl. If she really had been a guy, I would’ve said shame on you, and never talked to him again. But because she was a girl, I felt sorry for her and somehow felt like I needed to be there for her. Well, I decided I didn’t want to be friends with her. I didn’t want her in my life. I don’t need someone who hurt me in my life. I sent her an angry message. I told her I can’t be friends with her, and she did what she did. She needs to take responsibility and pay the consequences. For two and half years I always did what was best for her, what wouldn’t make her mad, what wouldn’t make her jealous… I waited around in my life for “him”. For the first time, I was doing something for myself. I was putting myself first. I didn’t owe her anything.
Empowerment through Feminism: Claiming Back Life
This is what I think feminism is all about– taking back control of yourself and keeping control. Sticking it to those who wronged you. I claimed myself back. No one was going to abuse me, and no one who had had the privilege of being in my life. Feminism is about asserting who you are, and defining who you are. Not letting anyone else define you for you. This is my life and she will not define it anymore. She will not make me feel any less of a human being anymore. I am a human being. I am a damn badass woman. No one, whether man or woman, is going to make me feel different or tell me differently.
Lessons Learned: Recognizing Unhealthy Relationships
All in all, I don’t regret anything. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned the signs of abuse and of an unhealthy relationship. I’ve learned the importance of sticking up for myself, always. I’ve learned what I want in a relationship and what I don’t. What I want in a partner, and what I don’t. I’ve learned about love and the different shapes and forms it takes, whether as a male, female, healthy, unhealthy, or abusive. I’ve also thought a lot about gender. I also learned that men are not always the enemy. Men are not always the aggressors. Women are just as hurtful as men, if not more (bc they know where it hurts) .
Embracing Freedom and Self-Worth
I’m free. I’m a badass attractive woman and I’m free. No one will ever define me. No one will ever tell/ make me feel any less no matter if it’s a man or a woman.