Though I ended my abusive relationship in June of 2013, the cycle of abuse continued until October, when I called the police and filed for a restraining order after I was assaulted by my ex-partner.
2013 was a nightmare that shouldn’t have lasted as long as it did. The abuse that I experienced was not taken seriously by myself, my friends, and my community. I received very little support from the local LGBTQ community, and experienced a large degree of silencing and victim blaming. In many ways, the spaces and friendships that should have helped protect me ended up putting me in even greater danger.
Unfortunately, my experiences with intimate partner violence are not an exception. I now am aware of the extent to which implicit attitudes about gender and victimization inform our responses to intimate partner violence. These attitudes result in LGBTQ intimate partner violence being trivialized or ignored by LGBTQ communities themselves and society as a whole. This is further compounded by the fact that existing media on intimate partner violence fails to provide an empowering model of survivorship and support. The LGBTQ community on campus not only did not have access to a model of what intimate partner violence looks like, but also did not have access to a model of what breaking the cycle of violence looks like.
I remember spending the latter half of 2013 being utterly convinced that I had no future, unable to even imagine being alive in one year’s time. I spent those months of my life convinced that I was soon going to die. I felt like I had been completely deprived of any control over my future.
I now realize that this shouldn’t be anyone’s experience. We need access to more portrayals of survivors of intimate partner violence as empowered and in control. We need access to more portrayals of people supporting the survivors they know. We need access to more diverse representation of intimate partner violence and survivorship.
It is with this idea in mind that I decided to start Survivors are Everywhere as a project for my upper division writing class. I want to be able to add to the discourse of intimate partner violence by adding positive representation of empowered survivors and the people who have supported them. In doing this, I hope to help survivors know that the cycle of violence is broken every day, and they have the strength to take the steps needed in order to protect themselves.