Victims of intimate partner violence/domestic violence are not always women. They are not always straight. And they are not always cisgender. I am a straight transgender man and this is my story.
Her hand was around my throat, as she looked directly at me with a despising anger. “What did you just say.” She seethed.
“Let go.” I said, as I stared back at her confused.
We were standing in a crowded and loud bar. As I stared at this woman I was completely enamored by — who currently had her hand around my throat, I wondered for the first time, “Was this a healthy relationship? Was this abuse?”
She let go of my throat and turned back to her friends, continuing her story, as if nothing had happened. I sat at the bar and contemplated what to do next. I should leave. Right now. Walk…just stand up and start walking, idiot. I should get in my car and drive home and block her number and never look back. Why am I still sitting here? Go. You deserve better than this. Just leave.
She turned back towards me, “Are you ready?” she asked.
I looked up and sighed “Yeah.”
I drove in silence, thinking of all the things I wanted to tell her. About how poorly she’d treated me these last couple months and how I deserved more and better. About how we were clearly over because I knew my self-worth and this was not it. About how this was abuse. But I didn’t say any of those things. I decided I would drop her off but I would not go inside. I would go home. When I pulled into her driveway, I left the car running as I said goodnight.
“Umm, you aren’t staying? What the f%#@, Jay?” she said.
“Well, it doesn’t seem like you’re that fond of me, tonight. So I thought I’d leave you alone.” I said. I could feel her piercing eyes staring at me but I couldn’t meet her stare. I just continued looking at my lap.
“Of course I’m fond of you. I always am. Don’t be stupid. Park the car and come in.” She replied.
I can’t explain why I agreed. Maybe it was because I was exhausted and didn’t want to argue. Or maybe it was that I had started to second guess myself — was I overreacting — it wasn’t really that bad. Or maybe it was because she had just shared that she did still like me…