On bullying, domestic violence, homophobia, and fear #HAHAT #IDAHOT

(Please click on the above image for a list of participants in this year’s hop.)

I learned fear the year I turned fourteen.

When I came out of the bathroom at school, a boy would knock my purse just hard enough to empty its contents. When I approached a classroom, another boy would ambush me with a homemade rubber band gun.

“She flinched!” he would crow, chortling with laughter until my so-called friends joined in.

“Did you flinch?”

It became a game to see how far they could push without getting caught. I carried all of my possessions with me so I wouldn’t have to stop by a locker. I mastered changing into and out of my gym uniform fast enough to prevent salacious comments or ransacking of my bag while my back was turned. I learned to remain as still as stone, never giving away my feelings.

Who am I kidding? My feelings were easy to read as the tears escaped. Gym class and bus rides were the worst. I counted each day as I went to bed. One week. Two months. Four months. I knew I would be told to “ignore” or that I was making a big deal out of nothing, so I told no one.

I became labeled a “c*nt,” and I was too naive to know it was an insult until someone told me.

At the end of the day, however, it’s not the boys I remember. I remember my so-called friends, laughing as they joined in. I remember my father asking, “What did you do to provoke them?” I remember my mother saying, “It’s your fault for not telling anyone.” Boys would be boys, and girls were to blame for fighting back or not fighting back.

Bullying. It’s a popular word these days, as parents, teachers, and officials scramble to find a solution to a complicated problem. What is bullying, what does it look like, and what can we do to help? Specifically, what does bullying mean for the LGBT community?

Welcome to the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT)! I’m thrilled to join the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia (HAHAT), a collective effort from authors, publishers, reviewers, cover artists, and others involved in LGBT fiction. IDAHOT has been supported by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as well as many, many others. The aim of IDAHOT is to encourage local efforts, and as an author of F/F fiction I’m grateful for the chance to participate.

We talk a great deal about homophobia, transphobia, and other fears about those deemed “different.” Too often, the response is a dismissive comment such as, “I’m not scared of anyone; I think homosexuality is wrong. I have the right to think that without anyone shoving a gay agenda down my throat.”

Today, I’d like to make a proposition:

Homophobia, domestic violence, and bullying all stem from the same fear.

What fear might that be?

Fear of the unknown. Fear of the “different.” Fear, coupled with a desire to control others.

But mostly, fear of ourselves.

That’s right, ourselves. When we are secure in our own identity, confident and happy to be who we are, we have no need to knock anyone else down (physically or emotionally). The comments people have given me about F/F fiction reveal much about their insecurities and nothing about the love between two women.

What happens to a woman caught between multiple forms of this fear? She might face homophobia at work and domestic violence from her partner at home. But if that partner is a woman, resources may not be available to her that are available to a heterosexual woman. Consider these findings from the Lesbian Partner Violence Fact Sheet :

  • Domestic violence in lesbian relationships is as common or more common (1 in 4 or 1 in 3) as domestic violence in heterosexual relationships.
  • Women in same-sex relationships may not be allowed to request a court-ordered protective order
  • A homophobic environment allows a woman to threaten her partner with forced outing (to family, work, etc.). This also means a woman who is abused cannot seek help from the police.

According to a study by Little and Terrance (2010), gender stereotypes make it difficult for lesbian women to “prove” that they were the victim of domestic violence. Men tend to dismiss all violence perpetrated by a female to a female, and women tend to blame a female victim if she did not conform with stereotypically feminine traits.

Perhaps most shocking of all, many domestic violence shelters refuse to take lesbian women. That’s right. For the 16% of lesbian domestic violence victims who seek official help, they are then re-victimized with denial of legal protection and shelter.

(For more information: Domestic Violence in the LGBT community and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s New Data on Domestic and Sexual Violence

Special thanks to Myra Swintz for providing informative links.)

Do we hear about this in the LGBT news? Nope. We hear about people outraged that someone won’t make them a wedding cake.

I understand that discrimination of any type is wrong, but what is more important? A wedding cake or protecting lives?

As the anti-homophobia movement is gaining momentum, I would like to add this plea:

Let’s focus our energies on where it matters, not on trivial issues.

How do I focus my energies? I write stories of women who love women, and I use opposite worlds to help people understand what it would be like to live in a society that blames us for our identity.

Becoming-Clissine-Cover

Click here for the Becoming Clissine book trailer

Becoming Clissine (Bastia, Book One)

What if heterosexuality were a crime?

Betrothed at birth to the daughter of one of the most prominent Houses in the totalitarian theocracy of Bastia, soon-to-be-college-graduate Clissa isn’t sure whether she is ready to undergo the Mar. Once she becomes the Nur, or the submissive partner, to her betrothed she will have to submit all major decisions of her life to the beautiful Helaine whom she has only met once. She must marry a woman, according to the decrees of Bastian law.

Caught between his desire to “get along” and the growing awareness that he is “het” and is attracted to Clissa, Destral kisses her one day as they study in their college library. Shocked at the feelings the kiss awakens, Clissa begins to question everything she has been taught. Did Basti, their deity, really decree that it was sinful for a man to be with a woman? Will her growing feelings for Destral cost her everything that her parents have worked hard to give her?

In a mad attempt to subvert Bastian authority, Clissa and Destral run away to find the Het Pride, a group that preaches tolerance, equality, and peace. Z, their leader, promises that one day hets will achieve equality and freedom. When the Bastian police capture or kills most of the Het Pride, however, Clissa is assigned to new parents for “reeducation” in the doctrine of Bastia. Her new parents are given one mandate: Bring her back to rightness with Basti.

Clissa, lost in a system that is threatened by her very identity, must make her choice. Will she be broken by Bastian authority, or will she find a way to break free? Can true love overcome a harsh regime?

—-

For this hop, I will offer three prizes:

How to enter: Leave your name and a working email address in the comments. Respond to one or more of the following prompts:

  • What about this post surprised you or was new to you?
  • Please share any personal experience and/or wisdom to share regarding any of the points made in this article.
  • How could we make more resources available for lesbian women who have experienced bullying and/or domestic violence?

Winners will be announced on May 25th here on the blog (governingana.wordpress.com), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/anastasiapvitsky), and Twitter (@AnastasiaVitsky). Winners must claim their prizes within 24 hours, or I will re-draw for a new winner.

Extra prize entries! If you leave a new review on Amazon and/or Blushing Books for any of my F/F books (The Way Home, Lighting the Way, Editorial Board, Simple Gifts, Desire in Any Language, Mira’s Miracle, and Becoming Clissine), you will receive an extra prize entry for each book you review! All of my books are available on Amazon and Blushing, and you will receive a prize entry for every review (two per book, if you post both on Amazon and Blushing). Please leave a note in the comments telling me which book you reviewed and where.

Best of luck, and happy International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia!

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51 thoughts on “On bullying, domestic violence, homophobia, and fear #HAHAT #IDAHOT

  1. Ruth Staunton says:

    Thank you, Ana, for speaking out about this! Frankly, I had (stupidly) never thought about partner violence in a F/F context, though I have a subplot about M/M abusive relationships in on of my WIPs. (duh! stupid oversite on my part) It boggles my mind that ANYONE would be denied shelter/protection.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      It’s not something most people talk about or think about. You’re not the only one. Women are assumed to be gentler, meeker, and less threatening. Worse, law enforcement officials will typically dismiss lesbian couples as “roommates” or other situations in which the abused woman is perhaps blamed (being physically larger than the abusive partner, for example, can fuel misconceptions resulting in the victim arrested instead of the abuser). Also, bullying by and toward females (girls and women) tends to be much less blatant than that toward and by men. It’s easy to see a broken jaw and black eye as abuse, but it’s harder to see isolation and emotional threats.

      And yes, the shelter thing blew my mind. 😦

      Like

  2. Charmaine Butler says:

    1) the one thing I learnt from the article is the high rate of abuse and the fact that they don’t have the same rights. (Which is sick. No matter what you are if you are cut you bleed the same as a straight person)

    2) I’m straight but being a big girl at school with a messy curly top I had the bullying. People are cruel and mean. Every where you go there are small minded bullies. Don’t feel bad for being yourself. It may get tough sometimes and I hope you have someone to help you through these times. I didn’t always but I do now.

    3) this one is hard because its not just education of the facts its getting people to change how they view people. White or black, gay or straight at the end of the day these are not differences. On the inside everyone is the same. We all have hearts and brains its just a shame that not everyone uses them.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      1) I couldn’t agree more. Seven states specifically forbid same-sex couples from obtaining a protective order, and three states refuse requests most of the time. Do we seriously think only men abuse women?

      2) I hope that everyone who has been bullied can have help, the way you have found help. We all need our support systems. Thank you for sharing.

      3) Also couldn’t agree with you more.

      Thank you so much for visiting.

      Like

  3. Louisa Bacio says:

    I had no idea about not getting a protective order in some states. That makes absolutely no sense because what if I wasn’t in a same-sex relationship and someone attacked me? Wouldn’t that potentially be eligible for a protective order? What does a relationship change?

    Thanks for taking part, and thank you for the information.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      If I understand it correctly, someone in a same-sex relationship could go to court for protective injunctions but would have to go through criminal rather than family court (sorry, I’m obviously not an expert), which means losing all of the protections of confidentiality, etc, involved in family cases. Since same-sex couples aren’t legally considered family, they don’t get to go through family law. At least that’s what I think. Would love to get more specific information.

      Like

  4. annapurna1951 says:

    Before reading your post, Ana, I believed men to be the root cause of abuse and violence in families and relationships, fueled primarily by their larger size, compared to most women, and their testosterone. The facts you’ve revealed don’t support these assumptions entirely when it relates to domestic violence, and run counter to my limited experience.

    When I was growing up, it was my father, and not my mother, who succumbed to bouts of rage, violence against my older half-brother, and intimidation as a means of control. In school, it was the older, larger boys, who were the bullies, not the girls. On the street, it was male gang members and local thugs, always male, who we had to avoid, again never women. The same was true of other households, I believe, where abuse may have been present. For some reason, I chose to ignore incidents, and there were several, in which mothers were the primary household disciplinarians who resorted to corporal punishment to maintain order and control over their children, but not their husbands.

    To learn now that domestic violence in lesbian relationships is as common or more so than heterosexual unions is not only surprising, but also sad and disheartening. Add to that the threat of having one’s orientation divulged by one’s partner to family, friends, or employers as a means of control or abuse only makes matters worse. While I’m not about to abandon my tribal knowledge about men and their tendencies, my image of women as being largely exempt from perpetrator ranks is in need of serious revision, and leaves me wondering whether any of us are safe in relationships anymore in the twenty-first century. It’s a scary proposition, especially for people like me who struggle with intimacy and vulnerability. Worse still, the facts you’ve shared have further eroded my idealistic edifice—now cracked and crumbling—which once supported the ill-starred notion of love and romance between adults. Is such a notion an illusion, a holdover fantasy of my childhood, a belief of something far better than my dysfunctional family of origin, a mirage that waits for me somewhere over a lost horizon?

    Michelangelo’s Pietà and similar artwork, the glorification of motherhood, the personification of women as the feeling-intuitive sex, the Gaia Principle, and the women’s movement of the twentieth century all point to women as being unlikely perpetrators of domestic violence, at least in my ill-informed mind. I would think with marriage equality, LGBT rights, homophobia, and women’s issues, especially those concerning reproductive control, all being so prevalent in the news and on the Internet that lesbian couples nowadays would exercise extra caution, consideration, mindfulness, and sensitivity in the handling of their relationships. I would like to think that physical, sexual, and psychological abuse would be a very rare exception indeed. It appears not to be the case.

    It’s far less surprising to read that some (or perhaps many) courts are unlikely to grant lesbians restraining orders, or other protective rights, against their partners. It would appear our judicial system suffers from ignorance, not unlike my own, and goes much further by discounting or literally scoffing at the seriousness of the claims submitted, something I would never do, and serves as further evidence of society’s deep-seated homophobia. Abuse hurts no matter who instigates it—male or female. Simple logic tells me the victim needs immediate protection and viable options for social, legal, and economic remedy or redress; without such measures, the plaintiff, due to a lack of personal resources, may have no other choice but to reenter her abusive environment, allowing the cycle to repeat, sometimes for years. An existential fatalism soon follows—a no-exit mentality, a Stockholm syndrome, a deep sense of hopelessness, a self-image trampled upon and torn to shreds, a life soon ruined. Such a prognosis is commonplace for women in abusive heterosexual marriages, but to contemplate a similar fate for some lesbians is downright painful and depressing.

    Logically, a homophobic environment gives an abuser another means of control. It’s a convenient threat to make; do as I say; otherwise, I’ll out you to family, friends, and employers, past and present. Such tactics are shocking. It’s not easy to proclaim one’s true nature for fear of serious reprisal, leading to unemployment or ostracism from family and friends. Having lived in poverty and without familial support, I know firsthand the devastating effects. Only the strongest and most persistent among us can survive such banishment for very long. I would hope that same-sex couples would refrain from such behavior. The threat of outing leaves love sitting abandoned at the doorstep, a child holding her head wondering what she has done wrong, blaming herself for the mistreatment, when fear and a need to dominate are the real culprits.

    I’ve long wondered about the root cause of many things, especially some of the problems facing society. Poverty, income inequality, crime, racism, sexism, and the mistreatment of women are some of the issues I’ve grappled with and have failed to produce useful solutions. To this mix, I must now add domestic violence in lesbian relationships.

    Being on the receiving end is no abstraction. The pain and suffering are real, damaging, and long lasting. In a homophobic environment that considers lesbian relationships as either demented or evil is largely to blame for the discord in same-sex relationships involving women. Especially pernicious is the ludicrous idea permeating conservative thinking that lesbians should renounce their orientation and identity, as if they could even make such a choice and remain sane, and simply embrace the ideals of a heterosexual society, and by implication, Christian morals. In other words, they should join the tyranny of the majority; after all, it’s the democratic thing to do. America’s Judeo-Christian origin is the foundation of such tyranny. In both the Old and New Testaments, we can all point to passages condemning same-sex coupling, penned by old men in a patriarchal society of the time, and then deemed sacrosanct by alleged divine inspiration, the evidence of which is sorely missing. We’re told it’s a matter of faith, at least that was my experience growing up Catholic, and to believe otherwise would be a mortal sin on par with masturbation, premarital sex, murder, robbery, and so forth, all mixed in a single bag of wrongdoing, cinched tight by the drawstrings of guilt.

    While it’s very convenient to blame Christianity, and other religions, there are other forces at work. We still live in a patriarchal society that glorifies money, materialism, corporate dominance, competition, rugged individualism, conformity, power, militarism, and brute force. Lurking beneath these notions, hidden in our movies, computer games, action-adventure stories, mass media, contact sports, and so forth, is the suggestion that aggression, hazing, and even bullying is okay, so long as one doesn’t get caught and draw unwanted attention to oneself and to those in charge. If that’s not true, why is there no universal zero-tolerance policy against such acts? I believe they’re considered a rite of passage to which those in charge are entitled, who maintain that they don’t cause any lasting harm, a mistaken notion at best, and in the final analysis, America doesn’t want to be seen as a nation of sissies. That may explain why domineering people are believed to be better soldiers and corporate managers who will be more aggressive, demanding, and intolerant of deviation; they will be the guardians entrusted to maintain the social order. Being passive, effeminate, homosexual, pacifist, iconoclastic, or irreverent is antithetical to this order and the hidden political agenda, based on world hegemony—both militaristic and economic. In such an environment, homophobia flourishes; how could it not do otherwise? So if society uses strong-arm tactics to advance its interests, why would we not see the same behavior with lesbian couples? After all, they are embedded in a culture that idealizes power and control.

    However, it may be a little more complicated than that.

    In families where the head of house rules by abuse, a role usually assumed by men, children, both girls and boys, learn abusive behavior by two means: modeling and identifying with the aggressor.

    Modeling, a learning theory notion, is just that, an internalization of ineffective behavior to conflict resolution that employs violence, coercion, deprivation, and various forms of abuse. Instead of using reason, patience, problem solving, and encouragement, children see more dysfunctional forms of acting out: yelling, hitting, throwing objects, drinking, emotional cut off, silent treatment, and destructive bickering, criticism, and mockery. A child absorbs these maladaptive patterns like a photographic plate and repeats them in her intimate relationships later in life.

    Identifying with the aggressor is a psychoanalytic idea. If a child witnesses or is the subject of abuse—verbal, physical, or sexual—one way to counteract such ill-treatment is to become like the aggressor himself in both attitude and behavior, with the remote possibility of mitigating the abuse itself while almost certainly transferring or acting out this aggression against others, especially younger, smaller, and weaker children. As the child becomes an adult, she may continue to exhibit this aggressor mentality, at an unconscious level, in her intimate relationships. She may also unconsciously identify with society’s general aura of aggression usually reserved for ultra-alpha males in arenas that glorify power and brute force: professional football, boxing, wrestling, and mixed martial arts as well as the military, particularly our Special Forces, Marine Corps, and Army Airborne Rangers. Going still deeper, and in a Jungian direction, she may become susceptible to the archetypes of the warrior, sadist, and tyrant—a subject for a lengthy book indeed.

    The causal factors of lesbian domestic violence are many and complicated. I could have also talked about the importance of how feelings of helpless lead to rage as well as the trigger points that spark violence, and so forth. The important question, though, is what can we do about it now? How do we bring the issue out of the shadows while not adding to the cannon fodder already being used against the lesbian community?

    I say we start nationally (even internationally), and then go to the grass roots level, while not waiting until we have marriage equality. That may take too long.

    We start by creating a national website (why not international too) to direct victims to resources on a region-by-region basis, if not city-by-city. We can create regional and local websites as well. Where permitted, we can embed URL links to these websites on a variety of webpages where women of all orientations visit (e.g., sites dedicated to women’s clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, healthcare, magazines, and so forth). Obviously, every site dedicated to lesbian interests should have these same links prominently displayed on the first landing page, and elsewhere on the site. We can even have mobile apps made for the iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems that make it extremely easy to access these sites and to put women directly in touch with the appropriate resources with a single button press if needed.

    The next step would be to canvas local and state governments to make more resources available, if possible. Then we could visit local police stations to accomplish two goals: 1) bring to their awareness the problem of domestic violence involving women in same-sex unions; 2) provide resource packets to be given to victims whether or not law enforcement intends to act in a meaningful and constructive way.

    Less effective means would be to advertise in the mass media, not a good idea because of cost, or to place flyers in local coffee shops, bookstores, Laundromats, libraries, schools, clubs, single’s bars for women, and so forth. This last approach is both labor intensive and time consuming; it’s probably not an effective way of getting the word out compared to the Internet.

    Whew! What a revelation for me, Ana. Thank you so very much for sharing and helping me understand the issues a little better.

    Like

  5. annapurna1951 says:

    I made a booboo: “I could have also talked about the importance of how feelings of helplessness (not helpless) lead to rage as well as the trigger points that spark violence, and so forth.”

    There may be other errors. I’m not a good proofreader, even with Ginger online.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Don’t get me wrong–domestic violence also occurs in relationships between gay men. I focused on lesbian women here because women’s relationships are typically given less attention in general. Mothers do abuse children, and in some cases the abuse is horrifying to the point of disbelief.

      Violence is wrong, and it can only occur when it’s supported by society. That’s why, when I wrote Becoming Clissine, the violence wasn’t about sexuality (except on the surface). Violence is about devaluing certain lives while over-valuing others. Yes, over-valuing. If certain lives are given permission to degrade others, that’s over-valuing.

      I hope we can all find a solution.

      Like

      • annapurna1951 says:

        I agree: women’s relationships are not given the attention they deserve, and it’s about time. Thank you very much for raising the issue and giving us an opportunity to talk about it.

        I also agree that violence occurs between gay men. I wish it didn’t, but it does. However, on your blog, dedicated to female/female relationships, it makes perfect sense that we focus our attention on the unfortunate violence that can occur between women while thinking about its root cause.

        Violence in any form, other than self-defense or the preservation of one’s family against real, not imaginary assailants, is terribly wrong and abhorrent. I couldn’t agree more. The best way to settle any dispute is through talking it out. If that fails, there’s always the court system.

        Like

  6. Jolynn Raymond says:

    All of this is very insightful. While I am painfully aware of the fact that my wife and I aren’t legally married, I now wonder about her legal status as my domestic partner. I simply assumed we would both have the rights of at least being seen as a victim in need of help and having a shelter to go to. We have no violence issues though do practice domestic discipline which some would see as abuse.

    Where I live a person can be charged with assault even if the victim (aka my sometimes consensually spanked wife) doesn’t want to press charges. Now I wonder how any authorities would react to my ‘assault’ upon my wife that comes in the form of mutually desired spankings.

    Very thought provoking post. It makes me wonder what my states laws are and what else is denied us as a same sex couple who are legal domestic partners. On a side note I hate that classification! when we were at the courthouse, the other couples received their marriage licenses in pretty wedding bell decorated envelopes and ours was a plain brown because we weren’t married. I embrace the protection our legal status grants my wife in relation to health insurance, her rights to decide medical issues for me and stay by my bedside in the hospital and such, but sometimes I still want to go across the border to Iowa to be legally married even if it wouldn’t be recognized in our state. Beauty is my wife. She wears my ring and has my devoted love, and yet people can still sneer and refuse to call her my wife.

    Our world must change or we as a people will die out from the hate and violence we spew at each other.

    Like

    • annapurna1951 says:

      If you’re not married and if you should die, heaven forbid, your wife, that’s how I see her, could be out of luck, should your family swoop in on your assists. Consider seeking the advice of a lawyer to set up a trust in which your partner gets everything, and vice versa of course.

      In regards to your domestic discipline, it might be a good idea to have a periodic check in to see if that is still what she wants. Should she change her mind, oh well?

      I’m sorry to hear that you live in a nanny state. Just be careful the neighbors don’t hear. Should they turn you in and if your local law enforcement is bored, the cops might come by and make your life a little difficult. Spanking, unfortunately, is a noisy affair even if your partner is the stoic type, like me.

      You might want to check your local statues or, once again, contact an attorney if your state laws are a bit obtuse about what you can and cannot do in your bedroom.

      Welcome to the United States of Repression.

      “Beauty is my wife.”

      How touching and very sweet—you love her very much.

      Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Jolynn, what a wonderful, thoughtful comment. Thank you so much. I loved your post, too.

      In a sadly ironic twist, you might be less at risk (regarding spankings) as a woman. Huh, right? Especially if you are similar in size and strength, there would be less of an automatic assumption that “violence” (as some might see consensual adult spankings) is happening.

      I am glad for the protections that you do have, and I hope they will continue to grow.

      Thank you for all the work you do.

      Like

  7. catrouble says:

    My heart breaks for that 14 year old bullied young girl. I wish I had been there to protect her…she would have been protected the way I was by my father when the nuns bullied me and the way my boys were when someone tried to bully them. She would then have been held and hugged and would have known without a shadow of a doubt that none of that ugliness was her fault or had anything to do with her.

    I was totally shocked to learn that any woman has been denied protection from violence! It doesn’t matter who the perpetrator is!!!! Actually, I guess I’m not that shocked because I tried to get an order of protection from a couple…I was more scared of what she would do but the judge would only grant an order of protection from him because she didn’t look threatening and I had no proof.

    I went to school with a girl who went on to represent our state in the Miss USA pageant and was a finalist in the top 10, but to me, she was one of the ugliest people I had ever met because she was such a cruel bully.

    I watched my oldest son date a girl that was constantly hitting and kicking him all in the name of “just playing”…I was so happy when he ended that relationship!

    I think the stereotypical idea that women are the ‘gentler’ sex and couldn’t possibly be responsible for family violence is the reasoning behind all this stupidity…just as many can’t believe a woman smaller than a man could be the batterer in a relationship…oh and let’s not forget that a man can’t be raped and a woman can’t be raped by another woman…and when bruises are seen on children, it’s always the father or boyfriend that has the fingers pointed at them first. *sigh*

    I think our schools need to focus less on arresting a child for pointing a finger and pretending it’s a gun in a game of cops and robbers and focus more on teaching them to respect one another.

    Sending prayers and positive energy into the universe that one day we will see this kind of ugliness disappear.

    Hugs and Blessings…
    Cat

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Yes, a lot of violence can occur without any physical proof. When it’s one person’s word against another’s, it can get ugly fast. Some people will refuse to report violence because they don’t have proof and are afraid that people will accuse them of lying. I hope that we can make this world a safer place, in many ways.

      Like

  8. Ray says:

    “Fear of the “different.” ” really affects so many women around the world. So many are unable to reveal their real identity in fear that what their families will think. To be true, the fear isn’t totally irrational as society does treat a woman badly (especially) and consider her as an outcast when they dare to stand up for their identity.

    Anyways, your book sound interesting too. The book blurb is really grabbing.

    Like

  9. Renee says:

    Wow, I found your article eye-opening. I was shocked to read that women cannot get protection from abuse if the abuse came from another woman. That is just crazy. People are people first and lifestyle choices should not define them any differently. Instead of focusing on diversity and acceptance of different lifestyle choices in our schools maybe we should focus on respect for all people as persons instead of labels. If everyone was respected equally as a human being first there would not be any issues over their sexuality (which by the way is a personal choice not society’s choice). People need to use their common sense they were born with and stop allow fear to rule their lives. Thank you Ana for sharing this article. It is definitely needed in today’s world.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Some of the problem is indirect rather than direct. A police station might be willing to help a woman in a domestic partnership with a woman, but she can’t get help without coming out. Or, if a woman is out and does seek help, she might be dismissed because she’s muscular and looks strong.

      Thank you so much for reading and listening.

      Like

  10. rojoroaors says:

    thanks for your post on a neglected subject but the abuse occur basically because the abuser is trying to control the abusee. and the need for control does stem from their fear and insecurity. I knew that there were cases of f/f domestic abuse but wasn’t aware how common it is.

    rojoroaors@yahoo.com

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  11. jlgaynor says:

    Thank you, Ana, though I have to say the beginning of your post brought back some serious memories. It’s all behind me now but I keep those memories as a reminder of what I was and what I choose to stand against now.

    Like

  12. alexissduran says:

    I have to admit I was shocked to read that violence in lesbian couples is as common as it is in heterosexual couples. I’ve always thought of women as less prone to violence. Not sure why, experienced plenty of bullying at the hands of “the mean girls” at school and from my own sister. Maybe some denial at work? Thanks for an informative and thoughtful post.

    Like

  13. rapadmos says:

    Insightful article you wrote there. I’ve been aware of this for quite a while (it’s near impossible to be openly lesbian for 35 years and not be aware of it), but it’s always good to be reminded that not all is well in paradise.
    Sad, though.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Oh, how I wish we could be unaware. Wouldn’t it be nice if we talked about this issue and no one had ever known anyone who encountered it? Maybe, just maybe, we can see that in the future. I hope you are always safe and well.

      Like

  14. lenagrey says:

    hi Anastasia. I don’t read F/F so I’m not asking to be in your drawing, but wanted to thank you for taking part in this Hop and for your post about bullying. My son told me years later how much he was taunted at school and it broke my heart! It’s a huge problem, but can’t be ignored. Thanks, again for contributing!

    Like

  15. Regan Nicole says:

    I have to say- I was completely shocked by the domestic violence statistics. In school I remember reading about heterosexual violence statistics but I can’t ever remember reading or learning the statistics for same-sex couples. I suppose I was naive to think domestic violence in a lesbian relationship would be LESS prevalent than that of a heterosexual male and female. I also couldn’t believe there aren’t resources for women who are seeking help or that they may be turned away. I was curious to see if my area had any type of LGBT program and did find one-> http://www.mkelgbt.org/anti-violence-program/ Perhaps I will look into volunteer opportunities.
    Great post!

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Me too, Regan. I think it’s hard to see women’s violence because women in general are not part of public view. When we are seen, we’re viewed as sexual objects, housewives, and mothers/girlfriends/wives. I’m cheered that Blondie’s local shelter doesn’t discriminate by sexual orientation, but shelters are only one step.

      I hope you do volunteer. Please let us know!

      Like

  16. Andrew J. Peters says:

    That was a really moving and realistic portrayal of teen bullying as a lead off, Ana. As others said, it brought back memories for me. I dreaded, absolutely dreaded gym class in middle school. I was a chubby boy and got made fun of for that. Then there was a real jerk who used to stalk and terrorize me in that class. I rushed out of that class, never showering, to get the hell out of there.

    Thanks for bringing attention to that as well as the important issue of domestic violence.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I wish people would find better outlets for their anger and nastiness instead of lashing out at others. Weight, birthmarks, skin color, sexuality, ethnicity, geographic origin, nationality, etc., all seem to make people think they can judge. As I said earlier, someone actually had the nerve to visit my blog (this post) and tell me she didn’t like F/F. Why do people need to shove their judgments in the faces of other people?

      Like

  17. Blondie says:

    Some of what you wrote shocked me. I contacted our local women’s shelter and asked about their stand of admitting all women no matter their sexual preference. They were very surprised by the question and couldn’t fathom it even being an issue. That is a good thing since we have always been big supporters of WEAVE. Recently, here in California, two different families have gotten restraining orders against the person that is bullying them. One of the bullied is in high school and the other child is in elementary. The parents tried all the different avenues to try and get the bullying stopped and nothing seemed to work, so they filed. I think that is a great idea. Why should the child who is being bullied have to be the victim again and again?
    Ana, I think that you are doing a great service in making everyone aware of these issues. I never really thought about it all. I was raised to not judge and to accept all. Sexual preference has never been an issue. All my life I have known and/or been friends with lesbians. And my half brother is gay. No problem. But I know that I am not in the majority (yet). Unfortunately, I tend to not see all that is going on, I seem to be so busy in my little world of motherhood that I have not really seen it all. I have only been raising my children to be accepting.
    Transgender is newer to me. I have become more aware of this being an issue since the high schools have been dealing with the hate and phobia. I have some friends, who’s son has slowly realized and admitted his being transgender. Luckily his parents are some of the most accepting and loving of people. They have joined a support group to learn more and to find out ways to protect their son.
    Okay, long post. Sorry…. but still, the bottom line is that you are doing a great job making people aware of the horrible treatment and bullying. Keep up the good work

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Hi Blondie,

      No, it’s not the case in all shelters. I hope, as awareness spreads, it will not be the case in any shelters. Getting an injunction (protective order) is pretty difficult in the first place, and in some cases advocates warn people that filing for an injunction might be seen as an aggressive move (it’s not, to be clear, but the person being filed against may see it that way and retaliate). Also, an injunction only works as long as the person follows it. I have heard of cases where the police were called, but they left because there was no evidence and it seemed (to them) like a dispute between two consenting parties. In one case, the officer actually told a woman to call 911 if something “really” happened. When the perpetrator is a woman, the danger is not always taken seriously.

      Just a small correction. “Sexual preference” is often seen as a misnomer, since it’s not someone’s choice. “Sexual orientation” is the more common term. 🙂 It’s a small thing, but it’s good to know.

      Thank you so much for your support. 🙂

      Like

  18. pao says:

    That little excerpt brings back a number of sad memories. I think it is a lot more sad when the victim gets no support at all and starts thinking it’s their fault. The bit about lesbians being denied shelter is shocking. I’m not sure about the shelters here, but they do not seem to mention lesbians on their sites… The worst part about seeking help is when people don’t take you seriously. Not sure if this will help, but here are some links with contact details for other regions:
    UK/US/AU/NZ – http://www.pandys.org/articles/lesbiandomesticviolence.html

    AU – https://www.1800respect.org.au and http://www.anothercloset.com.au/

    Like

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