Am writing on an extremely important topic that’s heartbreaking and needs much more understanding from the general public, legal system, medical/ mental health professionals ETC. I’m sure I’ll be writing more as my friend continues his journey to free himself from an abusive situation and once again find a safe living situation.
To protect my friend’s identity and that of that of the abuser (though I don’t know why I would want to do something even this kind to him) names will be changed.
So I met my friend Ben in 2012. I was living in a facility for the blind. He came from an incredibly abusive homelife. Wanted to stay under the radar of the social services system, and so never experiences the ups and downs of that. However as I said was incredibly traumatized at home, was homeless and stayed at many friends houses.
When he was 21 he met Max on a dating site for GLBTQ. Max was very karismatic, also blind and older. He was like a caregiving figure to Ben and always said he’d take care of him and truly loved him. At the time Ben was living with a friend. One day feeling Max was someone he could truly depend on he packed up and moved to another state.
Things started out ok as many abusive relationships do but it wasn’t long before Ben saw Max’ss darker side. Which included that he had HIV and never told him, his possessiveness rages and sexaually abusive behavior.
This started a nightmare for Ben as Max took the upper hand. Ben was physicfally, emotionally, and sexually abused for over a year.
Through quick thinking and an unbelieveable plan he escaped and moved back to his original state.
Soon he came to my facility. Where he’s spent a pretty happy few years and built a life for himself.
Max has stayed like a monster lurking in the background but Ben has managed to outwit his efforts to control him. (stopped him from hacking his cThe current director of the facility is very much a business minded person. To the point that all he sees is anything to do with money andc not the needs or even emotional safety of the residents.
So he decided to expand this facility from one building and add another apartment building with
An independent living model. The unrealistic expectations of this program aside, the problem is that in his eagerness to make money he has allowed our good friend Max to move in. This character no doubt has abused others. Whether he’s stayed under the radar of the law is something yet to be determined. We do know that he uses his HIV status as a form of abuse by not telling people and risking they be infected. He would we think be in the apartment with two girls which does not sound like a safe situation at all. He is gay but should he get sexually minded enough I wouldn’t put it past him to try to take advantage/ harass anyone he camein contact with.
I’m not saying they shouldn’t have accepted him into the program on those grounds because we don’t have actual proof of any of this. I do strongly feel that when Ben went to the staff countless times telling them how seriously Max had hurt him, and how he absolutely needed to know for his own physical and emotional safety if this guy would come within the same ten mile space as him, they brushed off the issue and basically lied. When the harassing about him moving in intensified Ben’s persistence in questioning payed off and he learned that incredibly he was in fact moving in.
Staff basically told him that they had a good security system there and there shouldn’t be any problems. To them this was just a bad break up.
If a woman had come forward claiming exactly what Ben did would they have the same reaction? I honestly don’t think so. I don’t think they really get it about LGBTQ relationships. More importantly I honestly don’t think they believe a disabled person could actually abuse another disabled person. People see blind people as so helpless and dependent they couldn’t imagine one as an abuser. I really think that’s part of this.
So now Ben is left with deciding just how he’s going to handle this knowing the security system could easily be bypassed.
Thank goodness for LGBTQ centers that have domestic violence advocates. He has been reffered to one and we’re hoping they can be a strong ally. However a lot is going against him here. Nothing was ever reported. For the obvious reason that in this situation he didn’t think anyone would believe him. The trauma of being brushed off, having the abuser’s behavior actually justified in a way by the police and just the general ignorance would have been too much.
I tried to look up stuff about an order of protection. And firstly I’m so glad I went into psychology and not law. I don’t know how people ever learn all these legal terms and concepts. Everything I read applied to women and families and being marraried. Which just didn’t seem to fit the situation, and I’m sure doesn’t fit many LGBTQ relationships. Though people in most states can now marry still.
Lastly the abuse occurred in another state not here. And the only records Ben has are of online stalking. I just don’t know if he has anything legally or police wise to go on.
The big picture conclusion I wanted to discuss is: how can we look at situations like this and just watch someone be abused. And say that the regular measures for protection don’t apply? People need to wrap their minds around the fact that yes someone with a disability is very capable of being just as horrifically abgusive as someone without a disability.
I have other friends who have dealt with similar issues. I sadly have a friend who was sexually a assaulted and due to their multiple disabilities was dismissed and this horrible man who drives a disability bus got off.
Clearly something needs to change. It’s so sad. I feel so helpless watching my friend go through this. To have finally got away from not only severe abuse at home, and then the severe abuse in his relationship. And then to have the nightmare all over again just when he’s doing well in his life.
I just hope that with the resources we have for possible other homes, and the resources we have to stand up to this guy something can be done either way. Would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on LGBTQ relationships where domestic violence was involved. Or where disability was a factor and what worked and what didn’t. It’s a huge issue in society that won’t change unless people talk about it.
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