Below is Lily’s Story. She was in a relationship with her same-sex partner for 3 years. As you read through the story, you will notice some highlighted words. Click on them to learn more.
A Bad Start
She was the first girlfriend I had. I didn’t really know what to expect.
When we started dating she was extremely jealous and I thought it was a sign that she loved me. But now I know that was a warning sign of an abusive partner.
Things Got Worse
My partner would log into my Facebook account and read my messages. She made me delete friends from my online accounts and would use social media to keep track of where I was. She would get mad if I didn’t check-in online.
After many months of different types of abuse including psychological and verbal abuse, I stood up to her. That was the first time she hit me and she promised it would never happen again. I thought that it wasn’t really domestic violence because we are the same sex and physically we are equals.
Once I had tried to leave my partner and she threatened to out me as queer to my boss. I am still in the closet with some friends and co-workers and I am not ready to let them know about my sexual orientation.
I Felt Trapped
Initially, my family and friends were very supportive, but soon they did not want to hear about it. It was difficult for them to understand why I stayed and why I kept going back. I was feeling sad and frustrated.
As time passed my partner was becoming more and more controlling. I finally realized something had to change. I told my friends and family what was happening and they gave me the phone numbers of some places offering help for abused women. I phoned several places to find out what I should do if I were to leave. I was also worried about what I would do with our dog. She threatened to hurt him and I wanted to make sure my pet was safe.
I Looked for Help
I began slowly phoning different places that provided services for women in violent and abusive relationships. Sometimes I phoned for information; sometimes just to talk.
I remember talking to a counsellor about what to if she hit me again. She told me to phone the police if I was in danger. She told me I should make a safety plan. If I decided to leave suddenly, I could get out as safely as possible. I also talked to my SPCA about a foster home for my dog. I found that thinking about what I had to do gave me the strength to make a decision.
I finally made the decision to leave after she hit me again. The police came and laid charges against her. The police took me to a nearby shelter. I stayed there for 3 weeks and the Humane Society took care of my dog until I was ready to take him back.
While staying at the shelter, I looked for a new place to live. I was worried that once we left the shelter she would find me. I shared these concerns with the shelter workers and they suggested a restraining order. A restraining order is a type of protective order. They told me about the Protection Against Family Violence Act. They told me that a lawyer might be helpful and helped me to get a lawyer.
Going to court
I was also called to testify about what happened the last time she hit me, when the police laid charges. I was scared to go to court and it was awful to think that she would be there too. I didn’t know what to expect.
I learned a lot from all the people I talked to. I learned about what I need to know and what my choices are. I know that there are things I can do.