Sunday, August 17

Homophobic Abuse In My Own Home

Tonight my partner and I suffered homophobic abuse in our own home. And I handled the whole thing so badly.

We live in an apartment block, renting a ground floor apartment in a block shared with 17 others. Recently the teenagers in our area have decided that hanging round in our carpark isn't cool enough, and through the use of slender wrists through the buildings letterbox manage to break in every evening and hold a gang meeting in our Hallway. They're kids mostly, kid's with nothing better to do than Invade our property to get out of the rain. And as it turns out, nothing better to do than shout abuse at my partner and I whenever we try to enter and exit our home.

It's not even like they're particularly creative. We've been called Batty boys, faggots, and been told that we 'like it up the shitter.' But it's abuse, pure and simple. I try to ignore it, but it annoys me, and it upsets Dan. These kids ve no right to be in my home and no right to make me or my partner afraid to walk out our own front door.

Tonight I exploded at them. I told them to get the fuck out of my house.

"If you're not gone in ten minutes I'll be reporting you for trespassing.
"It's not your house. And my mate lives here, he invited me in."
"Then go to your mates flat!" Dan said, to them. Surprisingly he seemed calmer than me. I was so angry. All I could think of was how much they'd annoyed me.
"Fine," I'm yelling at them now, "then I'll report you for Homophobic Abuse. Take your pick."
"Report us for what?" One of them said. He can't have been more than about 13.
I ignored them and turned to walk back to the flat. The kid started to follow me, panicking.
"What do you mean. What did we say?"
I walked into the flat, held the door open and turned to face them. They knew where I lived now. What the hell had I done? But then, the kid who followed me looked genuinely concerned. Maybe I'd scared them. I'd threatened to report him, he was trying to talk his way out of trouble. For a moment though, I wondered if he truly even understand what him and his friends had done to upset me.
"You were there!" I snap at him, "You know what you said." And I closed the door, fumbling to lock it in case they tried to get in.

10 minutes later I went to look again, and all of them had gone.

But here's the thing. I did it all wrong. They're Kids. Just Kids. Kids with nothing better to do than sit in places they have no right to be and hurl meaningless abuse. They can't possibly understand the hurt and the pain they caused or how much they scared Dan. Why couldn't I have told them that? Why couldn't I have tried to stay calm, reasonable, maybe even educate them a little. Why couldn't I at least have just ignored them, maybe that way they still wouldn't know where I live now...

I got it all wrong. I saw red and just shouted and yelled and gave them a reason to hate me. Now I don't know what I'll do next time I have to walk past them. Because they will be there again, at the very least they'll still be in the carpark next to my house. They're not just going to go away and now I've given them a reason to single me out and make things worse for me and Dan. Especially Dan. I'm so worried I've made things worse for him.

How can I fix this? Any advice would be welcome.


Dave2 said...

Sadly, those who are predisposed to hate and abuse seldom need an excuse... no matter what the rationale. Persecuting somebody because of their race, religion, sexuality, (or whatever reason) is part of who they are... whether from conditioning, peer pressure, or environment.

So try not to feel badly that you've made things worse. It was already worse long before you said a word. At some point you simply have to stand up for yourself, because people like this aren't going to respond to anything else. It's sad... it's regrettable... but it's all you have.

If you should be assaulted again, you'll have to follow through on your promise to report them (it's not as if they weren't warned). Hopefully this will bring some measure of relief or resolution, because nobody should have to suffer because of who they are or what they believe. It's not human, and makes the world a lesser place for us all.

I wish you all the best and hope things are better for the both of you soon!

This Eclectic Life said...

OMG, I'm so sorry that happened to you. I'd expect that kind of thing here in Texas (and am so glad my son moved to San Francisco). I think Dave is right. These may be "just kids," but they have been fed a diet of hatred. You trying to reason with them would have gotten you nowhere in a hurry, fast.

Do you think you handled it wrong? Huh uhh! Do you think for a moment that a heterosexual male would try to calmly reason with punks who were verbally abusing his wife? Not on your life. He'd tell them to get the heck out of his house or he'd call the cops.

It stinks that they know where you live, but what do you do next, you ask? You hold your head high and ignore them...and if the catcalls continue, you call the cops. Pure and simple.

ally said...

i'm sorry that there are ignorant kids like that around. i agree with dave that if they cause issue again then report them. no one should suffer that kind of abuse.

The Freelance Guru said...

Thanks guys. It's not really me I'm worried about though. I can take it. But it really upsets dan...

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that you did nothing wrong imho. If Dan was your wife no one would think twice about you defending her and telling the hooligans to shut up and get out or you'd call the cops. Yes, they're kids but they've learned their behavior from somewhere and quite possibly your blow up might just make them think.

You can't stress about the future encounters. When it happens again follow through on your threats. Report for harassment, for trespassing for whatever it takes to get the cops out there and put the fear into those kids.

harish said...

how do you address abuse? bigotry? prejudice? malice with no reason?

sadly...there is no way...time and changing cultural ethos may slowly but surely erase them.

till then...

rise above it, for a million abuses hurled at you by the weak, there a 100 words of the strong...

David said...

Since hatred and bigotry are learned behaviors, they can be defeated, at least in some people. It sounds like the one kid is open to a dialogue.

As long as you are not feeling particularly physically threatened by them or perhaps a smaller group of them, I would suggest trying to reach out to them. Perhaps taking a peace gift of some candy or sodas and using that to open a dialogue to explain how their behavior is hurtful and discuss how it makes you feel. At a minimum, it would at least plant the seeds that their behavior is wrong and you mean them no ill-will.

As to your friend’s advice to not be so “gay”, I would encourage you to avoid pda’s and any really flamboyant behavior.

I’ve found that most people who have bigoted homophobic beliefs will abandon them in the face of someone they know personally.
The individual will be less threatening to the bigot than the generic unknown gay person.

Canucklehead said...

That's a terrible story. You should talk to my friend, the Freelance Guru - he'll have it worked out in no time ... wait! What? Oh dear.

Well, I suppose you cannot undo what has been done. My advice is just hope the whole thing blows over. You of course should report any further trouble but my experience is that these things usually work themselves out.

Kittens-a-Cattin' said...

I don't think those kids will ever learn...
My ex of several years worked at an upscale tattoo shop, but the guys that hung around were always saying homophobic comments, which makes me literally explode.

After hearing about one of them doing some serious peeking in the men's locker room of a gym notirously known for being patronized by homosexuals.

After his last 'faggot' comment, I exploded and said, "you know homophobic guys are secretly interested in men... my friend at the gym, has seen firsthand."

He shut up, and I never heard the f-word again...he sure didn't want his secret getting out!

Would calmly explaining that statistics show homophobic men are hiding their homosexuality help? Or would that make them more mad?

Maybe sitting them down and explaining that homophobic comments are considered hate crimes and if they continue on that road, could potentially get in trouble with work or the law.

Or just have one of your big gay friends beat the hell out of them...hurts their pride in so many ways... ;)

Meg said...

I think you did the right thing, honestly. It's not like you threw punches or anything. No one should have to put up with that kind of abuse, especially in their own home. Now when you see those kids in the hallway, maybe they'll be the ones hanging their heads. Never be ashamed of standing up for yourself and the one you love.

ydb1 said...

ery right to be angry, and to show those kids how offensive they are.
at a future point when you calm down perhaps approach them calmly and explain your actions. You may be surprised at how they respond.

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