A Hair Story by Amanda Shea

(In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month)

The month of October commemorates many important social, health-related, and interpersonal issues. While the month is commonly referred to as, “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” other communities are highlighted and celebrated too. For example, October 11 is “National Coming Out Day”— a day meant to celebrate all queer individuals who have come out and even hold space for those who have yet to do so.

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness month. Honestly, it’s understandable that these communities that are celebrated in October — the month that hosts both Libra and Scorpio signs. It just makes sense to have the tenderness of Libra remind us of the soft, strong resilience of those who have survived or lost the battle to breast cancer, along with the fiery, unapologetic energy we find in the queer community and among domestic violence survivors.

In this month’s blog post, we are holding space to honor those who have experienced Domestic Violence of any kind. We are especially lending special attention to those in same-sex relationships as too often, individuals struggle to understand the reality of Domestic Violence in same-sex relationships.

We have first-hand accounts from individuals who were willing to share their stories with us, and we are grateful to them for their openness. We also have a poetic video written and created by Amanda Shea, a creative artist in our community. Finally, we have listed several resources for individuals who are seeking more information or help of any kind surrounding Domestic Violence.


Amanda S., Roxbury, MA

When did you realize you were in a DV relationship? What were the signs? 

I realized I was in a DV relationship after the third occurrence.

I didn’t seek the proper assistance to get out or obtain counseling/therapy after the first two. Like most victims, I considered the first two incidents as isolated situations — simple mistakes. Saying to myself, “that won’t happen again.” It took an incident involving the police that allowed me to understand what abuse and domestic violence truly is; and that this is character and, more than likely, it will get worse if we made it to here.

What were the signs? 

I am still in a place of processing and healing with what happened to me. Within this process, although difficult, I have  been reflecting and learning more about red flags and toxic behaviors. The signs I can recognize now based on my experience is verbal abuse, the incessant need to gaslight and manipulate my emotions, unnecessary jealousy, control, and the physical abuse.

When did you realize it was time to go? 

The final incident involving the police was when I realized it was time to leave. Unfortunately, my family and friends telling me I needed to leave wasn’t enough. I had suffered from physical abuse such as a black eye, swollen lip, and a broken tooth. It was the night officers came that I realized I needed to save myself. A moment of clarity transpired in that moment, it made me realize it could get worse and I didn’t want to see what worse was.

Can you tell us about your healing process? 

Healing is not linear for me. I still have days that are extremely heavy for me. Therapy is instrumental in my healing process. I meet with my therapist once a week. I’ve also met with a grief counselor to discuss the process of detachment and grieving the relationship. This was a pivotal moment for me; it led me to a focus group that deals with survivors and their own guilt regarding staying in an abusive relationship. My healing process is lots of self-care. I skate every day to ease my mind, which has become one of my favorite pastimes. My art is another way for me to heal. My art is deeply connected to how I view myself and the world. I have been able to put my trauma into visual depictions of these moments in my life. I understand sharing this with the world may trigger people but I try to lean into the overall healing of others who’ve been through the same things.

You identify as a survivor over a victim, can you talk about that? Why?

I identify as a survivor. Being a survivor means you’re a person who remains alive after an event in which others have died. Dying doesn’t just mean in the physical. You can die on the inside and every day I fight to not only be triumphant from the difficulties of my trauma but to gain a stronger sense of self and advocate for those who still feel silenced. I understand why some choose to call themselves a victim. We were victimized, however victimhood to me means you feel as though you will continue to be victimized and blame one for why this happened to you.

What do you want to say to other LGBTQ POC dealing with DV, currently? 

I would first say it’s not your fault and you are not alone, there is help. Please tell someone what you are experiencing! I would highly suggest seeking therapy services and building your tribe. People you feel are not only safe but will love on you unconditionally. Healing is not linear. There will be ups and downs, but you can overcome this. This doesn’t make you any less lovable; you deserve healthy love. Seeking therapy and psychiatry is a healthy way to get back to who you are and not what you’ve been through.

Sasha B., 23, East Boston, MA

When did you realize you were in a DV relationship? What were the signs? 

We had been together for 2 years, I noticed her anger first; the snapping, calling me names, and then it became pushing. Even at this time, my thought was, “We are both women, this isn’t domestic violence.” But after the black eye, I knew I was in a domestic violence relationship.

When did you realize it was time to go? 

I always tell people it’s important to have a support system. I was hiding the bruises and the pain, but my best friend knew. He told me I had to get out. After a mutual friend ended up in the hospital because of his partner, I knew it was time to go.

Can you tell us about your healing process? 

A lot of therapy! A lot! My therapist helped me process and create a plan for my future.

What do you want to say to other LGBTQ POC dealing with DV, currently? 

The shame of DV is the hardest. You think you don’t matter, you deserve it, you talk too much blah, blah, blah — but I had to understand that I matter, my life matters, my future matters. As does all of us. We matter. Protect yourself.

Miguel, 26, Mattapan, MA 

When did you realize you were in a DV relationship? What were the signs? 

The shade is: His ex told me he was violent and had anger problems. I didn’t want to listen. I thought his ex was bitter and god knows, I wish I listened. At the beginning of our relationship, everything was all cool. Then the comments — “you think you can take me?” — started. When he would say this, he was referring to fighting. Soon after, I realized he had a drug & alcohol problem. When he would black out, he’d start pushing me around.

When did you realize it was time to go? 

It went on for 2 years. After a while, I didn’t know myself or who I was. It was then that I knew it was time to go.

Can you tell us about your healing process? 

I went back home to my family. I needed their support and love. I lost myself, lost my glow, and purpose. It was home that helped me heal.

What do you want to say to other LGBTQ POC dealing with DV, currently? 

Free yourself! You don’t deserve this and listen to that voice in your head telling you what they’re doing is wrong. Society often tells us LGBTQ POC are “less than.” As queer, Black & Brown LGBT folks, we sometimes internalize this and find ourselves in painful situations. The truth is, we have to break the chains that hold us in shame, abuse, and pain.

Domestic Violence Resources

Call Centers:

Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)

LGBT Domestic Violence Hotline:

  • Local: 617-742-4911
  • Toll Free: 800-832-1901

More Resources:

The Network la Red

The National Domestic Violence Hotline