Our interest in domestic abuse in gay and bisexual male relationships was ignited by our founder, Bradley Chippington. His experiences in an abusive relationship engendered some of the most emotionally exhausting parts of his life, which he used to start the Invisible Campaign.
This is an extract from a letter written by Bradley:
“As I look back the warning signs were obvious from the beginning of our relationship, but I still fell madly in love with him. He had the (I use the word lightly) ‘high life’ lifestyle in a penthouse apartment. He was charismatic, charming and a bit nefarious; the complete opposite of everything I was brought up to be and this engendered passion, excitement and spontaneity into our relationship.
After six months with him the excitement faded, a heavy cloud of isolation and dread started to fill a void that was building between us, still being in love with him my attempts to rectify any problems were ultimately fruitless. The ensuing emotional abuse started quite some time before becoming physical, the things said however I simply cannot articulate in a few sentences. Eventually I was threatened with my life from knives to shards of glass being slashed towards me. In a burst of rage he decided to try and hang himself, I ran towards him and pulled him down, this act crushed me emotionally. Every time I tried to break up with him he would lash out in violence or anger or twist my words to shroud me in doubt and turmoil. He was a heavy drug user and eventually pushed them into our relationship and as a crutch to his abusive nature I regretfully turned to them for relief and a means of escape. I was on red alert all the time, physically I was exhausted, emotionally I was plummeting into severe depression.
There are countless scenarios that were acted out every day over 2 years being with him that I could talk about but to summarise my experience would include the following words: verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and mental abuse engendering a vicious circle of entrapment. Suffice to say I was able to get out of the relationship, but not before I was hospitalised and changed forever as a person.
‘Invisible’ is built from my initial project ‘Trauma’ which touched on the personal aspects of my experiences and the emotions this conveyed. The Trauma project is generally themed as a bolder, bloody piece that concentrates solely on destruction and violence.
Throughout my research I began to feel disheartened that there are few campaigns and awareness for gay male domestic abuse. I thought ‘just because it is not being made aware does not mean that it isn’t happening’. In fact ManKind Initiative state that there are double the case of gay or bi-sexual male cases of abuse than that of heterosexual male abuse.
My research engendered me to create the Invisible Campaign. Focusing on male victims, predominantly in same sex relationships. ‘Invisible’ is how it feels being in a relationship like this. To the general public, as a male walking down the road with bruises and cuts over your face you’re more likely to be looked at as someone who has been in a fight or up to no good. Not as someone that may be suffering inside.
As a male it may be more difficult to talk about the emotional turmoil to friend’s or family, thus further solidifying the thoughts of isolation. Of course these are just two situation’s out of many that can be portrayed, abusive relationships are not just physical. Emotional pressure on the victim causes intense feelings including anxiety, depression, guilt, turmoil, anger and upset”.