This is the third piece of my “Red Story” suite – a visual series about the traumas I am slowly overcoming. Instead of my usual perspective of examining the emotions of the survivor/victim (me), I am focusing on the crazy actions and bizarre behavior of the abusers. In the third story piece I am exploring the strange behavior of one of my ex boyfriends. Our relationship was based on a power imbalance. I lived in his house, he was a ‘master’ – dominant, in control, better, stronger, smarter – whilst I was made into a submissive ‘lolita’, a living doll, an object, weaker, dependent and isolated. This imbalance had many dimensions – it was economical, material, physical, emotional, psychological and sexual.
During our first year of living together in his house, he had a bizarre ritual of unzipping his pants right after he had served me dinner, then he would take out his (soft) dick and place it on the dining table and would just be standing like that for a while – so proud of himself and his ‘thing’. This usually happened when the family across the street (a mom, dad and two teenage boys) also were having their dinner and could see him standing like that, through their window. I would do what all good girls are supposed to do in situations where men make us uncomfortable – I would giggle.
But after I was out of this toxic relationship, I started to question this absurd routine. What was he trying to tell me – with his dick on the table, next to the food I was about to enjoy? What did he demonstrate? Was it an act of intimidation, a power demonstration, psychological abuse or perhaps an expression of a sexual fetish (with the eyes of our neighbor family as an important factor)?
Earlier this year I found an abandoned piece from 2012 of a very angry observation cat (appropriately based on a recurring nightmare where I feel forced to pet a cat which I forgot I had so it hasn’t been fed or nurtured for years – and it is dusty and starving and the fur is covered with eyeballs).