Cathryn Berarovich is something of a renaissance sex worker; she is currently employed as a pro-domme but has held numerous interesting jobs in the industry. She usually shares her stories each Monday in Harlotry–however, for the next five weeks, she’ll be writing specifically about her experience with domestic abuse and sexual assault.
Extricating oneself from an abusive relationship is never easy.
They don’t show you that part in the movies. They only show our heroine, generally a perky, smiling blonde, with clean hair and a new lease on life. They don’t show you the loneliness, the confusion, the terrible sense of disgust with oneself. That doesn’t make the final cut.
It isn’t just different for me because I am a pensive brunette, rather than a perky blonde. My difficulties do not stem from the fact that I rarely have time or inclination to wash my hair more frequently than once a week. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely have a new lease on life, but setting up an apartment is never instantaneous and the apartment of my head and heart is a real fixer-upper at this point.
I’ve written about the relationship before, but I never covered the real, lurid details of my relationship with “Stanley”, the man I named after Stanley Kowalski from A Streetcar Named Desire and, were he an actor, I’d say it was a role he was born to play.
Unfortunately, though, Stanley wasn’t the only one who played a role: first I played Stella and then I was Blanche. This summer, when I wrote about the relationship for the first time, the wounds were still very, very fresh. I didn’t want to talk about them and so I varnished them over with remembrances of how I felt at the beginning.
The time has come, I think, to tell the unexpurgated version of the story. People have asked to hear it, and here it is in all its sordid ingloriousness.
Stanley and I were together for three years officially. In reality it was closer to three and a half. During the years we were together and the six months after we broke up, he twisted my head into unnatural shapes and broke my heart innumerable times. My life with him was one of fear and abjection. This is not to say there were no good times; there were plenty of good times because Stanley’s approach to relationships could have been based on a manual for inducing Stockholm Syndrome in your friends and loved ones.