Cor asked: “how do you go about knowing who to believe, when allegations of abuse come up?”
And I’m mainly posting the link here to pass on to people who read this blog but not that one, but I’m also thinking about the question myself, too.
Any simple maxim you come up with can become something abusers will twist it to their advantage, so I don’t want to try for a clear answer. Still, there are some factors that I have/would take into account, such as…
- who made the accusation first, if knowable.
- like Connie said, what their relative social standing is. A White cis guy seems more capable of abusing a Black trans woman than the other way around, for instance. But when privileges are mixed, this angle isn’t as helpful — as was the case with the guy who emotionally ran me into the ground last summer. He’s Asian and I’m White, so I didn’t think things were stacked enough in his favor for him to have power over me. Yeah, that turned out to be a bad assumption.
- expression of certainty? This one is even more tricky, since I don’t want to undermine rightful confidence, but in general abusers seem much more self-assured in their accounts of what happened. But that’s not necessarily a constant, either, and abusers can be manipulative enough to feign victimhood, so. It’s tricky.
I guess the last thing I’d say is that reading Lundy Bancroft’s book on abuser mentalities really improved my understanding of all this, and I think that might be helpful in sorting out these situations. There are some sections of the book that I think could have been handled better (re: kink and porn stuff, which get a brief mention) but overall it seems like a good resource.
Also I’m pretty sure you can find a full pdf of it online.