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LGBT Intimate Partner Violence

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LGBT Intimate Partner Violence.

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“Domestic violence is framed as something about male/female relationships, derived from sexism, not from a larger framework of oppressions. I hear all the time, maybe queer relationship violence is there, but it can’t be as bad or [as] frequent as in abusive straight relationships. Even if it is named, it is minimized.” -Anonymous Survivor

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“Our heterosexual friend complains to us about her boyfriend\'s abusive behavior. She says he won\'t let her talk to anyone but him, he yells at her and calls her names, he makes her feel crazy all the time, he isolates her, he threatens her, and he terrorizes her with words. We tell her to ditch him. Our lesbian friend tells us about her girlfriend\'s abusive behavior, describing it in exactly the same terms, and we tell her it\'s a difference in relationship style. We listen to our father berate our mother, and we tell her she shouldn\'t put up with it. We listen to a lesbian berate another lesbian, and we think, Well, she didn\'t hit her. We hear about a friend having been raped by a man, and we want him in jail at least and preferably dead; we hear about a woman raping another woman, and we figure it was just a fantasy gone awry.”—Tess Wiseheart

a definition of intimate partner violence
A Definition of Intimate Partner Violence
  • A pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate and/or dependent relationship.
    • Physical, emotional, sexual, financial
recognizing signs of intimate partner violence
Recognizing Signs of Intimate Partner Violence
  • One partner consistently humiliates, criticizes, and/or blames the other for things he/she cannot control.
  • One partner slaps, kicks, punches, pushes, and/or uses weapons against the other.
  • One partner forces or coerces the other into sexual activity and/or refuses to practice safe sex.
recognizing signs of intimate partner violence1
Recognizing Signs of Intimate Partner Violence
  • One partner forces the other into an environment where he/she doesn’t feel safe, such as a primarily heterosexual, non-LGBT friendly establishment and forces the other into publicly express affection
  • One partner uses jealousy and anger to control the other.
  • One partner controls the other’s money, or wants to be need for money.
  • One partner claims to be out of control from alcohol, drugs, or abusive childhood.
quick check list of abusive behaviors does your partner
Quick Check List of Abusive Behaviors: Does Your Partner….
  • Act jealous & possessive
  • Try to control you
  • Intimidate you
  • Lose her/his temper quickly
  • Pressure you for sex
quick check list of abusive behaviors does your partner1
Quick Check List of Abusive Behaviors: Does Your Partner….
  • Blame you when s/he mistreats you
  • Threaten to “out” you if you leave the relationship
  • Treat your pets or children cruelly
  • Use or threaten to use a weapon against you
  • Isolate you from others
facts
FACTS
  • 1 in 4 LGBT individuals are affected by domestic violence. This is the same rate as heterosexual women.
  • LGBT people are more likely to be victims of domestic violence (including sexual assault) than of anti-LGBT violence.
  • Up to 49% of LGBT youth have experience teen dating violence.
  • Many acts of domestic violence are a crime under Ohio law (See Ohio Revised Code 2929.25 and 3113.31)
myths
MYTHS
  • “Lesbian Utopia”
  • “Boys will be Boys” and the Myth of Mutual Battering
  • LBT women report domestic violence more than GBT men.
  • Who is the batterer?
    • Butch/Femme
    • Race/Class
    • Body Size
  • S/M is a variation of domestic violence
forms of battering specific to lgbt people
Forms of Battering Specific to LGBT People
  • Outing and threats of outing to family, friends, employer, police, community, or in child custody disputes.
  • Reinforcing fears that no one will help the victim or that they “deserve” the abuse.
  • Justifying abuse with the notion that partner is not “really” LGBT.
forms of battering specific to lgbt people1
Forms of Battering Specific to LGBT People
  • Telling the partner that abusive behavior is a normal part of LGBT relationships or that it can’t be DV because it is occurring between LGBT individuals.
  • Denying victim access to LGBT resources or events
  • Portraying the violence as mutual or even consensual.
  • Depicting the abuse as part of S/M
challenges to dealing with lgbt intimate partner violence
Challenges to Dealing with LGBT Intimate Partner Violence
  • Homophobia
  • Lack of awareness and denial within the LGBT community
  • Services are oriented primarily to heterosexual women
  • Lack of awareness in the “mainstream” anti-DV movement.
  • Underreporting
  • Fear of disclosure of one’s sexual orientation or gender expression or of “being outed.”
how is lgbt intimate partner violence similar to heterosexual domestic violence
How is LGBT intimate partner violence similar to heterosexual domestic violence?
  • No one deserves to be abused.
  • Abuse can be physical, sexual, and verbal behavior to coerce or humiliate; emotional; or psychological.
  • Abuse often occurs in a cyclic fashion.
  • Abuse can be lethal.
how is lgbt intimate partner violence similar to heterosexual domestic violence1
How is LGBT intimate partner violence similar to heterosexual domestic violence?
  • Purpose of the abuse is to maintain control and power over one’s partner. Routine intimidation is used to gain that power.
  • The abused person feels isolated, afraid, and usually convinced that they are at fault.
  • The incidence rate in victims of female same sex battering is approximately the same as the incidence rate in victims of female heterosexual victims
how is lgbt intimate partner violence different
How is LGBT intimate partner violence different?
  • Some LGBT survivors know few or no other LGBT folks and leaving the abuser could mean isolation from LGBT community.
  • LGBT community may be small and everyone the survivor knows may soon know of the abuse.
  • Abuser can use children in relationship because if survivor leaves, she has no parental rights to kids
    • If the kids are the survivors, the county may take the kids away from the “violent, homosexual deviant”
how is lgbt intimate partner violence different1
How is LGBT intimate partner violence different?
  • More difficulty finding appropriate support
  • Myth of mutual battering prevails
  • Utilizing services such as legal system is like “coming out”
  • Hard to find LGBT sympathetic friends since community may not be eager to “air dirty laundry”
concept of help dynamics
Concept of Help: Dynamics
  • People from a dominant (heterosexual) culture, tend to assume that if they were a victim, they would have an automatic right to help.
  • But if you are a person from a subdominant (LGBT) culture, you may not have experienced agencies as helpful in the past, so you may not believe that help is available to you and you may not seek out help.
concept of help service providers
Concept of Help: Service Providers
  • Agency assurances that services are for everyone may not mean much to a LGBT person.
    • LGBT people historically have been offered “help” to become “normal”, so they may automatically be suspicious of “help” from any institutional representative
concept of help batterers
Concept of Help: Batterers
  • LGBT victim/survivor may also view “help” as involving incriminating the batterer and LGBT folks may be less likely to do this since it means “airing dirty laundry” and further marginalizing an oppressed community member.
  • Also, research suggests that some LGBT prefer to have batterers get help (rather than be ostracized) so that they do not go back into LGBT community and re-offend.
concept of help police
Concept of Help: Police
  • LGBT victim may not want to involve police
    • Deep-rooted fear of police as homophobic
    • Deep-rooted fear of police not knowing who the batterer is and not being believed
    • Deep-rooted fear of police minimizing intimate partner violence to problems between “two friends”
    • Concern if LGBT intimate partner violence falls under legal definition of “domestic violence”
concept of help safety
Concept of Help: Safety
  • For LGBT victims, “safety” is more than shelter or protection orders or safety plans
  • Focus groups suggest that those “safety” measures rate lower than the ability tofeel safe to be oneself.
    • To feel believed
    • To feel unafraid of homophobic, heterosexist responses and attitudes of service providers
what can you do1
What Can You Do?
  • Examine dynamics of own relationship
  • If helping a friend, allow friend to tell her/his story without being judgmental
  • Believe your friend
  • Be sensitive to your friend’s feelings—even if friend wants to stay with abuser
  • Inform friend of available resources—e.g. can call hotline to develop safety plan
  • Allow friend to make own decisions
  • Be patient
resources
Resources
  • YWCA’s Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis & Abuse Center PROTECT Hotline
    • 888-872-9259
    • TTY: 513-977-5545
  • Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project (national 24 hotline)
    • 800-832-1901
  • Women’s Crisis Center (Northern Kentucky)
    • 800-928-3335
    • TDD: 859-655-2657
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