October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

When we think of domestic violence, most of us picture a man having control over a woman, and while that can be true, that is not always the case. Domestic violence can look different for a lot of individuals and a lot of communities. An abuser is not limited to any one person of any one gender or sexuality. Unfortunately, there is not much research done on interpersonal violence in the LGBTQ+ community and not many resources for these survivors.


The Statistics

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

  1. 43.8% of lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime, as opposed to 35% of heterosexual women.
  2. 26% of gay men and 37.3% of bisexual men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, in comparison to 29% of heterosexual men.
  3. Transgender victims are more likely to experience intimate partner violence in public, compared to those who do not identify as transgender.
  4. Bisexual victims are more likely to experience sexual violence, compared to people who do not identify as bisexual.

Some misconceptions about DV in LGBTQ+ communities:

  1. When there is violence in same sex relationships, both parties are abusing eachother.
  2. Violence between gay male partners is normal, it’s what men do.
  3. Abuse is less common in same sex relationships.


What is stopping individuals from getting help?

Understanding the signs: Women have stated that when in a relationship with a man, it is easier to see the signs of abuse than when that same woman was in a relationship with another woman, this can delay the process of seeking out services.

Outing: Another barrier to receiving services is when individuals are not “out,” partners may use that as a way to silence their partners, putting fear in them which decreases the chance of seeking out help. Not only does this keep them from receiving services but this is also a form of emotional/psychological abuse.

Fear of being stereotyped: Many survivors have doubts about whether or not they would be believed if they went to seek help based on gender stereotypes, which in turn could make the situation dangerous for the survivor.

Fear of prejudice within the system: Certain advocates in the criminal justice system can have biases against certain populations, this can deter survivors from coming forward in fear of resulting in more violence.


Resources available to the community:

https://www.cuav.org/ CUAV supports the healing of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people that have experienced violence and abuse by other people and /or institutions.

https://lgbtlifecenter.org/ipv/ Life Center in Norfolk, VA.


Michelle Shares HER Story

While Michelle has a tragic story of domestic violence, she came to Help and Emergency Response and found the resources she needed to build a new life for her and her children.  We are so proud of the hard work she did to become an independent, successful woman!


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