Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Survivors
Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence/ www.mocadsv.com
Taken from "Understanding The Nature and Dynamics of Domestic Violence"
Heterosexist and homophobic bias in society provides unique opportunities for LGBT abusers to manipulate and control their partners. The small size of the gay and lesbian communities and lack of visible resources, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, can make it difficult for the abused partner to seek help. LGBT survivors are more likely to be embarrassed and to minimize the abuse because of internalized homophobia. An abuser might have tried to turn others in the community against the survivor.
An abusive partner might isolate the victim from contact within the community by preventing the partner from attending social events and seeing friends within the LGBT community. Isolation is a powerful tool used by abusive partners to create distance between friends, family, neighbors, service providers and law enforcement. The survivor is much easier to control and maintain power over when isolated from support systems. This is especially true for people in their first fay or lesbian relationship who might not have had much contact with the LGBT community before and relationship began.
The stigma attached to identifying as LGBT can cause those within the LGBT community to hide, ignore or minimize relationship violence for fear of further condemnation. Because of the lack of validation that abuse does exist in the community, LGBT survivors might not even recognize what they are experiencing as intimate partner violence.
Service providers can support LGBT victims by reassuring them that they are believed and that the violence is not their fault. If a LGBT victim chooses to disclose, advocated can provide support by being sensitive to the additional barriers that might arise. Using inclusive language while providing services can help LGBT survivors feel more comfortable seeking services.
In considering accessibility of services, educating key people, such as law enforcement, hospital staff and social service agencies about the reality of domestic violence in LGBT relationships could increase service provision for LGBT communities.
The need for a victim/survivor to freely tell his or her story without concern for the listener's comfort level with the language is crucial. Be well versed with the terminology used by the survivor. Use gender neutral language such as "partner" or "significant other" until you know for certain the gender of the abuser. LGBT survivors will be looking for such language and will interpret your use of gender language as sensitivity to their needs or as a lack of sensitivity and understanding from program staff.
If you would like for someone to come and speak to your group about domestic/sexual violence, please give us a call. Our presentations will be "age appropriate" for your group.
Safe Passage, PO Box 456, Moberly, MO 65270 Business (660)269-8999 Fax (660)263-8492