DV in the LGBTQIA+ Community
Did you know?
25-33%of LGBTQ+ people experience abuse by a partner.
1 out of 4 LGBTQ+ youth will experience abuse from a dating partner.
According to the 2015 US Transgender Survey, 54% of people experienced some form of partner abuse.
Abuse in the LGBTQIA+ community can be physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, financial, technological, or even cultural. Abusers use myriad tactics to control their partners and in the LGBTQIA+ community, that can include threats to “out” the victim’s HIV, kink, polyamory, gender identity, sexuality, (dis)ability, or immigration status.
Why do people remain in abusive relationships?
As in the heterosexual community, there are many reasons that an LGBTQIA+ individual may not be ready or able to leave a relationship. Among them:
- The victim may still love their partner and be hoping things will change;
- They may have been emotionally abused to the point they have low or no self worth;
- They may not have their own income, job, or place to live;
- They may fear losing their children or pets;
- They may fear facing discrimination while navigating mainstream systems that were built for the heterosexual community;
- They may be worried about their abuser and what will happen to them when they leave; and
- They may fear increased violence, as statistics have shown that when a survivor tries to leave there is often an escalation in violence by the abuser.
Where can I get help as an LGBTQIA+ victim?
You can call Interval House’s hotline at 860-838-8467 to speak with a skilled and compassionate advocate who will listen to your concerns and help you identify a plan for staying safe or leaving the relationship if you are ready. Interval House offers 24/7 hotline counseling as well as emergency shelter, court advocacy, support groups, and other life-changing services when you are ready to call.
How can I help someone in an abusive relationship?
As much as you want to help the person you care about, the things that you may immediately want to do are not always the safest or most helpful. Instead, consider some of these tactics:
- Let the victim know you care and are there for them. Abusers maintain control over their partners by isolating them and convincing them that no one cares about them. Fear and shame may prevent a survivor from asking for help or confiding in another person.
- Be safe, available, and non-judgmental. Listen and meet the victim where they are. Do not push them to leave before they are ready.
- Don’t assume that you know what is best. Respect the victim’s ability to know the abuser and figure out what they are capable of.
- If the victims thinks they may be ready to leave the relationship at some point, offer to keep a “go bag” for them containing clothing, vital documents (or copies), cash, and other essential items.
- Get support for yourself. Supporting a victim can be very difficult and at times frustrating. Find a neutral third party on whom you can lean.
The Network/La Red is a survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, kink, polyamorous, and queer communities. Rooted in anti-oppression principles, our work aims to create a world where all people are free from oppression. We strengthen our communities through organizing, education, and the provision of support services.