LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence
Research estimates that 25% to 33% of LGBTQ relationships are abusive (the same percentage as in heterosexual relationships).
Abusive LGBTQ relationships have the same dynamics of power and control as heterosexual relationships, but frequently go undetected and unreported. Because of this, abuse in LGBTQ relationships can seem like a hidden problem. Attitudes like "women don't hurt each other" or "a fight between two men is a fair fight" can keep people from recognizing abuse. Some abusers threaten to "out" the victim to parents, friends or employers. A victim may be afraid to get help, worried that the police and counseling services will be homophobic and insensitive.
Link to LGBTQ Control Wheel
Specific barriers to the LGBTQ community
Shame or embarrassment. You may be struggling with your own internalized homophobia or shame about your sexual orientation or gender identity. Your abusive partner may attempt to use this shame to exert power and control over you. They may try to make you feel guilty about yourself by calling you names that play on sexuality or gender insecurities (like saying you're "not man enough") or pressuring you into sexual acts that you're not comfortable with by saying that's what is "normal" in your kind of relationship.
Fear of not being believed or taken seriously. You may worry that if you report abuse, you will encounter common stereotypes like violence between LGBTQ partners is always mutual, abuse doesn't occur in lesbian relationships, only the physically bigger partner can be abusive or LGBTQ relationships are inherently unhealthy. Your partner may exploit this fear, trying to convince you that no one will take a LGBTQ victim seriously. This can happen, but not always. The campus victim advocate at UWO will always take you seriously and can connect you with others who will do the same.
Fear of retaliation, harassment, rejection or bullying. If you are not yet out to everyone, your abusive partner may threaten to tell your secret to people who will make your life more difficult once they know. You may also fear that seeking help will make you a target of public ridicule, retaliation, harassment or bullying. Your abusive partner may exploit these fears to isolate you and keep you in the relationship.
Good intentions. As part of the LGBTQ community, you may fear that disclosing the abuse will make everyone look bad. Your partner may even use this against you, making you feel guilty for getting help. For example, if your partner's not out, they may tell you that you can't report the abuse without breaking their trust, or without breaking the trust of everyone in your group. If this is happening, contact the campus victim advocate who will listen, help you understand what's happening and brainstorm ways to cope.
Most LGBTQ victims feel as though they are in a “double-closet” of shame. First, being the anxiety of expressing their sexual orientation/gender identity to a complete – often heterosexual/cisgender - stranger. Second, the humiliation of admitting being abused by someone you love.
It is shame – wrapped around shame – surrounded by another form of shame…
There are multiple places on campus that can help. Please contact any one or more of these departments listed below:
Campus Victim Advocate
LGBTQ Resource Center
THERE IS HELP, THERE IS HOPE
The information supplied by this website is not to be considered legal or medical advice. The website is strictly for informational purposes only.