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LGBT Intimate Partner Violence 101

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Presentation on theme: "LGBT Intimate Partner Violence 101"— Presentation transcript:

1 LGBT Intimate Partner Violence 101

2 Objectives Identify LGBT relationships and understand the language relating to the LGBT community Understand that sexual assault and domestic violence does occur within LGBT relationships as often as in heterosexual relationships Understand some of the barriers unique to the LGBT community in relation to sexual and domestic violence

3 Objectives (Cont.) Create a safe and healthy environment for LGBT sexual assault and battered victims and learn how to best assist with their needs Identify ways to increase awareness and outreach to LGBT victims of sexual and domestic violence in your community

4 Language It is important to understand the terms and become comfortable discussing them with clients Remember that people define and describe their identities in several ways Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse Most important to listen to how people talk about their own experience and identity

5 Terms Sexual Orientation: The direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes, especially a direction seen to be dictated by physiologic rather than sociologic forces. Replaces sexual preference in most contemporary uses. The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company Note: this definition does not take Transgender into account, based on a binary model

6 Terms Gender Identity: personal view or experience of one’s own gender The Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse Examples: male, female, transgender, female-to-male (FTM), male-to-female (MTF)

7 Terms LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Queer: term used to put down LGBT people, but has been reclaimed and used positively by some LGBT people, especially youths and young adults (umbrella term for LGBT) Metrosexual is NOT an identity

8 Phobias and “isms” Homophobia: the systematic oppression of gay men, lesbians, and bisexual people because of their sexuality. Some people also define homophobia as the fear and hatred of LGBT people The Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse Heterosexism: the belief that heterosexuality is normal, natural, and right, and that any other sexual orientation is abnormal. Girshick, L., Woman-to-Woman Sexual Violence.

9 Domestic Violence Any abusive or coercive behavior used to gain control of an intimate partner. A pattern of manipulative and violent acts. Victim is forced to change her/his behavior in response to abuse.

10 Sexual Assault Any abusive or coercive sexual behavior used to gain control of another person. Sexual Assault includes: Rape (with a foreign object or digital), Incest, Forcible Fondling, Sodomy and Drug facilitated.

11 LGBT Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
Sexual Assault and/or Domestic Violence occurring between two people in a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender relationship Intimate domestic partners Acquaintances Strangers (in Sexual Assault)

12 DV and SA in LGBT Relationships
Battering happens in LGBT communities as often as in straight communities. It crosses all ethnic, social, racial and economic lines. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, and anyone can batter, regardless of identity, politics, gender, or experience. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project

13 Common Misconceptions
MYTH: Women can’t be raped by women. FACT: Women can and are raped by other women. Rape does not necessarily involve a man with a penis. A woman can be violated with objects and fingers. MCASA Literature The societal belief that women do not rape or batter other women leaves female perpetrators free to move on to the next victim.

14 Misconceptions (Cont.)
MYTH: All gay people are sex offenders. FACT: The vast majority of sex offenders are heterosexual and many are involved in consenting adult relationships. In one study, 83% of the offenders were heterosexual. Some of these offenders abused both boys and girls. Heterosexual men who abused boys usually said they did so because they identified with the boy. MCASA Literature

15 Misconceptions (Cont.)
MYTH: The batterer is usually more masculine, stronger and larger, while the victim is usually more feminine, weaker and smaller. FACT: Partner abuse is about one person exerting power, dominance and control over another. The abuse can be physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, psychological, and/or financial in nature and may involve the use of weapons and threats as well as homophobic/biphobic/ transphobic control. Exerting power does not require the batterer to be larger or physically stronger. LGBT partner abuse is not confined to “gender roles.” Girshick, L., Woman-to-Woman Sexual Violence.

16 Similarities and Differences in LGBT and Heterosexual Relationships
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault occur in any type of relationship regardless of gender or sexual orientation The dynamics are the same – it is all about Power and Control over another person

17 Why Does It Happen? The primary motive for domestic violence and sexual assault is to establish and maintain power and control over a partner. Violence is not about gender; it is about power and control, gender socialization, and family and relationship dynamics. Girshick, L. Women-to-Women Sexual Violence

18 Power & Control Wheel Roe & Jagodinsky. Adapted from DAIP, MN

19 Similarities Violence includes, but is not limited to physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, economic, and verbal abuse. Control: the purpose of abuse is to get and maintain control and power over one’s intimate partner. Isolation: the abused may feel isolated, terrified, and debilitated by the violence. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project

20 Similarities (Cont.) Cycle of Violence: Abuse does not happen all the time, it often occurs in a cyclical fashion. Unpredictable attacks are a part of the tyranny. Impact of Psychological Abuse: The victim/survivor may feel as if she/he cannot do anything right. Abuse doesn’t “go away”; violence generally gets worse over time. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project

21 Similarities (Cont.) Stalking: batterer most likely engages in this behavior during the relationship and intensifies it at higher and much more dangerous levels after the victim leaves in order to regain control. Leaving is dangerous: It is often more dangerous for a victim/survivor to leave a relationship than to stay in it.

22 Similarities (Cont.) Blame: The victim/survivor often faces both blatant and subtle blame and disbelief for the abuse that she/he is experiencing. Batterers are hard to recognize: Anyone can be a batterer. Perpetrators of abuse may work as advocates for victims, or take on other high profile political or professional work and hide the terror they wield at home. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project

23 Similarities (Cont.) Statistics: Violence in heterosexual, gay, and lesbian relationships occurs at approximately the same rate (1 in 4). Anyone can be a victim: In spite of stereotypes race, class, religion, politics, education and professional or social status do not indicate whether or not abuse will take place in an intimate relationship. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project

24 Similarities (Cont.) Batterer Mentality: A sense of entitlement exists among perpetrators; they believe that they have the right to empower themselves by disempowering others. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Children: Abuse in the home severely impacts the children living in that home, whether or not they are the direct recipient of the abuse.

25 Differences Services: Lesbians, Gay men, Bisexual and Transgender people who have been abused have fewer services available to them. "Household member" means a person who is a spouse, former spouse, or a person who has a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or a person with whom a person is cohabiting, whether or not they have married or have held themselves out to be husband or wife.

26 Differences (Cont.) Lesbians/bisexual women often feel victimized multiple times: initially by their partners; by services/institutions that are supposed to be there to help; and by the lack of positive response in their communities. Furthermore, if a lesbian does decide to seek support, it may create a double crisis. First, she has to “come out” to a stranger at a time when she is very distressed, and then she has to disclose the violence in her relationship. Williams, J. & O’Connell, K. “What’s Love Got to Do With It! Examining Abuse in Lesbian Relationships.”

27 Differences (Cont.) Heterosexist Manipulation: A batterer may threaten to ‘out’ a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity to friends, family, co-workers, or a landlord. In addition to this, existing services may require an individual to “come out” against her will. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Shelter: LGBT victims may be met with homophobia and hostility by shelter staff and/or residents.

28 Differences (Cont.) Sometimes a batterer may pose as a victim in order to gain entrance into a shelter or to their victim residing there. Children: Risk of losing children to third parties is greater for LGBT couples when domestic violence is involved. Williams, J. & O’Connell, K. “What’s Love Got to Do With It! Examining Abuse in Lesbian Relationships.” Some Lesbians/bisexual women have spoken about their experiences in shelters—that they did not feel safe and accepted because of the homophobia that exists in shelters.

29 Differences (Cont.) “You end up explaining your lesbianism, which isn’t really the issue…I think that was a really big factor for me, too, in my healing process, [I] was feeling that there was something wrong with my basic sexual desire in addition to, which complicates how you can process the actual act of violence or abuse.” Girshick, L. Woman-to-Woman Sexual Violence.

30 Why is it so hard for victims to recognize abuse?
LGBT victims have a difficult time recognizing abuse because of the lack of information, education, and community discussion around same-sex domestic violence and sexual assault. Many victims do not have the tools to recognize their relationships as abusive. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project

31 Male-to-Male Sexual Assault
The least common type of same-sex sexual assault is the rape of a straight man by a gay man. The most common type of male-to-male rape is the rape of a man who is perceived to be gay by a heterosexual man. Scarce, Michael, The Reality of Male Rape

32 This is consistent with the feminist analysis that rape is primarily of power, not sex.
It is extremely rare for a female same-sex survivor to be sexually assaulted by a stranger. This is not true for men. It is much more common for men to be assaulted by straight men, whereas the majority of woman-to-woman assault is perpetrated by queer women. Support for Survivors, CALCASA: Same-Sex Abuse by Anne King & Jamie Lee Evans

33 Advocate Response Create a safe environment for LGBT victims.
Understand their different needs (different support groups). It is important for you to have appropriate and queer-friendly information and referrals on hand Same-Sex Abuse, Anne King & Jamie Lee Evans

34 Advocate Response Do not assume that every victim you come into contact with is heterosexual Do not pressure the survivor to file a police report or follow up on legal action Respect an LGBT survivor’s individuality Do not minimize fears and concerns Advocate for all victims of domestic & sexual violence

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