Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Domestic
In many ways, domestic violence in LGBT relationships is the same as in heterosexual relationships:
- Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and involve verbal behavior used to coerce, threaten or humiliate.
- The purpose of the abuse is to maintain control and power over one's partner.
- The abused partner feels alone, isolated and afraid, and is usually convinced that the abuse is somehow her or his fault, or could have been avoided if she or he knew what to do.
But there are differences, including:
- Abuse does not happen all the time, it often occurs in a cyclical fashion. Unpredictable attacks are a part of the tyranny.
- It is often more dangerous for a victim/survivor to leave a relationship than to stay in it.
- Anyone can be a batterer.
- Abuse in the home severely impacts the children living in that home, whether or not they are direct recipients of the abuse.
- Abusive partners may threaten "outing" to family, employers and the larger community -- thereby increasing isolation and disengagement and even loss of children and families.
- Few services are available to LGBT people.
- Society's condemnation and ridicule - including by some members of law enforcement - increases the shame and therefore reluctance to report domestic violence by victims in LGBT relationships.
- The LGBT community is often hesitant to address issues that many fear will further "stain" the community.
- No transitional, medium-term, or long-term shelters exist for battered GBT men.
To help serve abused LGBT individuals, DVS offers:
- Court-based advocacy
- Community education services to members of LGBT communities - including adolescents - and their service providers.
- Emergency shelter for victims of abuse.
- Individual and group counseling for victims of abuse.