Domestic violence and the LGBTQIA+ community

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by Shannon Anderson, Crisis Counselor, Faces of Hope Foundation

Beyond Pride Month, we at Faces of Hope Foundation are committed to serving all people who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault, including those who identify with the LGBTQIA+ community.

Studies have shown that levels of intimate partner violence and sexual violence are at comparable or higher rates than those who identify as heterosexual. According to the William’s Institute, 28.7% of heterosexual men and 32.3% of heterosexual women report experiencing intimate partner violence within their lifetime. That number rises to 37.3% for bisexual men and 56.9% for bisexual women. 25.2% of gay men report experiencing intimate partner violence, and 40.4% of lesbian women.

While statistics vary between studies, the William’s Institute, in a meta-analysis of studies, found that 31.3% to 50% of transgender people have experienced intimate partner violence.

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community can experience different types of abuse than their heterosexual peers, including being threatened with being “outed” (threatening to reveal or revealing the victim’s sexual orientation/gender identity to those who don’t know), and verbal abuse specific to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community are less likely to seek support when they’ve experienced sexual assault or domestic violence. Many factors contribute to this, including the fear that agencies will not serve them or be well-versed in LGBTQIA+ issues, fear of being outed, and fear that they will encounter discrimination while seeking help.

We can do better as a community by educating ourselves on what the LGBTQIA+ community is, featuring resources that help the LGBTQIA+ community on our social media, attending LGBTQIA+ trainings as service providers, and speaking up when discriminatory practices are noted. Faces of Hope is committed to serving all survivors, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.