Sei sulla pagina 1di 56

Domestic Violence Issues

in LGBT Relationships
PART I

DEFINING AND
UNDERSTANDING
LGBT- RELATED TERMS
SEXUAL ORIENTATION:

Who one is sexually or


romantically attracted to –
men, women, or both
LESBIAN:

 Describes women whose primary


affectional orientation is toward other
women

Women who partner with women


GAY:

 Describes men whose primary


affectional orientation is toward
other men

Men who partner with men


BISEXUAL:

 Describes people whose primary


affectional relationships can be
with men, women, or both

Gender is irrelevant to bisexual


people in choosing a partner.
GENDER:

 The different culturally specific


social norms of behavior & appearance
that are expected of males & females
– in contrast to sex, which is

physiological femaleness or maleness


GENDER IDENTITY:

 The gender one feels oneself to be,


which may or may not correspond
with one’s physiological sex.
TRANSGENDER, “TRANS”

Terms describing people who challenge or consider


themselves different from the culture’s sex & gender
categories which limit acceptable gender expression
to:

 “masculine” behavior by biological males


 “feminine” behavior by biological females
TIPS: AVOIDING ASSUMPTIONS

 People who present themselves as ‘she’


should be referred to as ‘she,’
 People who present themselves as ‘he’
should be referred to as ‘he.’
 If you’re not sure ask whether they
would rather you say ‘he’ or ‘she.’
 If you mess up, apologize & move on.
AVOIDING ASSUMPTIONS (cont.)
 Avoid applying gender-specific pronouns
to client’s partner until the client uses them.
 Say directly: ‘I don’t want to make assumptions about
your partner’s gender.’
 Say ‘partner’ until you know what word the individual
uses, then use that term.
 Ask: ‘How long have you been together?’
not ‘How long have you been married?’
PART II
HETEROSEXISM: ASSUMPTIONS

 Heterosexuality is inherently superior


to any other sexual orientation.

 Heterosexual relationships are more


normal, moral, & desirable.

 Everyone is, should be, or would rather


be heterosexual.

 LGTB people are sinful, immoral, &


abnormal.
HETEROSEXISM: PRACTICE

Beliefs & practices –


which give unearned privilege and social
superiority to people presumed to be
heterosexual, and which discriminate against,
silence, & erase LGTB people, cultures &
communities.
HOMOPHOBIA

 Fear,hatred, contempt, & prejudice


toward lesbians & gay men.
and/or
 Fear & hatred of any of one’s own
feelings that one identifies as
homosexual, or of getting close to
someone of one’s own gender.
TRANSPHOBIA

 Fear, hatred, aversion, contempt, &


prejudice toward people who challenge
accepted norms of gender expression.
INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION

 The shame, self-hatred, and low self-esteem


that results when members of an oppressed
group:
– share society's hate and prejudice against them
– believe myths and stereotypes about selves
PART III
WHAT IS LGTB DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

A pattern of coercive, exploitative


& violent tactics, used by one
intimate partner against the other,
in order to establish & maintain –

Power, Control & Dominance


LGBT DV - SIMILARITIES:

Aspects of DV that apply


regardless of sexual orientation
or gender identity
FORMS OF ABUSE

DV includes, but is not limited to:


– Physical Abuse
– Sexual Abuse
– Emotional Abuse
– Psychological Abuse
– Economic Abuse
– Verbal Abuse.
CONTROL

 Thepurpose 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.
CYCLE OF VIOLENCE

 Abuse does not happen all the time,


it often occurs in a cyclical fashion.
IMPACT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE

 The victim/survivor may feel as if s/he


cannot do anything right.
 Abuse doesn’t “go away”
 Violence generally gets worse over
time.
LEAVING IS DANGEROUS

 Itis often more dangerous for a


victim/survivor to leave a relationship
than to stay in it.
BLAME

 Thevictim/survivor often faces both


blatant and subtle blame and
disbelief for the abuse that s/he is
experiencing
BATTERERS ARE HARD TO RECOGNIZE

 Anyone can be a batterer.


 Perpetratorsof abuse may be
professionals - have high profile
jobs
 Maybe police or court officers –
other authority positions
PREVALANCE

 Violence in heterosexual, gay, and


lesbian relationships occurs at
approximately the same rate:

one in four
IDENTITY IS NO PROTECTION

 Inspite 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.
BATTERER MENTALITY

 Sense of entitlement
– they believe that they have the right to
empower themselves by disempowering
others.
CHILDREN

DV severely impacts the children


living in that home, whether or
not are the direct recipient of the
abuse.
LEGAL PROTECTION

 DV laws apply to both same-gender


and opposite-gender couples.
LGBT DV - DIFFERENCES

In other ways same-gender domestic


violence differs from that
experienced by opposite-gender
couples.
THESE ADDITIONAL FACTORS
FREQUENTLY LEAD TO:

 increased power available to LGBT


batterers, and
 less support for LGBT victims/survivors
ISOLATION

 The
isolation compounded by being
LGBT in a homophobic society.
SILENCE

 Silenceabout domestic violence


within the LGBT community further
isolates the victim, giving more
power to the batterer.
HETEROSEXIST MANIPULATION

 Threats to ‘out’ a person’s sexual


orientation or gender identity
 Existing services may require “coming
out”.
LGBT COMMUNITY MYTHS

 Myth of community non-violence.


 Over-protection of same-gender
relationships
 Community denial
GENDER-BASED DENIAL

 Battered women’s movement –avoids the


fact that women do batter, and men are
victims.
 Denial in police, hospital workers, and
people in the criminal justice system.
GENDER MYTHS

 Two men in a fight must be equals.


 GBT men often reject the idea that they
can be victims.
HISTORICAL OPPRESSION

 LBGT victims fear:


– homophobia, disbelief, rejection and
degradation from
Police
DV Service Providers
Social Service Agencies
Courts
SCARCITY OF SERVICES

 Notransitional, medium-term, or long-


term shelters exist for battered GBT men.
 Services
overwhelmingly focused on
heterosexual victims & abusers
MYTHS ABOUT S & M

 Misconception that LGBT victims of


domestic violence are only experiencing
an S & M sexual relationship.
LIMITED COMMUNITY SPACE

 LGBT community can feel surprisingly


small
 Privacy/anonymity is often difficult to
maintain
 Leaving may be more difficult
CHILDREN

 Perceived (and actual) risk of losing


children to third parties increased with
Domestic Violence on record.
PART III
BARRIERS TO LGBT VICTIMS SEEKING SERVICES

Risks and barriers:


 Lack of staff training
– may only know about lesbian DV, not B or T
 Gay men and transgender people often
referred to homeless shelters
– No confidential locations
– subject to additional bias & victimization
HOMOPHOBIC/TRANSPHOBIC
RESPONSES IN DV SHELTERS

 From shelter clients:


– L & T women perceived as a threat to
themselves and their children
– Seen as “really male”
 From shelter staff:
– Some staff may hold similar beliefs as above
– Lesbian staff may be part of same social
group
SHELTER RESPONDS TO ABUSER AS A VICTIM

 Abusive lesbians may seek an obtain


shelter, claiming to be abused
– DV service provider denies services to actual
victim.
 Abuser may even work or volunteer at the
shelter
CHILDREN’S ISSUES IN SHELTERS

 Children
need to be prepared for possible
coming out in shelter
 May be harassed by other children
 Shelterstaff - may not understand issues
facing children of LGTB victims
LACK OF LGTB ABUSER PROGRAMS

 Programsand program materials aimed at


heterosexual men
 Program participants may be openly
hostile toward “effeminate” GBT men
 Closeted gay men may drop out due to
stress of “pronoun switching” in group
sessions
RISKS/BARRIERS FROM THE LGBT COMMUNITY

 Denial of abuse
– fear of giving heterosexual society
ammunition for more attacks
 Victim blaming
– rather than acknowledging violent LGBT
behavior
 Mutual friends
– Hesitate to side with victim against partner
– More isolation for victim
RISKS/BARRIERS FROM FAMILY & OTHERS

 Rejection
– Family
– Employer
– Church
 Victimsmay not be able to avoid coming out
in order to seek services
– Qualifying question: “ What was the nature of the
relationship”
– Court and police records & proceedings are
public
PART IV
DISTINGUISHING LGBT VICTIMS FROM ABUSERS

It is crucial to avoid referring


female abusers to DV shelters as if
they were victims!

 Problem: How can we tell the difference?


VICTIM OR ABUSER?
SOME THINGS TO CONCIDER

Usual victim reactions to abuse:


 Recalls chronology of events in detail.
 Ashamed of victimization.
 Blames self.
 Feels remorse for fighting back or
defending themselves.
 Fearful of partner.
VICTIM REACTIONS (CONT.)

 Protective of partner.
 Describes how life has narrowed
 during the course of the relationship.
 Has tried unsuccessfully to leave or repair
relationship.
 Feels confused.
USUAL ABUSER REACTIONS:

 Vague about events & omits details


 Assertively claims to be a victim
 Blames partner & minimizes own role
 Claims the violence was “a two-way
street” or “just a fight.”
ABUSER REACTIONS (CONT.)

 Exaggerates own injuries & minimizes


partner’s
 Abuse in prior relationships & claims not
to understand why they ended
 Feels victimized