Domestic Violence in LGBTQI+ Communities: A Silent Crisis

Apicha Community Health Center Oct 18, 2016  

 

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In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Apicha CHC has been thinking a lot about a silent public health crisis: intimate partner violence in LGBTQ+ communities. With our mission to provide LGBTQ healthcare, we are deeply concerned by the lack of attention to this particular issue and it reminds us of the far too frequent invisibalization of LGBTQI+ people. We decided to take a look into some of the information out there, so that we can have a better idea of what is happening. What we found is shocking. And it only reminds us that we need to be more diligent, aware, and active. 

Domestic violence has a long-standing association with heterosexual intimate partner violence (IPV). The CVDC defines IPV as, "physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression (including coercive acts) by a current or former intimate partner." LGBTQI+ people are largely ignored in national conversations and initiatives addressing domestic violence and abuse.

Let's take Domestic Violence Awareness Month as an opportunity to bring attention to these urgent issues facing LGBTQI+ communities across the nation and around the world.

 IPV In Sexual Minorities

In 2013, the CDC updated it's 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey findings, which reported that 43.8% of lesbian and 61.1% of bisexual women surveyed experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. And for men, the survey found that 29.4% of the gay participants and 37.3% of the bisexual participants experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.

These numbers are staggering when you consider the sexual orientation of the sample for the survey was as follows: 96.5% females identified as heterosexual, 2.2% bisexual and 1.3% lesbian, and 96.8% males identified as heterosexual, 1.2% bisexual and 2.0% gay.

There are serious implications to these number, and the fact that the national conversation invisiblizes these communities raises huge issues for the health, well-being, and safety of LGBTQ+ victims of domestic violence.

 

Being Transgender & Experiencing IPV

Another place that needs much more understanding and awareness is the IPV experienced by transgender people, especially transgender women. The Williams Institute suggests that between 30-50% of transgender people experience IPV in their lifetime. One of the barriers to gathering information is that there is a lot preventing transgender people from reporting violence and abuse, as highlighted by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).


The National Transgender Discrimination Survey is dedicated to offering a comprehensive understanding of transgender peoples experiences.


In 2014, NCAVP released it's report on Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Intimate Partner Violence in 2014. The survey highlighted some stark and jolting findings when it came the experiences of transgender individuals. The study found that transgender people were 1.98 times more likely to face IPV in public areas. Transgender women faced even greater risk, being 3.16 times more likely to experience IPV in public. The survey did not specify race and ethnicity in these findings, but if we consider the transgender people of color we have lost to acts of violence in just this last year, we can only imagine what the findings would show.

 

LGBTQI+ Youth Endure High Rates of IPV

A conversation that must be included as we address these topics is the IPV experienced by LGBTQI+ youth. As we have seen more attention grow in regards to LGBTQI+ youth homelessness, we must also call attention to the issues of violence facing these young people and have much more adequate research and information addressing the issue.

In 2016 Whitton et al published their findings in, "A Longitudinal Study of IPV Victimization Among Sexual Minority Youth." The study followed 248 LGBTQI+ youth between 16 and 20 years old. The study found that 45.2% were physically abused and 16.9% were sexually abused by an intimate partner. Experiences of physical violence was 2.46 times higher for transgender youth than cisgender youth and 2 to 4 times higher for racial and ethnic minorities. And, experiences of sexual violence was 3.42 higher for transgender youth and 75% higher for bisexual youth than gay or lesbian youth.

 

LGBTQI+ Communities of Color Face Even Greater  Barriers Accessing Support

Of the 2,166 participants in the NCAVP, 51% identified as People of Color: 49% Latinx, 28% African-American, 6% Asian Pacific Islander, 6% Multiracial, 55 Native American, 5% self-identified, and 1% Arab. The NCAVP study found that LGBTQI+ and HIV-affected people of color reported higher rates of physical violence and IPV in public.  The majority of this 51% confirmed having experiencing IPV. 

IPV disproportionately affects LGBTQI+ people of color when we take into consideration the intersectional issues facing racial minorities: limited access to quality healthcare, racial bias from organizations and outreach programs, unfair targeting and violence by police and law enforcement, criminalization of black and brown people, and more barriers to accessing quality education, employment, and institutional services. All of these have the potential to act as barriers to support services and even to the actual reporting of IPV to law enforcement. These intersectional experiences create uniquily complicated barriers for LGBTQI+ People of Color experiencing and surviving intimate partner violence. 

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What Can You Do If You Or Someone You Know is Experiencing Domestic Violence

We've created a comprehensive resource guide that provides links to organizations and hotlines specializing in LGBTQI+ communities & violence. Click here to read. 

A quick summary of the resources listed in the blog referenced above: 

  • NYC LGBTQI+ Anti-Violence Project (AVP) 
    • 1.212.714.1141
    • 24/7 hotline - 7 days a week 
  • The Trevor Project: Youth Experiencing Violence 
    • 1.877.565.8860
    • 24/7 hotline - 7 days a week
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 
    • 1.800.799.7233
    • 24/7 hotline - 7 days a week 

 

 

Apicha Community Health Center | LGBT Health Center in NYC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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