Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager
[Trigger Warning: domestic violence]
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time when advocates and survivors across the country come together to raise awareness about the ways that domestic violence and related issues affect our communities. While domestic violence affects people of every race, class and age, it disproportionately affects members of the the LGBT community, who often have less access to safety nets like shelters or who may be afraid of turning to law enforcement for help.
Bisexual and transgender people are two groups within the LGBT community that face high rates of domestic violence, along with related forms of abuse including intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Bisexual women are at particularly heightened risk, with 61 percent of bisexual women experiencing rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 44 percent of lesbians and 35 percent of heterosexual women.
Nineteen percent of respondents to the 2011 the National Transgender Discrimination Survey reported having experienced domestic violence from a family member. Those rates were much higher among respondents who were American Indian (45 percent), Asian (36 percent), Black (35 percent) and Latino/a (35 percent).
According to the National Violence Against Women Survey, “Same-sex cohabitants reported significantly more intimate partner violence than did opposite-sex cohabitants.” Among women who reported cohabiting with a female partner at some point in their lifetime, 39.2 percent had experienced rape, physical assault or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 21.7 percent of women who had cohabited with men only.
Among men who had cohabited with same-sex partners, 23.1 percent had experienced rape, physical assault or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 7.4 percent of men who had cohabited with women only.
Although limited, the data on dating violence among LGBTQ youth suggests that these alarming patterns start early. Taken together, these statistics demonstrate the need for greater dialogue and awareness about domestic violence in the LGBT community and better access to culturally competent services like domestic violence shelters.
If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence, here are some resources:
National Sexual Assault Hotline
1-800-656-HOPE (4673) 24/7 or
Online Counseling at https://ohl.rainn.org/online/
1-866-331-99474 (24/7) or Text “loveis” 22522
The Anti-Violence Project– serves people who are LGBTQ
Hotline 212-714-1141 Bilingual 24/7
GLBT National Help Center
Hotline 1800-246-PRIDE (1-800-246-7743) or
Online Chat at http://www.volunteerlogin.org/chat/
The Network La Red– serves LGBTQ, poly, and kink/BDSM survivors of abuse; bilingual
Hotline - 617-742-4911
Northwest Network– serves LGBT survivors of abuse; can provide local referrals