Gift from Within

November 4, 2009

 

October 29, 2009

Dear Friends:

Gift From Within has a new article on domestic violence. Please feel free to share and or link this article to your website.  Additional resources are below.  Many of our members are survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. Thank you for the work you are doing on behalf of survivors.

Domestic Violence and the Gay Community

A Right to Peace and Safety

© Dr. Amy Menna & Gift From Within

INTRODUCTION

Every human being has a right to peace and safety.

Every individual has a right to be free from coercion from anyone. They deserve to live their lives with integrity and free will. They deserve to be free of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. They have a right to not only be safe in their home, but to feel safe as well.

Each gay or lesbian human being has a right to express themselves without fear of retribution or discrimination. They have the right to be open with their sexuality. They also have the right to choose to use discretion without the threats from individuals to expose them. They have the right to be in a loving relationship without fear.

Domestic violence is the absence of these rights. It is not an issue solely for heterosexual couples. The gay and lesbian community is not exempt from this problem. Under the cloak of secrecy, domestic violence has permeated the gay and lesbian community at the same rate as it has the heterosexual community. There are similarities as well as differences between the LGBT and heterosexual communities. The LGBT community has the added stigma and limited protection creating a unique struggle.

THE UNIQUE NATURE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE GAY COMMUNITY

Many facets of domestic violence are the same in the LGBT community as in the heterosexual one. There are, however, some unique features with LGBT individuals. The LGBT community as well as the heterosexual community needs to be aware of the topic of Domestic Violence. In addition, protective measures need to be taken to safeguard this marginalized population.

In heterosexual relationships, it is often the male who abuses the female (although this is not always the case). However, in LGBT relationships, this power differential is less apparent. Seeing that there is no "male-female" dynamic, many individuals believe that the behavior is mutual. This leads to discrimination against the victim of the abuse suggesting that he or she had a "part" in the abuse.

Utilization of services in the LGBT community is limited. LGBT individuals are often hesitant to attend support groups or go to a shelter as these are typically geared towards heterosexual individuals. Often these individuals may feel that they have to lie about their orientation therefore hiding the gender of the abuser. In addition, they may also have to face coming out to other individuals whether it be police, friends, support group members, or individuals at a shelter. This may preclude them from receiving legal or other services. This results in less utilization of services and places them at more risk for abuse.

Many myths surround the LGBT community. There is a myth among many heterosexuals that LGBT relationships are not normal. In fact, it may be viewed as an aberration. A victim may not want to perpetuate the myth that LGBT relationships are abnormal further stigmatizing the LGBT community. As in heterosexual couples, fear of exposure may be fear of humiliation or potential for escalated abuse.

The support for the LGBT community is lacking. Social circles may be small and limited to other LGBT individuals. As such, there may be an added stigma to abuse. Support may be difficult to find as many may know the abuser. It is also often difficult to start a new life within the same intimate community. In addition, unlike heterosexual individuals, it may be more difficult for an LGBT victim to minority individual experiencing the same circumstances.

One weapon of abuse includes economic power. There is often no formal combining of finances thereby making it easier for the abuser to control the economic circumstances. Often the abuser puts assets in their own name and debt in the victim’s name. This leads to greater fear of economic struggle if the victim chooses to leave. There is not a legal process to assist in the separation as is the case if individuals are legally married. In addition there are laws that protect heterosexual individuals that preclude same-sex relationships. Without legal statutes geared towards the LGBT community, they are left vulnerable to abuse without protection.

For the rest of the article please go to:

Domestic Violence and the Gay Community:A Right to Peace and Safety

Additional Gift From Within DV & SA Resources Include:

Interactive art exhibit

A Woman’s Journey from Domestic Violence Victim to Survivor: The DOOR

"A Woman’s Journey from Domestic Violence Victim to Survivor" was constructed to encourage thought and action as people go about their daily activities. It has been displayed in coffee shops, City Hall, university campuses, and hospitals. It is intended to honor the strength and courage of women and men who have experienced domestic violence. The DOOR was created by Stacie Dubay, LMSW, a Counseling Supervisor at End Violent Encounters (EVE), Inc. in Lansing, Michigan. She has been working in the field of domestic violence for eleven years. Stacie began creating art as both a physical and emotional escape. She hopes to educate communities, encourage dialogue, motivate others and validate others’ experiences.

It has a permanent home on Gift From Within, an international non-profit organization dedicated to those who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those at risk for PTSD, and those who care for traumatized individuals.

Gift From Within’s articles include:

Dealing with Domestic Abuse: Lessons from Kathy

Understanding the Victims of Spousal Abuse

Trauma in American Indian Communities

Latinas in Pursuit of Healing:

The African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse

Understanding Asian Americans’ Experiences of Relationship Trauma

Partners with PTSD

Rape Trauma Syndrome:The Journey to Healing Belongs to Everyone

Domestic Violence Against Men: Bryan’s Story

Suffering in Silence: The Problem of Male Sexual Abuse

Professional: Understanding and Preventing Compassion Fatigue – A Handout – For Professionals

Professional: The Art and Science of Caring for Others without Forgetting Self-Care

Professional: Posttraumatic Stress, Mental Health Professionals, and the Clergy: A Need for Collaboration, Training, and Research

FREE VIDEO: Location: Webcast Page

Title: Interpersonal Violence: Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment
Produced by Dr. Janice L. Krupnick and the Center for Trauma & the Community
Georgetown University School of Medicine
part one | part two

DVD "Survival From Domestic Violence: Stories of Hope and Healing"

This film presents stories of women who transformed their lives after living through domestic violence. The steps they took to create safety, build a support system and find independence are described. Through their first hand accounts they give other victims hope that healing and recovery is possible.  DVD. 14 minutes $30.00

Additional Resources

Gift From Within Free Educational Webcasts 

Survivor Poetry & Art Center

Survivor Psalm – for survivors of trauma

Column:"Question and Answers on PTSD

CD Sage Advice For Trauma Survivors and Caregivers

Inspirational Stories

Educational Tapes & DVD’s on Trauma and Victimization

Best wishes,
Joyce Boaz
Director
Gift From Within-PTSD Resources for Survivors and Caregivers
l6 Cobb Hill Road
Camden, ME 04843 USA
207 236-8858 ph
207 236-2818 fax

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