Here’s the problem:
Domestic abuse among LGBT couples can often be hard to spot for several reasons: for some people, if the relationship is a secret, it can make finding help even harder. How do you tell your family or friends you are living in fear of your partner if no one knows you’re gay? If this is the case, it is not uncommon for the abuser to use the threat of “outing” them to colleagues, family, or their own children as a form of control. Additionally, the partners frequently have the same group of friends, which can lead to the abuser alienating the victim from their social supports. It’s likely that anyone in the LGBT community already feels a sense of isolation and vulnerability from social support and from mainstream society in general, making it hard to seek help. There can be a sense pressure to have relationships appear perfect to avoid criticism from outside the community.
Another area of domestic abuse unique to the LGBT community is the trend of threatening to reveal HIV status or withhold HIV medication between male partners or withholding of hormone treatment in transsexual couples.
Here’s a proposed solution:
Local police departments need to be trained to handle reports of domestic violence as described above, as they are often the first responders. Also, domestic violence awareness campaigns and service providers could expand their reach to be more inclusive of victims that do not match the stereotype by refocusing educational and outreach campaigns away from linking masculinity with violence and acknowledging that violence crosses all gender, sexual orientation, and economic lines.
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