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Why Is Domestic Violence In LGBTQIA+ Relationships Not Reported?

Why Is Domestic Violence In LGBTQIA+ Relationships Not Reported?

Many LGBTQIA+ folks wrongly think that domestic violence is a problem that only people who are both straight and cis-gender face. However, this is not the case.

This finding was presented in a new study which was conducted by ACON (formerly the AIDS Council of NSW) and Relationships Australia New South Wales (RANSW). The new study was published with the help of Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety.

The research interestingly revealed that many LGBTQIA+ individuals possess deep and unnescessary misconceptions regarding domestic violence. That they don’t actually understand or realise the several ways it could leave a damaging impact on LGBTQIA+ communities.

Most LGBTQIA+ people falsely think domestic abuse is only ‘a heterosexual issue’:

“Our study found that [domestic and family violence (DFV) and intimate partner violence (IPV)] were perceived by community members; and professional stakeholders to be a heterosexual issue that did not easily apply to LGBTQ relationships,” the study said, reported the PinkNews.

“In particular, many community members held the view that relationships between LGBTQ people could avoid the inherent sexism. And patriarchal values of heterosexual, cisgender relationships, and, by implication, avoid DFV/IPV.”

A large part of the framework and language that was used around this topic relate to only heterosexual relationships. Which is why the abuse that may happen in LGBTQIA+ relationships are getting overshadowed.  

The people from the community who responded back to the researchers’ survey; for the most part believed that “domestic violence” only ever refers to physical signs of harm. But many were not aware of all the other kinds of violence.

The researchers noted that domestic violence is something that is known to exist in LGBTQIA+ relationships. But sadly very little is known to us, regarding its cause and nature of the abuse.

domestic violence/domestic violence/Why Is Domestic Violence In LGBTQIA+ Relationships Not Reported?
Image Courtesy: Leeway

Interestingly, the researchers of this study found that some LGBTQIA+ relationships could be open to some kinds of abuse. Those kinds that are not seen in straight relationships.

Queer people could face special types of abuse that cis-straight folks never experience:

This study identified “identity-based tactics of abuse” as a particular and real issue. It means that the fear of outing or exposure is used as a weapon among queer relationships.

“While experiences of DFV in our communities can mirror those in the general population; there are some unique aspects experienced by LGBTQ people,” told ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill, according to the Star Observer.

“Much of the language and framework used around this issue relates to heterosexual relationships; which can overshadow abuse occurring in LGBTQ relationships.

“Because of this, many LGBTQ people suffer in isolation and don’t feel comfortable to report abuse or seek help from support services,” told Parkhill.

Parkhill also said it is very important that researchers continue their study of domestic violence. Especially in LGBTQIA+ relationships which will help them bring about more awareness. 

Queer victims of domestic violence are staying with their perpetrators:

This is because no availability of refuge spaces or centers, found a leading charity. LGBT Foundation is trying to help victims stuck at home due to the pandemic. They are “firefighting” to reach out to as many queer people as possible; who can’t seek out to support networks due to the pandemic. The victim numbers are increasing day by day, said a spokesperson to the i.  

domestic violence/domestic violence/Why Is Domestic Violence In LGBTQIA+ Relationships Not Reported?
Image Courtesy: BBC

The charity reported that calls to its crisis helpline have doubled ever since March 23. Because the pandemic compounds already present  issues that occur due to a lack of space. And due to no understanding of the problems that queer abuse victims face.

Because of the funding cuts there are no LGBT-special refuge services at the moment. And less than one percent of refuges give specific support to LGBTQIA+ survivors.

“There is a very real danger that LGBT+ victims may slip through the net and be left without support; trapped in a situation that is very dangerous to them,” told Paul Martin OBE, chief executive of LGBT Foundation.

As per the charity Galop, LGBTQIA+ domestic violence victims are more to get back to their abusive partners; because of the homelessness they endure when waiting for local authorities to rehouse them.

Liam, a gay man, faced this firsthand:

Liam is a gay man who went on his own to seek help, when his partner attacked him. He was the same above mentioned situation. Although he is “scared for his life”, he is not in a position to leave him. This is because of the no employment situation this global pandemic has caused.

“Liam was very concerned that he would become street homeless; due to the lack of refuge space which will take males and his difficulty getting social housing during this period,” Rhys Dower told the i. Dower is a  domestic abuse coordinator.

“He has now returned to the perpetrator and has disengaged with our services; highlighting just one of many experiences where LGBT+ people experiencing domestic abuse fall through the cracks. Due to a lack of LGBT-inclusive support services.”

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