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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is something that everyone can be a victim of, no matter your age, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or job. Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.  Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.


How you can detect domestic violence?


  • Have you ever been accused of cheating or being disloyal by your partner?
  • Have you ever felt intimidated or threatened by your partner?
  • Has your partner ever forced you to have unwanted sex?
  • Does your partner have more control over the finances than you do?
  • Has your partner ever hit you or physically hurt you purposely?
  • Does your partner ever track you or follow you? Is your partner ever aggressive when you return from events, or hesitant about your going out with friends?
  • Do you feel like you couldn’t leave your partner if you wanted to?


If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions you may be in a domestically violent situation. It’s possible that you may not be too familiar with what domestic violence really is, especially if you were raised in a family or background that commonly experienced domestic violence. You could even feel like you’re making a big deal out of nothing. We want to remind you that domestic violence is never your fault, and your safety is important to us.


How do I get out of a domestic violence situation?


LGBT people experience violence at the hands of their intimate partners in higher percentages than heterosexual people. Escaping domestic violence takes bravery, planning and support. If you feel you are in a domestically violent relationship and want to take action to remove yourself from it, know that you are not alone. There are resources available to help you through it. 


Below are some links to plans that will help you get out of the DV situation you or someone you know is in:


Plan A - Get Need to Get Out Immediately

Plan B - You Have Time, and Live In Your Abusers Home

Plan C - You Have Time, and Own or Lease Your Home.


People you can turn to:

Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Community Health
For LGBT victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
800-834-3242


National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
Information on violence committed against and within the LGBT communities.  

212-714-1184


National Sexual Assault Hotline

1.800.656.HOPE.(4673)


Emerge
For gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender batterers
617-547-9879


Sexual Assault

If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you either have seen a sexual assault, heard about a sexual assault, or even been sexually assaulted yourself. Approximately 23 percent of LGBTQ men and 50 percent of LGBTQ women experience sexual assault from their intimate partners. First: what exactly is sexual assault? According to the U.S. Department of Justice, sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are unwanted sexual activities including forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.


Did I make this happen?


The first thing to know is that being assaulted is never your fault. Often a perpetrator will use homophobia as a weapon to threaten victims. Many people think that you can stop a sexual assault by kicking ass and taking names but when it comes to sexual assault it’s hard to do that because:


  • You feel threatened
  • You are trying to avoid an upsetting or shameful conversation.
  • You feel like no one will believe you
  • You feel like you have no one to turn to


It’s always helpful to talk to someone close to you about the situation so that you don’t hold all the emotions inside. Also, never rule out the possibility of contacting the police. They are our community’s form of protection.


What should I do if I'm being sexually assaulted?


If you are ever sexually assaulted there are things you can do to help prevent a repeat assault and maybe even other person.


First, find a safe place to go to that the person responsible for the assault doesn’t know of. It does not matter whether it’s a friend, a family member, a co-worker, or a stripper from the Essence, as long as you are in safe hands and away from the perpetrator of your assault so they cannot find you.


Second, it is very important that you don’t alter or remove any evidence of the sexual assault:


  • Do not shower, brush your teeth, wash your hands, and fix yourself back up after the assault. This can destroy or alter evidence that could help locate your attacker.
  • Try to take note of every detail of where you are assaulted and who assaulted you.
  • When reporting to the police, be as clear and honest as you can. They are here to help.
  • Remember to take care of your well being. Make sure to get tested for STDs and pregnancy, if need be. 


It is common for perpetrators to use sexual violence as a way to punish and humiliate someone for being LGBT. There’s not one master strategy you can have to protect yourself from a sexual assault. These things can happen anywhere, anytime, and many ways. So the best thing you can do is be prepared.


Ways to protect yourself on the street:


  • Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you, especially if you’re alone or it’s dark.
  • Walk confidently, directly, and at a steady pace on the side of the street facing traffic. A rapist looks for someone who appears vulnerable.
  • Always park in a well-lit area.
  • Use the alarm button on your automatic car door opener if you think you are being followed to your car.
  • Have your keys out and ready before you need them, whether it is for your car or home.
  • Always look around, and in the back seat of your car, before you enter your vehicle.
  • If you think you’re being followed, walk quickly to an area where there are lights and people. If a car appears to be following you, turn and walk on the other side of the street.
  • If you’re in danger, scream and run, or yell “help.”


Ways to protect yourself at parties and bars:


  • Avoid over intoxication and drug use. When a person is drinking too much alcohol or using drugs, it’s harder to think clearly and evaluate a potentially dangerous situation. Intoxication also reduces your ability to think clearly and maneuver yourself in these situations. 
  • In a bar, accept drinks only from the bartender or wait staff, and if it’s an open container drink make sure you to watch the bartender or wait staff make your drink.


People you can turn to:


"I did the online hotline and it was so good to get my questions answered and know recovery is possible. I was really having a hard time with what happened to me, and I am still unable to verbalize it...They helped alot. I'm starting the road to recovery”


— Anonymous Hotline User


The Network/La Red
For lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in relationships with women
Hotline/Linea de Crisis: TTY 617-227-4911

National Domestic Violence Hotline

  1−800−787−3224

2-1-1/LIFE LINE (24 hr hotline)

800-310-1160


GLBT National Help Center National Helpline

888-THE-GLNH (888-843-4564)