Ever since the Ray Rice video, more people than ever are talking about domestic violence. But, that doesn’t mean that domestic violence just started becoming a problem. It’s been a tragically common problem for a long time now, especially in the GLBTQ community.
While couples that do not identify as heterosexual make up a smaller portion of the population, they experience domestic violence at the same rate as those in heterosexual relationships. In other words, members of the GLBTQ community are just as likely to experience domestic violence in their lifetime as the average American woman.
What Makes GLBTQ Domestic Abuse Different
Domestic violence in GLBTQ relationships carries the same characteristics as heterosexual domestic abuse: it is a cycle of physical, psychological, and emotional mistreatment that victimizes a partner in the relationship. However, there are some distinct characteristics to GLBTQ domestic abuse:
- Threatening to “out” victims and socially isolating victims from their community support system
- Because the GLBTQ community has a higher rate of substance abuse and mental illness, there is a higher risk for domestic violence
- Restrictions on civil and parental rights of victims make it difficult to get out of an abusive relationship (which is difficult to do, anyways)
- GLBTQ victims are less likely to report abuse because there is pressure from authorities to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Victims do not want to their relationships to be seen as dysfunctional.
- Victims feel like their concerns will not be taken seriously because they do not have a socially normal relationship status
- Victims in GLBTQ unions are more likely to fight back, causing the victim to believe fighting was mutual.
While there are no explicit laws offering protection for GLBTQ survivors, New Mexico state law implicitly provides comparable protections for GLBTQ survivors of domestic violence. This means that if you are in a situation of abuse, you have a way to keep yourself and your family safe.
Domestic Violence is Unacceptable
If you are in a situation of abuse, you do not deserve it. There is help. UNM Truman Health Services can help you find a shelter that is sensitive to the needs of GLBTQ individuals. Contact us today or call the domestic violence helpline: 505.884.1241.