The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) released a report in 2017 on partner abuse in the LGBTQ community and the HIV-affected community entitled Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, And HIV-Affected Intimate Partner Violence in 2016.
The report included statistics based on 2,032 reports from their member organizations. The intention of this report is to provide insight into the abuse of LGBTQ and HIV-affected people, not to report national averages.
What They Found
The report found that the majority of abuse survivors were gay, at 43%, with 21% of survivors being heterosexual, 16% being lesbian, 10% being bisexual, and 6% being queer. The majority of survivors were also cisgender, with men at 43% and women at 38%, while only 11% were trans women, 3% were trans men and 4% were nonbinary or another gender not listed as an option. Most respondents identified as a person of color, making up 59%, while 39% identified as white.
The most common types of violence were physical violence, which 19% of respondents reported, and verbal harassment, which 18% reported. Other types of violence reported in the survey include threats and intimidation (11%), isolation (9%), and sexual violence (7%).
Forms of Support Sought by Survivors
Survey respondents were seeking help in a variety of ways. 25% of them needed legal help, while 17% sought help with housing needs and 14% needed help with mental health issues. Most survivors (59%) sought help with some type of safety planning.
Both members of the transgender community and members of the Latinx community were shown to be at three times the risk of abuse from an ex-partner than other people.
The NCAVP received 15 homicide reports in 2016 related to domestic violence. Nine of those victims were people of color. The genders of the victims include nine cis men, three cis women, two trans women, and one nonbinary person. Most of the victims were killed by a current partner, four were killed by an ex-partner and one was killed by police during an incident related to domestic abuse.
A large part of this report’s findings point to shortcomings in the resources that LGBTQ and HIV-affected people sought out. For quite some time, queer people have been left out of the domestic violence narrative.
This is an issue because often times, marginalized identities can factor into abuse, both through identity-based verbal harassment and barriers to accessing the services and support systems that help victims escape the abuse. For instance, shelter staff often are not equipped with the tools to provide affirming services to transgender people. Many transgender people report having been turned away at gender-segregated housing facilities or were assigned to housing not aligned with where they felt safest.
Intersectional Approaches Are Needed
The intersection of different types of discrimination can also affect the likelihood of abuse and types of abuse that a person faces. For instance, one survey found that bisexual transgender students face higher rates of abuse than heterosexual transgender students. This concept is also applicable to racism, ableism, religious discrimination, and other types of bigotry.
Warning Signs and Seeking Help
Some common warning signs that your partner might be abusive include:
- Trying to control your actions and who you spend time with
- Unwarranted jealousy or anger
- Making you feel badly about yourself
- Financial control
- Threatening to hurt you or someone you care about
- Destruction of property
- Disrespecting your autonomy
- Pressuring you into activities you are uncomfortable with, including sex and drug use
- Dismissing your memory of events and acting like the victim of every scenario
This is not a comprehensive list of abusive behaviors. If you are concerned that you or someone you care about is being abused, please reach out for help.
National Domestic Violence Hotline - Phone: 800-799-7233
Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence - Phone: 888-774-2900
Local Resource for Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence in Bridgeport - Center for Family Justice - Phone: 203-384-9559