October 18, 2020

Ending Violence Against All Womxn

Womxn and Violence

When we discuss ending violence against women, we must use an intersectional lens that includes all women. The term “womxn” is often used to encompasses a broad range of identities for those who identify as women, which includes transgender women, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and gender-fluid individuals.

LGBTQ+ Individuals and Intimate Partner Domestic Violence (IPDV)

“Recent research shows that LGBTQ people experience similar, if not higher, rates of IPV (intimate partner violence) compared to their cisgender or heterosexual counterparts,” according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-affected Intimate Partner Violence in 2016.”

The same report also shared that 44% of lesbian women, 61% of bisexual women, 26% of gay men, and 37% of bisexual men experience IPV at some point in their lives. In contrast, the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that 35% of heterosexual women and 29% of heterosexual men experience IPV at some point in their lifetimes.

Multiple studies indicate that over 50% of transgender people have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives.

While IPDV is rooted in power and control, there are some tactics used to gain and maintain the power and control within LGBTQ+ relationships not experienced in others.

LoveIsRespect.org shared this power and control wheel that focuses on domestic violence in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans relationships.

For instance, a coercion or threat could involve “outing” the partner at work or to their family, when they aren’t ready to address their sexuality or gender identity. One partner could use derogatory terms against the other and reinforce internalized homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Another tactic could be to threaten to involve police or other systems that the survivor sees as damaging to their wellbeing.

Reporting to the Police

While some members of LGBTQ+ communities experience higher rates of intimate partner violence and sexual assault than heterosexual individuals, studies show that LGBTQ+ survivors are more reluctant to call police for help. These reporting and policing systems are not equipped to serve the LGTQ+ community and often hurt them.

An individual may not want to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity out of fear of being judged or not believed. Furthermore, their sexual orientation or gender identity may be revealed without their consent, which can be traumatizing and potentially dangerous.

LGBTQ+ survivors may face racial and gender profiling and discrimination, the threat of sexual and physical violence by law enforcement, and the fear of being misgendered. Their experiences may be minimized and they may be denied services.

Additional Resources

To learn more about the unique barriers LGBTQ+ individuals face when reporting sexual violence, read this article by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. To learn more, visit thetrevorproject.org/.

Read this blog post by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), “Domestic Violence and the LGBTQ Community.”

For more information on LGBTQ+ survivors of gender-based violence, check out this YWCA USA Fact Sheet.

YWCA Spokane Is Here For You

If you or someone you know is impacted by intimate partner domestic violence, know that confidential advocates are always available through our 24hr helpline services by calling 509-326-2255, emailing help@ywcaspokane.org, or texting 509-220-3725.

To learn more about accessing additional services through YWCA Spokane during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit ywcaspokane.org/services.

By: Jemma Riedel-Johnson

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