Domestic Violence and the LGBTQ Community in Hampton Roads

Violence doesn’t discriminate, and neither does Samaritan House. We offer free and confidential services to individuals who have been victimized by violence in our region, no matter their sexual orientation or gender expression. We are proud to be an ally and a trusted resource for the LGBTQ community.

Intimate partner violence is most often portrayed in the media by heterosexual couples, commonly depicted as a male aggressor and a female victim. This narrative does not paint a complete picture of who is affected by domestic violence, and the numbers reveal a much more troubling reality:

– 26% of gay men, 37% of bisexual men, and 29% of heterosexual men experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.

– 43.8% of lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime, as opposed to 35% of heterosexual women.

– In a study of male same sex relationships, only 26% of men called the police for assistance after experiencing near-lethal violence.

– In 2012, fewer than 5% of LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence sought orders of protection.

– Transgender victims are more likely to experience intimate partner violence in public, compared to those who do not identify as transgender.

[Statistics Courtesy: NCADV]

What is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)?

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is violence or aggression that occurs in a close relationship. The term “intimate partner” includes current and former spouses and dating partners. IPV can vary in frequency and severity and occurs on a continuum, ranging from one episode that might or might not have lasting impact, to chronic and severe episodes over a period of years. IPV includes four types of behavior:

Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.

Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act, sexual touching, or a non-physical sexual event (e.g., sexting) when the partner does not or cannot consent.

Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim.

Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally and/or exert control over another person.

What are some of the common signs of IPV seen in LGBT relationships?

LGBTQ individuals may experience unique forms of intimate partner violence as well as distinctive barriers to seeking help due to fear of discrimination or bias.

Prior experiences of trauma, such as bullying and hate crimes, may make LGBTQ victims of intimate partner violence less likely to seek help.

• Throw things or become physically violent?
• Control finances or refuse to let you work?
• Blame you for the abuse?
• Threaten or hurt pets, children or other loved ones?
• Change rules and expectations without warning?
• Blame their behavior on being drunk or high or pressure you to misuse drugs or alcohol?
• Tell you that nobody else will ever love you?
• Follow your movements, read your email, look through your cell phone?
• Guilt-trip or manipulate you? Say, “If you really loved me you would…” or “this is how all LGBTQ relationships are.”
• Withhold or control access to medications (including those for depression, anxiety, HIV and hormones)?
• Use the wrong pronouns or name for you, say that you are sick or crazy for being transgender?
• Pressure you into unsafe or degrading sex acts?
• Threaten to “out” your sexual orientation?

If your current partner or an ex exhibits any of the signs above, or you feel threatened or unsafe in your relationship, call the Samaritan House 24-hour crisis hotline at 757-430-2120 to speak with our team about resources available to you. Our resources are voluntary and confidential.