AODVC is committed to providing inclusive LGBTQ Domestic Violence Services to people of all genders and sexualities. We have served LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence through our crisis office, providing culturally relevant, anti-oppressive support and advocacy to them, with the knowledge that they face additional barriers when accessing resources, both overseas and at home.
People can contact us at our “knowb4ugo” email to get country specific information and safety tips before they travel abroad. This information includes a section on LGBTQ rights in the countries they are going to, with an overview of the existing laws in countries where homosexuality is considered illegal. Our services are free and confidential, as well as being inclusive of the wide variety of identities within the LGBTQ community. Our case managers in the crisis office are trained to provide emotional support and advocacy for self-identified LGBTQ folks of all genders who are survivors of abuse.
Additional Barriers for LGBTQ+ Victims of Abuse
- Isolation and OUTING – people may lose friends and family, may be alienated from their cultural, ethnic, religious, familial community and institutions as a result of coming out, which makes them more vulnerable to abuse. The isolation that most LGBTQ people face as a result of homophobia is useful to a batterer who is trying to isolate their partner. Threatening to “out” a person is a powerful tool of control. This is amplified when they are traveling or living abroad in a foreign country.
- Using Vulnerabilities – a batterer using their own vulnerabilities to obligate or coerce their partner into staying, caring for them, and/or prioritizing batterer’s needs. Using vulnerabilities often results in survivors being exploited (resources, time, attention) and undermines survivors’ attempts to negotiate boundaries or prioritize self.
- Using Children – In many places, LGBTQ people are not allowed to be the legal parent of their children. Even in places where LGBTQ parent’s rights are protected, not all individuals have access to the systems to assert their legal rights. For a non-biological parent, the threat of having no contact with their children makes leaving an abusive relationship a complex to impossible choice.
- Using Small Communities – Using friends/family and the small number of open and affirming community spaces to monitor a survivor & gather information, to ostracize or threaten to ostracize the survivor.
- Leveraging Institutional Violence / Isolation – law enforcement in many countries historically and currently have used violence against LGBTQ people. LGBTQ people have been targeted for violence in mental health institutions, by hate and bias attacks, and are denied basic civil rights. LGBTQ people also experience discrimination and oppression based on race, class, national origin, gender, gender identity etc. Many LGBTQ people, and particularly transgender people, have experienced discrimination within the medical system. These things are used by batterers to increase control.
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse – LGBTQ people have historically been forced to make community in “illegal” and marginalized spaces such as bars. They have higher rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse than in mainstream communities. Batterers leverage the ongoing consequences of ways that LGBTQ people’s lives have been historically criminalized AS WELL AS the realities of current drug use (and drug criminalization) when setting up/maintaining a system of power & control.
Beyond the Wheel” Bullet Points This handout developed by Connie Burk ©2005, updated by Kristin Tucker 2009 for The NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse www.nwnetwork.org P.O. Box 20398 Seattle,WA 98102
- Using some of the above mentioned tactics in the Americans overseas population could also result with the survivor being placed in prison or worse. The legal system is an important tool in your safety planning. It may seem overwhelming, but it’s important to know your rights and how the system works in different countries. Please contact AODVC immediately if your partner is abusing you, and to discuss your safety when reporting overseas.