LGBT Atlanta met last week to address domestic violence and aid domestic violence victims. The meeting included LGBTQ activists, state agencies, and domestic violence advocates. Conversation focused on how difficulties such as fear of being outed, homophobia, and complex child custody arrangements can complicate the lives of queer people in abusive relationships.
Intimate partner abuse, used interchangeably with domestic abuse, affects nearly one in four LGBTQ people. Although this rate is about the same as heterosexual women, from a lot of perspectives, it’s much harder to deal with. Intimate partner abuse among the LGBTQ community has been referred to as a “Silent Epidemic,” because there are so many barriers between victims and domestic abuse help.
Project Q adds that “Queer people must also contend with added barriers to accessing services or getting help if they are undocumented, low income, face cultural or language barriers, or are navigating additional sources of stigma, like being HIV positive… On the flip side, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia create environments of fear and violence that aid perpetrators in isolating their victims.”
Alexis Champion, of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one of the sponsors of the event, also said that LGBTQ intimate partner abuse victims do not always get equal access to support, stating “There are a lot of barriers that are unique to LGBTQ survivors, and the reality is that they don’t always have access to equal services and support to get help, to get safe.”