All month long, 10 On Your Side has been urging the community to help break the cycle of domestic violence. Today, we want to shine a light on those issues within the LGBTQ community.
When talking about domestic violence, some people assume it’s between a man and a woman, but these issues happen between LGBTQ couples, too. However, the circumstances are sometimes different and present different challenges.
That is why the LGBT Life Center wants to help.
Intimate partner violence is difficult to identify.
“That incorporates power and control over another person,” said Dr. Cory Gerwe, LGBT Life Center Clinical director of Mental Health. “So this could include physical, emotional and sexual abuse.”
Domestic violence is a hard situation for anyone to escape, but LGBTQ couples often face different challenges.
“An offender could threaten to reveal one’s sexual orientation or one’s gender identity if they report the assault,” said Gerwe. “They could also hide their medications if one, if someone is HIV positive, there’s medications they have to take every day and that’s one form of assault, one form of power and control that we’ve seen in the past.”
There’s also a lack of understanding from the community, a lack of resources, and not knowing where to go for help. That’s where the LGBT Life Center comes in.
Gerwe said, “Providing education and information so that we can better recognize when assault happens, so we can better recognize when intimate partner violence happens.”
In terms of spotting abuse or intimate partner violence, Gerwe says people should look for patterns.
“It’s so important for us to try to be aware of patterns, because it’s the patterns of power and control that really outline abuse,” Gerwe said.
He and the LGBT Life Center hope speaking out and sharing resources can help someone who may need it.
“It really is our goal to increase visibility about this issue, but also to be the helping hand, to be that safe place for people who are experiencing intimate partner violence,” said Gerwe.
Click here for other domestic violence awareness resources.