Survivors of Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence can be from any gender identity or sexual orientation. Our focus is on ensuring inclusive representation of gender-based violence (GBV) survivors across diverse gender, racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual orientation spectrums.
Gender-based Domestic Violence
Gender-based violence (GBV) encompasses various forms of violence rooted in exploiting unequal power dynamics between genders. This includes societal gender norms, role expectations, and situational power imbalances. It can affect anyone and encompasses intimate partner and family violence, elder abuse, sexual violence, stalking, and human trafficking.
Elder abuse refers to actions causing harm or distress to individuals aged 60+, occurring within familial or care-taking relationships. It includes neglect, threats, and various forms of abuse, such as physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, psychological, or financial.
Sexual violence entails actions compromising an individual’s sexual autonomy, including harassment, assault, trafficking, non-consensual distribution of intimate images, and other forced or drug-facilitated sexual acts.
Stalking involves harassing behavior directed at a specific person, causing reasonable fear, such as monitoring activities, following, leaving unwanted gifts/notes, and making repeated calls.
Human trafficking involves using power to coerce individuals into labor or services, including commercial sex. Traffickers employ violence, emotional manipulation, and threats, exploiting social and economic inequities for personal gain.
LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence
The fundamental human right to live free from violence and abuse remains elusive for many LGBTQ individuals.
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.
Research indicates that LGBTQ+ individuals experience sexual, and/or intimate partner violence at rates comparable to or higher than women in the broader population. However, limited research has explored this issue both domestically and internationally, possibly due to stigma, fear of discrimination, or lack of prioritization.
Understanding abusive dynamics within LGBTQ+ relationships requires nuanced exploration. Gender norms and power imbalances shape these dynamics, with individuals navigating traditional roles and societal expectations. Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia further exacerbate power imbalances, leading to internalized attitudes and instances of violence and abuse.
It’s critical to recognize that domestic violence occurs in LGBTQ relationships at similar or higher rates than in the general population. The impact of abuse can be equally or more severe, including severe physical violence and psychological abuse such as threats to disclose sexual orientation or gender identity.
Perceptions of domestic violence within LGBTQ relationships often overlook complexities and may misattribute roles based on gender presentation. However, domestic violence knows no bounds of gender or identity, impacting individuals regardless of physical attributes or personal characteristics.
Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, leaving an abusive partner is a challenging and painful process. LGBTQ relationships are as valid as straight relationships, and individuals deserve support and resources to navigate abusive situations with dignity and safety.
For more information, visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Additional organizations working around the issue of domestic violence in LGBTQ communities.
If you have questions or want to talk, please call us at InterAct. Use our 24/7/365 phone line at (919) 828-7740.
Male-Identified Domestic Abuse
Male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault can and are frequently victims of abuse in the home, either at the hands of their female partner or, in the case of same-sex relationships, their male partner. According to the CDC, more than 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
There are likely many more men who do not report or seek help for their abuse for a variety of reasons:
Men are socialized not to express their feelings or see themselves as victims.
Our culture still clings to narrow definitions of gender (although there are signs that this is slowly shifting). Young boys are taught not to express their emotions, to “suck it up” and “be a man.” Tony Porter calls this the “man box” in his well-known TED talk. This can be extremely detrimental to boys as they age, especially if they find themselves in an abusive relationship. Men may feel discouraged to talk about what’s going on in their personal lives, or they feel like no one will believe them. They may not even realize that they are being abused, or they might assume they should just deal with the abuse on their own.
Pervading beliefs or stereotypes about men being abusers and women being victims.
The majority of domestic violence stories covered by the media are about male perpetrators and female victims who are typically in heterosexual relationships. While we certainly don’t want to minimize this violence, focusing on only one type of situation renders invisible the many scenarios that do not fit this definition, including abusive relationships among homosexual, bisexual, and trans* men. This might make many victims feel like they don’t have the space or the support to speak out about their own experiences and seek help.
The abuse of men is often treated as less serious or a “joke.”
When a man is abused, many people don’t take it as seriously (in part due to the previous two reasons we’ve mentioned). The truth is, abuse is not a joke in any situation between any two people. All victims deserve support and resources to help them feel safe.
Many believe there are no resources or support available for male victims.
It can seem like the majority of shelters and services for domestic violence victims are women-focused. However, services for male victims do exist. Most federal funding sources require that domestic violence services be provided to all victims of abuse. Our advocates can provide information, assist with safety planning, and/or find local resources if available. They can also help brainstorm alternative options if local programs are not meeting the requirements for male victims, including who a caller may be able to contact if they believe they have experienced discrimination.
No matter your situation, InterAct is here to help confidentially and without judgment.
Call us to talk with an advocate at (919) 828-7740, 24/7/365.