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The Prevention Perspective October 2021

24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 208.343.7025 24-hour Rape Crisis Hotline: 208.345.7273 (RAPE)

DVAM and LGBTQIA+ History Month

Peoples’ experiences with abuse are layered because of their multifaceted identities. These identities color the ways we experience the world, and in the case of domestic violence and sexual assault, may impact survivors’ options and supports.  This October, as we turn our attention to both Domestic Violence Awareness Month and LGBTQIA+ History month, let’s remember our moral responsibility not only to eradicate Domestic Violence in the Boise area but also to critically question and address the legacy of barriers to safety that exist for folks within the LGBTQIA+ community.  It is imperative to consider an intersectional approach to prevention, one that considers the experiences of those who have been marginalized.

Abuse can be perpetrated and experienced by anyone, in relationships of any nature, regardless of gender identity or sexuality. Antiquated social biases tell a misleading and untrue narrative about who wields power in these abusive relationships, but the reality is that people of any gender or sexuality can commit or be the recipient of violence. Violence occurs at relatively the same rates in same-sex couples as in heterosexual relationships.  These gendered norms, as well as homophobia and transphobia in our society frequently create barriers to services for LGBTQIA+ survivors.

Abuse is characterized by patterns of control and power. For some LGBTQIA+ folks, this may manifest as an abusive partner threatening to reveal their partner’s sexual or gender identity to family, community members, or colleagues as a means of keeping their partner in the relationship or to prevent them from reporting abuse.  This is commonly paired with threats to “out” them in other spaces with undertones of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and heterosexism to jeopardize their partners’ immigration status or custody of children.  In some communities, antiquated social biases against LGBTQIA+ identifying folks limit the number of safe agencies and resources for people experiencing abuse.

This October, let us reconsider how our prevention measures and community services uphold our social responsibility to serve our neighbors in the LGBTQIA+ community who may be experiencing domestic abuse. Addressing factors like the overwhelming lack of LGBTQIA+ competent social services, and scarcity of safe spaces in heavily interconnected communities throughout Idaho can serve as joint safety planning and prevention measures. Let us hold ourselves accountable for both the ways our services directly support LGBTQIA+folks and how we engage in combating homophobia and transphobia in our community.

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