A Community Response
LGBTIQ people are at least twice as likely as cis-gender heterosexual Australians to have no contact with family or no family to rely on for support. In addition to this, many of us don’t feel comfortable being completely open about our relationships to our cis-gender heterosexual friends and family, therefore people in our communities tend to ask for help and advice from other LGBTIQ friends.
Many authors have documented the lack of acknowledgment of DFV within the GLBTIQ community. The reasons for this are multiple and complex, but include an inability to recognise abuse outside of dominant understandings of gendered power dynamics.
For the whole LGBTIQ community, the cumulative impact of the discrimination we all face can contribute to the normalisation of violence and a higher tolerance for it. Basically that means if you have experienced discrimination for years, based on your gender, sex, sexuality or your race, culture and physical ability, then you tend to not recognise or you may easily dismiss more subtle forms of abuse and also not get help for abuse.
What can we as a community do to help?
The whole LGBTIQ community can start by creating a positive peer culture climate where certain behaviours are not acceptable. Saying something out loud is not easy, especially in small communities, but the responsibility for a healthy and safe community is everyone’s.
Role modelling healthy relationships is important. Many people in our communities did not grow up with any positive role models, especially not from LGBTIQ relationships, therefore many people are learning to navigate their way through their own unique relationships, either within traditional gender roles or free from them. As a community we can choose to be the healthy role models others may not have seen before. As a community we can celebrate respectful, equal relationships, challenge stereotypes and celebrate peaceful love in all its glorious diversity. In similar ways that the community has banded together against other forms of violence and homo/transphobia we can take a zero tolerance approach to violence in our intimate relationships.
At your next social gathering talk about domestic violence in LGBTIQ relationships, call it what it is – abuse – and educate those around you. Share resources, tell them about this webpage, invite people to events, make it a topic of conversation. Keeping DFV in the closet only enables abuse to continue and thrive.
Don’t downplay or deny domestic violence in our communities. Take safe, assertive and positive action against violence, harassment and abuse when you recognise it.
If you’d like more tangible ways to get involved contact us here.