LGBT+ RELATIONSHIPS & DOMESTIC/SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Domestic and sexual violence can happen in relationships in the LGBT+ community, too. In fact, LGBT+ individuals experience intimate partner violence at a disproportionate rate than those who are not LGBT+. Some statistics on this, courtesy of the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey:
- 44 percent of lesbians and 61 percent of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 35 percent of straight women.
26 percent of gay men and 37 percent of bisexual men experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 29 percent of straight men.
46 percent of bisexual women have been raped, compared to 17 percent of straight women and 13 percent of lesbians.
22 percent of bisexual women have been raped by an intimate partner, compared to 9 percent of straight women.
40 percent of gay men and 47 percent of bisexual men have experienced sexual violence other than rape, compared to 21 percent of straight men.
The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime.
Among people of color, American Indian (65%), multiracial (59%), Middle Eastern (58%) and Black (53%) respondents of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey were most likely to have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
These statistics are chilling, but why do they exist? The oppression of the LGBTQ community is a major contributor to why these individuals experience domestic and sexual violence at a higher rate than those who are straight & cisgender. This is especially true for members of the community that experience more than one form of oppression, such as being a person of color and/or disabled.
Intimate partner violence can look different within LGBT+ relationships. Here are some of the ways it can manifest:
- Threatening to out a partner to their family, friends, coworkers, etc. if they try to leave or stand up for themselves.
- Belittling someone for their sexuality or gender – telling them they should be grateful anyone would want to be with them, or using homophobic/transphobic rhetoric to guilt and shame them.
- There are extra barriers to seeking services for LGBTQ survivors; such as legal definitions that exclude same-sex couples, the fear of outing oneself to service providers and law enforcement, and not knowing if DV/SV resources will be LGBTQ-friendly.
If you are LGBTQ and seeking help for intimate partner violence, please know that you are not alone. We work with and advocate for survivors of any gender or sexuality.