Unfortunately, there are high rates of violence, trauma, and suicide within the LGBTQ+ community, and that prevalence is often inextricably linked with domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking (DVSA).
LGBTQ+ people are four times more likely to experience violence in their life than their straight counterparts according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. And LGBTQ+ youth are at higher risk of teen dating violence than other youth.
Sexual violence and intimate partner violence are rooted in power and control. This is magnified by the systems of oppression that those in the LBGTQ+ community face throughout their lives. Abusers often leverage homo- and transphobia to exert more power and control in relationships. In addition, barriers to stable housing and employment because of bias and discrimination against the LBGTQ+ community can leave them more vulnerable to other forms of violence by limiting their choices and making them more likely to rely on unsafe situations.
According to the Polaris Project, 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+. Being homeless is often linked with experiencing higher rates of violence. Many people are exploited and forced into sex work to survive while navigating these bigger systemic barriers.
The way issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community are discussed and the othering that can happen as a result also exacerbate the risk of experiencing DVSA. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), instances of hate violence like harassment, stalking, vandalism, and physical and sexual assault can be enabled and motivated by an increase in “socially sanctioned expressions of transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia.”
Schools are an environment that can be particularly hostile for LGBTQ+ youth. That said, teachers often serve as safe spaces and a place for students to find support when they lack it from their peers or family. It can be even more difficult for LGBTQ+ youth to escape violence and heal from it if their experiences are denied, minimized, or normalized. These youth are at higher risk of suicide as compared to their peers, and teen dating violence exacerbates that risk.
TFC Is a Safe Haven for EVERYONE
All our services are available to the LGBTQ+ community, and we are committed to providing support in a caring and informed manner that respects our clients’ varied life experiences.
The Friendship Center seeks to dismantle systems of oppression and abuse culture that contribute to violence in our community. We have seen the significant harm the LGBTQ+ community has experienced. We are a place where all people can seek support and resources if they have experienced domestic violence (at the hands of family or partners), sexual violence, or stalking.
Ways to help victims
Believe them if they tell you they have experienced violence and/or abuse.
Validate their feelings.
Use their preferred name or pronouns. If you don’t know what those are, ask and don’t make assumptions based on appearance.
Be aware and sensitive to concerns around confidentiality and outing someone’s gender and/or sexual identity.
Promote respect and healthy relationships.
Don’t ask for details.
We Are Here to Help
If you need assistance with safety planning, getting an Order of Protection, accessing legal services, or would just like emotional support, The Friendship Center can help. If you or a loved one is struggling and want to request services or simply talk about the situation, reach out to our office. All our services are free and confidential.