This post by Friends of Justice intern Pierre Berastain originally appeared in the Huffington Post.
By Pierre Berastain
Every time a celebrity suffers from or commits intimate partner abuse, the media responds by writing op-eds, hosting panels of experts, and making the public aware of resources available to them. As someone who works in the field of domestic violence, I am glad these conversations take place, and I wish they would occur with more frequency. After all, the Center for Disease Control indicates that 1 of 4 women and 1 in 7 men over the age of 18 experiences severe physical violence in their lifetime. These conversations clearly need to happen.
The public, too, reads more and becomes more informed every time a celebrity tragedy takes place. What we see and hear, though, usually consists of advice to determine whether the man is abusing the woman, and once abuse is determined, conversations turn to how women can escape abusive relationships. But what happens in same-sex or LGBT relationships? In this short piece, I would like to cover how partner abuse manifests itself in the LGBT community, which experiences domestic violence at equal rates–and sometimes higher–than those of the rest of the population (25-33% of the LGBT population experiences domestic violence in its lifetime). True, any person–gay or straight–can be controlling of finances, hit another individual, or constantly make derogatory comments. However, intimate partner abuse in the LGBT population also manifests itself differently, thus presenting specific challenges our community faces when recognizing partner abuse and when trying to access services.
Here, then, are some things to consider: (more…)