How to Help LGBTQ Persons in Abusive Relationships | Break the Cycle
David and Kyle, two out gay men, are both highly involved in the LGBT community. David leads an Lack of respect is another sign of an abusive relationship. 12 Signs You Could Be in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship Thumbnail for Gay Pride Parade Was A Big Success In Mike Pence's. Abuse can occur in any type of relationship whether it is a heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer, or gay relationship. All genders have the potential.
They may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services. Intimidation — Your abuser may use a variety of intimidation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display.
Denial and blame — Abusers are adept at making excuses for the inexcusable.
They may blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, or even on you and the kids, the victims of their abuse. They may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred.
Often, they will shift the responsibility on to you: Abusers are able to control their behavior—they do it all the time Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse. Usually, they save their abuse for the people closest to them, the ones they claim to love.
Abusers carefully choose when and where to abuse. They control themselves until no one else is around to witness their behavior. Abusers are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them. Most abusers are not out of control. The cycle of violence in domestic abuse Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern or cycle of violence: Abuse — Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for provoking them—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
Fantasy and planning — Your abuser begins to fantasize about repeating the abuse. Then they form a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
Lastly, cultural stigma referred to the notion that IPV victims provoked their own victimization. However, a specific risk was highlighted in considering IPV as a universal experience, since this assumption implicated that the treatment might be the same for each person Ford et al. There were similar aspects between heterosexual and homosexual IPV relationships, therefore policies and services tailored for heterosexual may be helpful to design specific interventions for LGB population Dixon and Peterman, ; Ristock and Timbang, Heterosexual model can be the starting point for treatments addressed to LGB people, who deserve interventions based on their own peculiar experiences and needs Finneran et al.
Renzetti examined the outcomes of the application of an unspecific treatment that did not consider sexual orientation and gender. In fact, just one out of ten victims received particular care specifically directed to lesbian women, but the remainder claimed that operators did not make any effort to comply with their needs. Other researches Giorgio, ; Helfrich and Simpson, conducted in the United States confirmed this condition: Authors reported that gay men were not perceived as domestic violence service consumers unless they were perpetrators Cheung et al.
On the other hand, lesbian women highlighted a heterosexist language adopted by emergency, primary care, and other service providers Dixon and Peterman, It is considered that services are rarely available for LGB people, and when they are, it is often difficult to access them, particularly in rural areas Jeffries and Kay, ; Ford et al. Thus, it appears clear how heterosexual IPV, widely studied, can be considered as a starting point to better investigate and address homosexual couple abuse, without overlooking LGB-specific factors Finneran et al.
While it was found that in the United States many emergency departments, shelters, agencies, and clinics had IPV advocacy programs, most of these programs historically failed in responding adequately to abuse in LGB groups Brown and Groscup, ; Hines and Douglas, ; Armstrong et al. Ard and Makadon highlighted the need for a sensitive and accurate assessment, which they discussed through clinical, institutional, educational, and research suggestions.
The authors indicated that providers must be alert to the possibility of IPV as a cause of distress and illness among their LGB patients.
Thus, according to them, clinicians should first inquire about sexual orientation in a sensitive and open manner, rather than simply screening for IPV Ard and Makadon, Further, clinicians must use an inclusive language, avoiding any type of homophobic attitude, beginning from the first contact with the client Eliason and Schope, ; Finneran et al. Several authors support public and specialized education believing that it would reduce the incidence of this phenomenon, by promoting earlier help-seeking and strengthening informal and formal support systems for victims McClennen, ; Borne et al.
Merrill and Wolfe recommended similar suggestions, considering that SSIPV assessment and treatment should include the following aspects: A case of inadequate attitude was offered by police officers, since they often did not recognize partners as members of a couple particularly if partners defined themselves as roommates because they were scared and did not know how to identify the abusers at an SSIPV crime scene, relying upon gender as the sole criteria.
Consequently, in LGB IPV cases, officers frequently did not arrest anyone, arrested either party, or the wrong person. The psycho-educational intervention could list and define abusive behaviors and perpetrator tactics, examining the psychological consequences of violence, describing the cycle of violence, and going beyond common prejudices regarding LGB IPV.
As an application of this suggestion, inFinneran et al. They introduced different interventions compared to heterosexual IPV protocols, serving both survivors and perpetrators. For example, they offered batterer intervention programs as well as advocacy programs to help LGB people access the legal justice system The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center Ristock and Timbang, As the research highlights, most of the time, victims of violence asked friends and family for help before accessing services, thereby giving them a primary supporting role.
In certain cases, services were associated with community-based initiatives that involved holding workshops and forums to address healthy relationships Cronin et al.
- Experiencing a violent or abusive relationship
Ristock and Timbang and highlighted how discussion on building healthy relationships appeared to be more welcomed from lesbian victims than support groups for survivors. Such discussion may explore other issues such as expectation in relationships, negotiating differences, power issues, and warning signs of abuse rather than identifying who experienced violence and respecting participants privacy.
Another objective was also to shift from organizational interventions to a community-based prevention to support health relationships and provide information and prevention to lesbian communities Fonseca et al. The variety of approaches presented attempt to better respond to local settings rather than standardizing programs Hatzenbuehler et al.
The act explicitly included a non-discrimination clause that prohibited LGB individuals from being turned away from shelters or other programs funded by The Violence Against Women Act Armstrong et al. Further, several treatments and programs have been developed for individuals who experienced IPV. Some programs focused exclusively on treating the symptoms experienced by the victims, while others attempted to break the cycle of violence through interventions addressed for batterers.
The types of interventions ranged from couple and group interventions to individual psychotherapy Fountain and Skolnik, ; Herrmann and Turell, ; Dykstra et al. Couple and Group Interventions Lesbian, gay, and bisexual partners often ask for treatment as a couple, and it is only after an initial assessment it becomes evident that the relationship is abusive.
Frequently, with the aim of protecting victims, clinicians recommend separate services and refuse to provide couple therapy Borne et al. In certain cases, this attitude was damaging and resulted in clients discontinuing treatment or seeking a different therapy Istar, In certain cases, it damaged partners because of therapist counter-transference, who believed it was right to punish the violent person in the couple in order to protect the victim instead of sticking to therapy Merrill and Wolfe, Moreover, an accurate assessment of the violence and the associated risks should be required in considering couple violence as a treatment option; this would enable the provision of the most suitable assistance for the couple in terms of defining or redefining problems, which can be treated through individual treatment plans Borne et al.
Couples therapy can provide a safe space where relationships can be discussed and negotiated Gilbert et al. On the other hand, couples therapy can be self-defeating if one or both of the partners presents issues that would best be previously acknowledged through individual counseling Borne et al. The effectiveness of couple therapy increased when combined with either individual or group therapy Ristock and Timbang, ; Gilbert et al.
Coleman highlighted that the optimal treatment for perpetrators is group therapy combined with long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy or psychoanalysis. Group therapy made it possible to experience support and confrontation in a safe space, thereby avoiding isolation—a common consequence of victimization. The peer group assisted individuals with reliability by challenging unhealthy conduct and encouraging healthy behaviors. On the other hand, perpetrators too had the opportunity to learn new cognitive and behavioral strategies for managing their abusive impulses and express their emotions in a functional and structured manner Buttell and Cannon, Occasionally, in case patients refuse to participate in group therapy, group therapy activities can be adapted to individual cases.
Coleman listed some specific techniques: Studies showed that individual mental health counseling can result in good outcomes for SSIPV victims. Couple counseling with victim and abuser was found to be less effective because victims may fear repercussions from the information given during the session such as details of the victimization Buford et al.
In spite of these findings, research has indicated that psychology graduate students and clinicians have the inclination to suggest couples counseling instead of individual counseling for LGB IPV victims more often than for different-gender victims Wise and Bowman, ; Poorman et al.
These approaches allowed victims to gradually feel more trustful toward therapists and thus become aware of their status, the suffered abuse, and the associated consequences to it Dietz, Moreover, it encourages therapists to enable victims to direct the session, thereby learning, in this manner, how to effectively direct their lives.
Domestic Violence and Abuse
This fact granted victims to gain and adopt useful resources to bring an end to the abusive condition and obtain independence from the partner. Interventions Addressed to the Abusers In the United States, it is not unusual for abusers to participate in psycho-educative programs finalized to reduce the risk of committing violence on partners in the future.
Both approaches do not consider the peculiarities of LGB couples and the role played by factors such as homophobia Buttell and Cannon, Moreover, the Duluth model, based on the patriarchal ideology, was originally designed just for heterosexual couples; however, it was subsequently applied to LGB perpetrators although in the United States the groups, during the treatment, were often separated according to sexual orientation, even if the programs were mostly the same for both groups Price and Rosenbaum, ; Buttell and Cannon, This feminist psycho-educational approach is focused on re-education toward the development of more adaptive attitudes, improving communication proficiency, and ultimately eliminating violent behaviors Buttell and Cannon, Impact of violence and abuse Experiencing violence and abuse, even over a short time, can lead to long-standing changes in a person, including: Feelings of helplessness, depression, worthlessness, powerlessness and isolation Feelings of shame, guilt and despair Chronic health problems including psychological problemsphysical injury and shortened lifespan Difficulty in functioning in other parts of your life — in particular at work, but also among your friends and social group.
Will I be believed? There is now far greater understanding of the frequency of men as victims of violence and abuse in their intimate relationships.
Signs of an Abusive Relationship - The Center - San Diego LGBT Community
It is important to remember: Men, like everyone, are entitled to the full protection of the law If you are at risk of injury, it is better to report it to the police than do nothing or act out physically You are entitled to be treated with respect.
If you are not satisfied appropriate action is being taken to protect you, report it again until your situation is understood and your safety is being addressed. What can I do when in a violent or abusive relationship?
Report it Let someone else know what is going on.
Gay men and abuse: What we need to know about violence in gay relationships
Talk with a person in a position of authority police, lawyer, doctor who will know your rights and responsibilities or who can put you in contact with a professional for expert advice. When contacting police, in some circumstances they will be required to take action if your safety is at risk. Get support It is important that you find someone you can confide in about your situation. Talking about what is happening is very important and can undo some of the feelings of isolation and helplessness that are common in men who are the victims of violent and abusive relationships.
This person can have specialist skills such as counselling, but that is not essential; it needs to be someone who will listen to you carefully and be available as you move through the process of working out how to manage the situation. Develop a safety plan Develop a safety plan if you believe your safety, or the safety of others, could be at risk.
The safety plan is a predetermined course of action to use when you decide there is an imminent risk of violence or psychological harm children can be harmed psychologically when witnessing repeated abuse. The safety plan is designed to create distance and remove the likelihood of an incident happening. Your safety plan may include things such as: Under what circumstances will you leave the family home? Where will you go that is safe?
What is your long term plan? Will you take the children with you? Do you have the right to take the children with you? Who needs to know that you have activated your safety plan? Keep a journal of incidents This could be useful if you need legal protection or police intervention. Will your partner change? Your partner may feel remorse after an abusive incident, but the abuse is unlikely to stop unless they seek help or you remove yourself from the situation.