It’s the stuff of Hollywood legends. Someone dies, and their will becomes a hotly-contested document…
Thursday 28 May 2020 is the inaugural LGBTIQA+ Domestic Violence Awareness Day to be recognised across Australia.
The Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) and Meridian (formerly AIDS Action Council) have joined forces to draw awareness to the occurrence of domestic and family violence within the LGBTIQA+ community.
“Domestic violence happens to LGBTIQA+ people in their relationships too,” says DVCS Chief Executive, Sonia Di Mezza. “It’s not just physical violence, but also psychological violence of which some can be very complex.”
“It’s important people know it doesn’t have to happen within the home, or between people who are living together. It can occur between people who are in an intimate relationship, but might not be living together.”
Meridian Chief Executive Officer, Philippa Moss shared the same concerns, adding that transparency was the way forward.
“As a community, we need to have a frank and open discussion about the domestic and family violence experiences of LGBTIQA+ people in our relationships. Domestic and family violence deeply harms our communities and it is having a significant toll on our health and wellbeing. While there are many similarities in the patterns of violence, there are also many differences that need to be acknowledged and addressed.”
Many people are aware of the violence experienced by people in violent and controlling relationships, but are you are aware of the additional violence people of diverse sexualities or gender identities can experience?
‘Outing’ or threats of ‘outing’ of sexual orientation or gender identity to their employers, families or publically is a common tool of power and control used.
People with variations in sex characteristics, also known as intersex, experience domestic violence in their relationships whether they be heterosexual or same-sex. This can involve being outed by a violent partner or pressure to behave in a more male-like or female-like manner.
“In 2018, the AIDS Action Council and the Women’s Centre for Health Matters completed a survey on same-sex attracted women and their experiences of violence, including domestic and family violence,” explains Philippa.
“59% of respondents had experienced sexual, domestic or family violence. 34% of violence was at the hands of a current or former partner. 35% of respondents experienced violence at the hands of another family member.”
Today, DVCS and Meridian want your help to let our community know #ImHereForYou and that there is help available.
“DVCS supports all people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation,” adds Sonia.
“Last year, we supported over 50 clients who identified as being in a same-sex relationship and eight people who identified as trans, non-binary, gender diverse or intersex. We are available 24/7 and want to help all people in the ACT impacted by domestic and family violence.”