Intimate Partner Violence and the Bisexual Community

Bi-Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, has been commemorated each September 23rd since 1999. Created by Bisexual Rights activists Wendy Curry of Maine, Micheal Page of Florida, and Gigi Raven Wilbur of Texas, it is a day that people, individually and collectively, honor the spirit of folks who identify as bisexual. Throughout the world, the day is marked with events including parties, flag-flying, balloon launches, parades, and community activities.  Bi-Visibility Day is a time to empower bisexual individuals and to draw attention to the needs of the bisexual community.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a silent epidemic that occurs in alarming rates within the bisexual community. Coming out to a partner can be an isolating experience. Bisexual people are often treated as though they are willing to participate in any sexual activity and receive any sexual attention. Partners may think that they can never satisfy the person they are with and that their bisexual partner will eventually cheat on them. This can often lead to controlling behaviors such as checking through messages and preventing their partner from spending time alone with a person of any gender.

The 2010 CDC National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey was re-released in 2013 with it’s first-ever study focusing on victimization by sexual orientation. Lifetime prevalence of sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner was 43.8 percent for lesbians, 61.1 percent for bisexual women, and 35 percent for heterosexual women. For gay men, the same was 26 percent, 37.3 percent for bisexual men, and 29 percent for heterosexual men. This study did not include gender identity or expression. In addition, survivors who are bisexual women  have the lowest rates of social support when disclosing trauma, the highest rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after being sexually assaulted, and the most negative experiences when seeking help from formal support resources such as rape crisis centers, therapists, law enforcement, and medical professionals.

180 Turning Lives Around (180) is committed to ensuring that all LGBTQI+ survivors of IPV have access to immediate and long-term support in a safe, confidential, and empowering environment. Our LGBTQI+ Outreach and Advocacy Coordinator educates staff and volunteers, and also law enforcement, professionals, and organizations on relevant issues within the LBGTQI+ community. 180 engages in on-going dialogue with LGBTQI+ leaders on both state and local levels.

180 provides free supportive services including confidential 24/7 hotlines, trained advocates who assist victims by providing emotional support, resources, and accompaniment during hospital forensic examinations and police procedures, court liaisons who help victims through the court restraining order process, counseling and support groups, a safe house that provides emergency shelter for individuals and their children, and transitional housing. We have a satellite counseling office conveniently located in Neptune, NJ.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of Intimate Partner Violence, please call our 24/7 confidential hotline at 732-264-4111 or 1-888-863-9262.

For stories, about Intimate Partner Violence among Bisexual Women, check out Bi Women Quarterly’s Summer 2017 Issue: http://biwomenboston.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Summer_2017.pdf