The Prevalence of Sexual and Domestic Violence within the LGBT+ Community.

During October’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month especially, 180 Turning Lives Around calls upon our community to become informed about the prevalence of sexual and domestic violence within the LGBT+ community. In fact, this Thursday, October 11 marks the 30th Anniversary of National Coming Out Day. As a result of the 500,000 person March on Washington DC for Lesbian and Gay Rights 30 years ago, Coming Out Day was created by two activists, Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary. They realized that coming out is a basic tool for progress. The day encourages all LGBT+ people and their allies to stand proud of who they are and to fight for a more equal tomorrow.
We at 180, cultivate a safe, confidential, and empowering environment for the unique needs of LGBTQ+ victims of sexual and domestic violence. Through providing free supportive services including confidential 24/7 hotlines, trained advocates who assist victims by providing emotional support and resources, as well as a safe house, and a Family Justice Center, LGBT+ victims will be given the guidance and care they need. Often times LGBTQ+ people are afraid to come out for a variety of reasons. They may fear what employers, friends, family or their places of worship might think of who they are. People who are in abusive relationships find themselves further isolated. Abusers will use this fear to take power and control over their partners. Victims often feel at a loss as to where to go for help.
Abusive partners in LGBT+ relationships exhibit the same behaviors as abusive partners in heterosexual relationships – to gain and maintain power and control through physical, sexual, verbal abuse and/or financial control and isolation. However, in LGBT+ relationships, partners who abuse may exploit societal factors that compound the complex issues a survivor faces in making safety decisions or how to leave an abusive relationship. There are many barriers to reporting domestic violence and sexual violence that can include: a victim feeling like they are already under attack for their sexual orientation/sexual identity, threats of being outed, fear that their HIV status may be exposed, the belief that the abuse was their fault, fear of not being taken seriously or believed because of their sexuality, child custody/visitation issues and concern that providers are not informed of issues that are unique to the LGBT+ community. 180 advocates against this and all forms of oppression and we continuously look to build safety for all survivors.
180 Turning Lives Around is passionate about providing an extensive array of services for individuals affected by sexual and domestic violence, regardless of sexual identity, gender, or sexual orientation. Through on-going professional development, staying current on LGBT+ healthcare concerns, and conducting a continuous dialogue withLGBT+ community leaders, 180 cultivates a safe, confidential, and empowering environment for all victims of sexual and domestic violence.
I encourage you to visit our website to learn more about 180 and all of our programs and services. For more information on National Coming Out Day please visit: https://www.hrc.org/resources/national-coming-out-day Additionally, if you would like to learn even more, the Human Rights Campaign has excellent resources regarding violence in the LGBT+ community.
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.

The Danger Assessment

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and 180 Turning Lives Around is grateful for this month-long recognition which helps draw awareness, support and engagement with our mission.
Each day our hotline rings with calls from victims of domestic violence who have confronted their fears of retaliation and taken that courageous step to get help for themselves and their family.  Callers like Elizabeth*, explaining through her tears, that she and her daughter had been living in their car for the last few days since fleeing her abusive husband’s death threats.  He had come home drunk and threatened to kill her, throwing her against the wall.  Wearing only their pajamas and running out in the middle of the night, she wasn’t sure where to turn.  A call to the police lead her to finding 180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.  It wasn’t the first time he’d terrorized her but she vowed it would be the last.  Drumming up all her courage, she told her story to 180’s hotline counselor who listened with compassion and understanding.  “You don’t have to do this alone, we’re here to help you”.
During calls like these, staff who are trained and certified in administering Johns Hopkins University’s Danger Assessment tool, discuss factors that may determine a victim’s level of danger and risk of lethality.  The days and months following a victim leaving her abuser is often the most dangerous for her so a Safety Plan is discussed to address her safety and well-being in the immediate future. Should she decide to come in for counseling, these tools are elaborated upon and plans for her next steps put in place.
For Elizabeth, and thousands like her each year, 180 is a beacon of hope that helps individuals empower themselves and find the courage and strength to turn their lives around.  Each year, more than three million victims in the United States are abused by their intimate partners with more than 1,200 killed by their abusers.  These victims of homicide or attempted homicide are often unaware prior to the attack that their lives are in danger.  The Danger Assessment tool is just one critical step we take in working with domestic violence survivors to help assure their safety.
We thank you for taking the time to read this and to understand one aspect of our work with survivors.  We appreciate your support of our mission which makes this work possible.
Sincerely,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.
*To protect confidentiality, client name has been changed.
P.S. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to help raise awareness in Monmouth County, please consider forwarding this message to individuals in your network. 

A Message from 180’s Executive Director

As you know, sexual assault has been in the news over the past many weeks, this time during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  While we are not going to weigh in on the political tenor of the hearings, we do know that survivors of sexual assault in our community have been reaching out to 180 as the hearings have triggered memories of their own sexual assault.
Every time sexual assault and rape is in the headlines, it opens up a national conversation about these crimes. From kitchen tables to offices, sometimes heated discussions occur, and more and more survivors courageously come forward with their own stories of rape and assault.
At 180, we’ve been working with sexual assault survivors for over 42 years, and here are some things we know from national crime victim data:
—- One out of six women and one out of thirty-three men report being victims of attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
—- Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
—- Law enforcement officials recognize that sexual assaults/rapes are among the most under-reported crimes, and false reports are rare.
—- Survivors often tell no one about their assault.
—- Trauma can affect survivor’s for years after the assault.
—- These crimes are often not witnessed by others.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault or know someone who is suffering with the after-effects of an assault, you should know that help is available 24/7 by calling our hotline: 1-888-264-RAPE.
Please see our website www.180nj.org for more information about our comprehensive services for sexual assault survivors, to learn about New Jersey’s Sexual Violence Protection Order, and what to do if you are assaulted, as well as how to support someone you know who shares their experience of a sexual assault with you.
We hope that shining a light on the crime of sexual assault and rape will lead to a greater understanding that we all need to do more in order to stop these crimes from occurring. 180 will continue to help survivors heal and fight for justice, and advocate for a society where these crimes no longer take place.
Thank you.
Sincerely,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.

180’s Amanda’s Easel Exhibit to be hosted by The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen, Red Bank – October 17, 2018

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and we have a very special evening planned to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence in Monmouth County.
I hope you will join us on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, NJ for 180’s Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapies Exhibit, “Rock and River: Obstacles and Flow In Survival.” All community members are invited to join us. This event is kindly hosted once again by our friends at the Soul Kitchen and requires no entry fee; RSVP at amandaf@180nj.org
The theme for this year’s project focuses on the concept of river and rocks. Depicted through the use of natural elements like water, rock, pebbles and stones, the ebb and flow of life symbolize the recurrent or rhythmical pattern, of life’s journey. Like a ripple in seemingly still water, or a quickly changing current that seems to carry us in a different direction, our ability to be resilient, strong and willing to change is part of our growth and healing. Using this two-sided metaphor, participants have used rocks and other found natural objects to create their personal vision and perspective of how change and obstacles have influenced their life journey through domestic violence. The metaphor of life’s journey being like the river that flows through obstacles and challenges yet never gives up, is significant in the fight against family violence.
We are so pleased to once again partner with our friends at the JBJ Soul Kitchen who have generously hosted us for many years, to showcase this artwork. After this initial showing, the exhibit will travel around Monmouth County at colleges, libraries, and schools to continue the conversation, outreach and awareness efforts.
For further information, or to showcase this exhibit at your location, please contact Cindi Westendorf, Program Coordinator of 180’s Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapies