Pride Month: 180’s Mission and the LGBT+ Community

During Pride 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.

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 theLGBT+ 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 with LGBT+ community leaders, 180 cultivates a safe, confidential, and empowering environment for all victims of sexual and domestic violence.

One organization that has recently become a strong partner with 180 Turning Lives Around is Garden State Equality. Garden State Equality is New Jersey’s statewide advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Please learn about their mission here . Headquarted here in Monmouth County, Garden State Equality is the largest LGBT+ social justice organization in New Jersey and is helping 180 strengthen our advocacy and outreach efforts. Both as a resource and as an ally in serving the LGBT+ community, our partnership is important. Through 180’s LGBT+ Outreach and Advocacy Project, together we have participated in community conversations about sexual violence in the LGBT+ community, and have co-presented to NJ state advocacy organizations to increase awareness of issues within the LGBT+ community and train professionals in the field. 180 is proud to serve as a vital resource for the LGBT+ community. I am pleased to announce that this September, 180 Turning Lives Around will recognize Garden State Equality with the “2018 Outstanding Community Partnership Award” at our Annual Staff, Volunteers & Community Partners Appreciation Event. As our partnership continues to grow with Garden State Equality and other partner organizations throughout Monmouth County, 180 hopes to increase awareness of domestic and sexual violence in the LGBT+ community as a serious public health and safety issue. In addition, we hope to continue educating the public and professionals about 180’s programs and services. I encourage you to visit our website to learn more about 180 and all of our programs and services. Additionally, if you would like to learn even more, the Human Rights Campaign has excellent resources regarding violence in the LGBT+ community.

Sincerely,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.

180 Turning Lives Around empowers survivors and families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault to find the courage and strength to turn their lives around. 180 supports this mission through 24/7 hotlines – including the 2ND FLOOR Youth Text & Helpline, counseling, legal advocacy, emergency shelter and transitional housing and art, play and music therapy for children.

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