Article Title:LGBT Domestic Violence: Advice from OUTLine NZ
Author or Credit:Lesley Belcham
Published on:21st April 2009 - 02:24 pm
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Story ID:7349
Text:Recent discussions on - and mainstream NZ gripped by the Tony Veitch case - leads OUTLine NZ Manager Lesley Belcham to ponder the issue of domestic violence. "Break the silence" Domestic Violence is a pattern of behaviour where one partner coerces, dominates and isolates the other to maintain power and control over the other. So basically it is a pattern of abusive behaviour. It can be physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, sexual or economic abuse. Domestic Violence is found in all cultures, sexualities, classes and other identity categories. On average it can be found in 1:4 relationships. (from LGBT Domestic Violence in the United States in 2006- a Report of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs). A lot of what our community has been talking about is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Let's not forget about the term that is most commonly used in New Zealand - Family Violence. I am sure you have all cringed when you have seen the airplane ad for the 'It's not ok!' campaign on TV with the drunk uncle. Our queer youth are also affected by violence. There is also violence within the family unit, i.e. sibling to sibling or parent to child. Some of us find things easier to understand in a picture format. Let's take a look at the power and control wheel: The Power and Control Wheel for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Relationships So… what did you notice? Did any of this hit a chord with you? Are you concerned about a friend? Let's continue... This kind of stuff can be hard to talk about. We often ignore it and trudge along in silence. But please, DON'T! Violence in same-sex relationships is just as serious as heterosexual ones. Domestic Violence is not a heterosexual problem. Abuse can happen to anyone. No one gets an immunity card. This is not an island, this is your life. If you are in immediate danger, please pick up the phone and call 111. There are GLBTT police diversity liaison officers that are specially trained to help you. There are organisations that you can go to for support. At Preventing Violence in the Home, Jo Butler is an amazing support person. Call 0508 DV HELP. Or OUTLine NZ on 0800 OUTLINE to learn more about specific groups, courses, lawyers or generally just chat. If you are worried that your friend might be in an abusive relationship, talk to your mate. Let them know that you are there. You can listen, offer a place to stay, connect them to support services, or go to the police to report the abuse. The average person will leave their abusive partner seven times before leaving for good. So, be patient and don't judge them! Keep offering a place to stay and a shoulder to lean on. Violence almost always escalates. Your friend will need you. So what are our support services doing? Our Diversity Liaison Officers are getting special training. Ian Cranstoun is working on a report about violence between gay men that is due in June. Jo Butler and Inner City Women's Group are going to run lesbian programs. A coalition of GLBTT organisations and Preventing Violence in the Home has put in a funding request to create materials and raise awareness about violence in relationships. How can we respond as a whole community? We can talk to each other and raise awareness about domestic violence. We can remind our mates that it's not ok if our partners always put us down or stop you from seeing your friends. Being isolated and scared is a horrible feeling. Let's keep an eye out – be your mates' best advocate. Break the silence.     Lesley Belcham - 21st April 2009
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