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Outing violence in our communities

Tue 8 Sep 2015 In: Our Communities View at Wayback View at NDHA

A new project has been launched with the aim of creating rainbow communities without violence, and getting our communities to talk about how to stop it happening. The site is packed with information and support Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura – Outing Violence, has launched its website, with the support of an advisory group from takatāpui, queer and trans community groups. Check out the website and complete the important survey here “We often get left out of conversations about partner and sexual violence,” says project manager Sandra Dickson. “But that doesn’t mean those things don’t happen in rainbow communities. Unfortunately, from the little research we have, as well as community stories, it looks like rates of violence in rainbow relationships are on the same kinds of level as men’s violence towards women.” Sandra Dickson Dickson points to the Youth 2000 research, one of the few places where rates of violence can be compared. One in three lesbian, gay and bisexual secondary school students report having an unwanted sexual experience in the previous year – higher than rates for straight students. A key focus of the project, which is funded by the It's Not OK campaign, is gathering better information about partner and sexual violence our communities. There’s a survey on the website, and community hui will be held in October. Dickson and advisory group member Elizabeth Kerekere are currently planning a national roadtrip to talk with rainbow communities. The Hohou te Rongo Kahukura website has fact sheets for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans and intersex survivors. There’s also information about how to step in if you’re worried about a friend using or experiencing violence; how to stay safe leaving an abusive relationship, and definitions of sexual and partner violence. “We’ve got information about consent, since we often get left out of those conversations too. Ideas about masculinity can still make it hard for many people to talk about being a victim, and there’s outdated thinking that women can’t sexually abuse other women. And we also know, moving beyond consent, that sometimes we’re targeted for sexual violence just because of our gender presentation or sexuality,” Dickson says. She says talking about violence is frightening for many people identifying under the rainbow umbrella. “We are used to being told there’s something wrong with how we love anyway. But it’s important to name these kinds of violence – if we don’t, we let survivors down.” Dickson says because most information at the moment is squarely aimed at men’s violence towards women, some of the ways violence happens in rainbow relationships gets missed. “Trans people having hormones withheld by partners using violence for example, or biphobic ideas about promiscuity being used to justify jealous and controlling behaviour.” Dickson says the research part of the project is critical. “One thing the rainbow community doesn’t do very much at the moment is call the police, for a whole range of reasons. Which means violence against us isn’t getting counted. Right now, there is not one specialist service in New Zealand which can support all kinds of takatāpui, queer, trans and gender diverse people. Not one. And that’s not good enough.” The Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura – Outing Violence survey asks questions about people’s relationships, and is open to everyone over 16 identifying as akava’ine, asexual, bisexual, fa’afafine, fakaleiti, FtM, gay, gender fluid, gender-neutral, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, gender variant, hinehi, hinehua, intersex, lesbian, mahu, MtF, non-binary, palopa, pansexual, polysexual, queer, questioning, rae rae, tangata ira tane, Takatāpui, tongzhu, trans man, trans woman, transfeminine, transgender, transmasculine, transsexual, vaka sa lewa lewa or whakawahine and more. “We want as many people as possible to answer the survey. It’s anonymous and confidential and whether you’ve experienced violence or not, we want to hear from you,” Dickson says. If there has been any kind of violence, there are questions about where people went for help, and whether it worked. “We’re very keen to be able to see what kinds of services out there might be working well for rainbow communities, but also, what else we might need.” Dickson has been working with an advisory group made up of people working inside the community, many of whom also have experience in the family and sexual violence area. “It’s been a great group to work with, we’ve all been learning together as we’ve gone, sharing things we know from our communities. The group is very mixed, because we know our community has lots of voices we need to listen to, and it has lots of wisdom. I’ve loved working with all of them, and we’re really looking forward to the community hui. I need to give a special shout out too, to Sam Orchard, who has brought his usual brilliance to designing our website.” staff - 8th September 2015    

Credit: staff

First published: Tuesday, 8th September 2015 - 9:47am

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