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The Los Angeles Gay & Lebian Center is the nation's largest provider of LGBT-specific domestic violence services, including counseling, legal assistance and a court-approved batterers'-intervention program.
Offering services that are specifically tailored to LGBT people is important because, although the core of the problem is the same, there are many ways in which LGBT domestic violence is different than domestic violence among straight couples.
In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Vanguard -- the LA Gay & Lesbian Center's monthly newsletter -- asked the Center’s Susan Holt and Terra Slavin, who lead the Center’s domestic violence services, to address some of the common myths and misconceptions about LGBT domestic violence.
Myth: Domestic violence isn’t a problem for LGBT people.
Reality: Domestic violence occurs in an estimated one in three relationships, and at about the same rate in same-sex couples as opposite-sex couples.
Myth: When domestic violence occurs in same-sex couples, it’s most likely mutual.
Reality: The core of domestic violence is that one partner systematically asserts power and control over the other. It is rarely, if ever, mutual.
An abused person in a same-sex relationship is more likely to fight back against an abusive partner, but that is not the same as both partners being abusive.
However, it does mean that identifying which partner is the abuser can be difficult, especially for police officers or counselors who are not knowledgeable about the problem.
Myth: The more masculine or "butch" partner is typically the abuser.
Reality: Gender roles do not determine which partner is abusive. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence.
A Place to Turn
The LA Center’s domestic violence-related services include:
There are many complex factors that make the issue of domestic violence different for LGBT people.
For more information about the LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s domestic violence services, click HERE.
Holt is the manager of the LA Center’s STOP Domestic Violence program. Slavin is the manager of the Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project.