Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1, 2013

As I wrote about last month, Poppets, October is LGBTQ History Month. While this is still very exciting to me, October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As any long-time readers of The Betty Pages will tell you, it is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Because, contrary to what many people believe, domestic violence does indeed occur in our community.
While there are many similarities between domestic violence in the LGBTQ community and the straight community, there are some distinct differences, as well. Domestic violence between a man and woman is illegal in all 50 states. For us, some states still explicitly exclude same-sex relationships from their domestic violence laws. Statistically, gay men and lesbians are more likely to fight back against their abuser than straight women are. Unfortunately, police are also more likely to see an incident of domestic violence as a mutual fight, instead of the act of abuse it is. Outing a partner is a threat that is both very real and exclusive to the LGBTQ spectrum. The use of the word “it” against a transgendered partner, or denigrating a transgendered person’s body, is as abusive as any fist – but is only rarely considered an actual threat.
If you think you may be in an abusive situation, or if you think someone you care about may be in an abusive relationship, first, know it’s real. As much as we wish it wasn’t so, domestic violence does occur in our community. Admitting it and reporting it is not a betrayal against the abuser – or the community. And yes, there are services available, even to us.
The Northwest Network is based out of Seattle. They’re open Monday-Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and can be reached during those hours at (206) 568-7777 or TTY (206) 517-9670. If you leave a message, they will call you back if it is safe for them to do so. (http://nwnetwork.org/)
The YWCA of Clark County in Vancouver, Washington offers SafeChoice LGBTQ Programs that address the specific issues of our community. They have a 24-hour crisis line: 360 695 0501 and will accept collect phone calls. They also have a toll-free number: 800 695 0167.  You can call 24-hours a day for advice, resources, or just support. (http://ywcaclarkcounty.com/help/safechoice)
Skagit Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services is officially an LGBTQ safe space and has information and resources targeted to us. They also run a 24-hour crisis line: 1 (888) 336-9591. (http://www.skagitdvsas.org/)
Whoever you call, please reach out and call someone. You are not alone. You don’t have to be afraid any more – this month, or any other.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.

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