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Domestic Violence in Lgbtqi CommunityResearch Paper

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¶ … domestic violence in LGBTQI homes do not attract much attention whether within the purviews of governments, domestic violence activists, the international organizations or even within LGBTQI communities (Duthu, 1996). It is not surprising then that most IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) go unreported. As a community, LGBRQI hide their expression or at least do not make a show of it in public or official precincts. Such a posturing arises from the discrimination and stigma within the community, too, in addition to what they face otherwise (Brenner et al., 2002) For example, some common occurrences might be bullying at school, and hate speech or crime in the open society (UNHCR, 2011). The society and even their own family inflict psychological pressure, making them wary of losing their security of marriage or relationship. Aggressive and abusive spouses may take advantage of the timid partners through physical and emotional as a consequence (Ard & Makadon, 2011).

According to a study, the rate of violence (both physical and emotional) in same sex relationship is almost equal to that in hetero-sexual marriages. This rate is about 25-33% of relationships across the nation. There are 600,000 known LGBTQI households in the U.S. spread across 99% of the counties. This is only the voluntarily offered information by the households (Simmons T, O'Connell M., 2008). The intensity and seriousness of domestic violence issue is thus amply justified and seeks due consideration at all levels.

Public Posturing

Medical fraternity

A 'survivor' of the domestic violence generally seeks medical help much before than, if at all, legal or police help. The medical profession has paid attention to the 'normal' heterosexual IPV victims quite adequately while failing in its duties to those of the LGBT group and community (Ard & Makadon, 2011). The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advice that women be screened specifically for domestic violence or abuse (Moracco KE, Cole TB., 2009) that might have led to their present condition, even if the women do not make claims to the same voluntarily. However, there is no mention about IPV or domestic violence regarding the LGBTQI individuals. Similarly, the detailed and objective documentation that health providers carry out regarding abuse and maltreatment to spouses so that the advocacy programs can support the 'survivors' for the hetero-sexual relationships and households in domestic violence cases is not given due importance in the case of LGBT survivors (Brown MJ, Groscup J., 2009). The issues of security, dignity and shelter, support and advocacy are very sensitive for the LGBT community and the health and social providers are in the best position to act as advocates in the IPV cases involving the LGBT survivors. The support can come in various forms like posters, banners, electronic media and boards that inform the community about shelter homes and accommodations where they can find assured and sensitive support if threatened of being abandoned or left without the support of their partner (Serra, 2013).

Law-enforcement Apparatus

An abuse victim, especially of LGBT community is wary of seeking legal recourse. They generally try to safeguard their sexual-orientation identities as the exposure may lead to serious consequences. States that do not have LGBTQI statutes might even incarcerate them for same-sex behavior and activity. (Balsam KF, Rothblum ED, Beauchaine TP, 2009). Thus, those that are already vulnerable and abused are further exposed to criminal proceedings. The state of imprisoned LGBT members is often worse than that at home with a violent partner.

International Discourse

An intervention is sought at the international level for sensitive and considerate handling of domestic violence victims in the LGBT relationships in much the same way as has been accorded to women who have been victims in heterosexual relationships. The states need to recognize the need to provide protection to such victims from abuse and discrimination through legislations and statutes defined and evolved at the international level. Many states across the world have resisted such measures, though they concede that in the strife between culture and human rights, human rights should and will be protected and given more prominence. (Serra, 2013). Such positing has evolved through sustained activism and meaningful discussions at the international level in the UN, in the last twenty years (OHCHR Report, 2011). The main hypothesis causing a shift in attitude is caused by the discourse that states failing to provide justice and protection to the victims of domestic violence in LGBT relationships are abetting discrimination against the community and hence can be construed as a state- sponsored phenomenon. (Serra, 2013). Towards furthering the cause of providing protection to such victims, ease of access to legal support and sensitization of the legal and law-enforcement fraternity is imperative. Such measures would realize the aims of providing the much needed protection and support to the victims of domestic violence in LGBTQI households and relationships. At the same time they would ensure the recognition of LGBTQI members as a part of the human community and provide them with the fundamental human being rights. (J. Kelly Strader & Giovanna Shay, 2012).

Drawing From Protection to Women

The CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women) established under Article 17 of the UN can be the base on which to formulate the policies regarding the LGBTQI community and by extension the IPV victims in domestic violence cases. (CEDAW). For the first time in 2011, the UN recognized the seriousness and gravity of the issue of protection and rights to the LGBT community members. The member states were asked to pay attention to the problems faced by the community (OHCHR Report). The main issue regarding the problem of domestic violence whether towards women in 'hetero-sexual' marriage or the aggrieved in LGBT relationships is that of invisibility of the phenomenon. Similarly, the member states need to support the activities carried out to act against transphobia and homophobia. The secretary -- general notes that laws help to arrest the growth of injustice and wrong acts by acting as deterrents as they empower the state to prosecute and punish the wrongdoers, thus providing relief to the victims and disallowing further perpetration of violence against women. The LGBT community, a similarly disadvantaged group, needs similar support from the state machinery to allow freedom of expression that would eventually lead to securing their fundamental right as human beings.

Interventions

The main suggestion made by the UN regarding the issue of domestic violence in LGBT homes is an extension of that towards women. In its statement the convention states that the police and legal prosecutors show discrimination towards LGBT community in making arrests and initiating legal action against them under different sexual offences. Such discrimination is itself an act of injustice. LGBTQI members are the most easily identifiable targets for such offences. As such, the UN calls member states to Promote Domestic Violence legislation that would include the LGBTQI in its interpretation.

The second important consensus and directive states that implication and implementation of the law will have the desired outcome only through gender-sensitivity training imparted mandatorily to the law-enforcement apparatus of the state. These requirements expected of member states are based on the § 7(c) of the Yogyakarta Principles adopted by the UN. (www.yogyakartaprinciples.org / principles_en.pdf)

Conclusion

The suggestions sought out in this work requires the support of more scholarly work in the area of LGBTQI community and the instances domestic violence within their relationships. Quantitative work about the arrests made without proper justification for sexual misconduct, for prostitution, and the color discrimination for targeted criminalization along with other issues like their selection as jury members needs fieldwork and attention of the researchers. (Ending Violence Against Women: From Words to Action )

Qualitative analysis of the problem would help to find answers to questions about the reasons behind the discrimination practiced by the police, the reason behind targeting the LGBTQI more than other sexual offenders, the methodologies that would ensure safety of the LGBTQI prisoners and the like in order to provide meaningful and sustained relief and justice to the community. Such future research endeavors would help the victims face the situations with better confidence and express themselves freely, which is the first meaningful step towards freedom and well-being in the true sense. (Serra, 2013)

References

Ard, K.L., & Makadon, H.J. (2011). Addressing Intimate Partner Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Patients. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 26(8), 930 -- 933. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-011-1697-6

Balsam KF, Rothblum ED, Beauchaine TP. Victimization over the life span: a comparison of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual siblings. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2005;73:477 -- 87.

Brener Nancy D., PhD; Shaun F. Donahue, MEd; Tim Hack, MAEd; Kelly Hale, MA; Carol Goodenow, PhD Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(4):349-355. doi:10.1001/archpedi.156.4.349.

CEDAW Ending Violence Against Women: From Words to Action,. UN,

Duthu, Kathleen Finley (1996). Why Doesn't Anyone Talk about Gay and Lesbian Domestic Violence? Thomas Jefferson Law Review, 18, 23-.

Eliason MJ, Schope R. Does "don't ask don't tell" apply to health care? Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people's disclosure to health care providers. J Gay Lesbian Med Assoc. 2001;5:125 --… [END OF PREVIEW]

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