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Now is the Time for Attention to LGBT Domestic Violence in Communities of Color

Now is the Time for Attention to LGBT Domestic Violence in Communities of Color

Every Monday morning Alex (not his real name) and I met for breakfast at our favorite dive in Harvard Square.

I would notice visible bruises and cuts on his face, arms, and legs, but assumed the black and blue marks were simply par for the course for a guy who enjoyed the rough-and-tumble adrenaline high that come with playing weekend scrimmage football. I don't recall a time when Alex didn’t have a knot on his head, a cut on his lip, a bite into his skin, welts on his arms or stitches. I did notice, however, over time that the teddy bear sweet guy who sat across the table from me with a smile as wide as the Charles River on Monday mornings looked beaten up rather than injured. When I began asking Alex about his bruises he shrugged off my queries and talked about something else. Some Monday mornings then he would call me at the last minute to cancel or he wouldn't show up at all.

One morning he called me to cancel telling me he was in Mount Auburn Hospital. His partner had stabbed him severely.

October is Domestic Awareness Month, and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities of color, not enough attention, education, intervention and advocacy is given to this issue.

Statistics estimate that 25-33 percent of the LGBTQ population will experience some form of partner abuse or domestic violence in their lifetime. The Inter-Personal Violence (IPV) study conducted in 2011 LGBTQ stated that LGBTQ communities of color are one of the demographic groups experiencing high incidents of domestic violence. However, to obtain accurate statistics of how high IPV is in these communities are obfuscated by social stigmas and cultural taboos, not excluding also racism and other forms of oppressions and discriminations.

What also obfuscates obtaining accurate statistics on how high IPV is in these communities of color is that same-gender interpersonal violence is clouded with myths. For example, there is the myth that because the victim and the abuser are of the same gender and are also in a consensual sexual relationship, the battering that occurs start out as a mutual act of S&M that somewhere during the course of the couple's sexual encounter the violence gets out of hand. Another myth is confusing same-gender sexual violence as homosexuality

Sadly, because