Within the LGBTQ Community, domestic violence and abuse are referred to as Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A). This demoralizing, destructive, and potentially life-threatening cycle of behavior describes the physical, sexual, emotional and/or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. IPV/A is a serious public health problem that affects millions of Americans each year.
According to The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), IPV/A is “a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship.”
Psychologists and authors Jeanne Segal and Melinda Smith weigh in. “Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t ‘play fair.’ Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her ‘thumb.’ Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.”
Each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) Gay/SGL men are battered. Stigma is a powerful social force that keeps this horrendous and abusive behavior swept under the rug and in the closet. Stigma is that albatross around your neck, choking the hell out of you.
The Network/La Red is a survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in the LGBTQ Community. In Mr. Evans’s Huffington Post interview, the organization explained, “Abuse is not about violence, it’s about control. You can be just as controlling of someone if you are small—as if you’re large. It’s about using violence or any other means of gaining and maintaining control.”
The good news is that Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, or IPV/A, is preventable. Psychologists Segal and Smith stress, “The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.”