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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- BREAK THE SILENCE
Welcome to the ACON Lesbian Health Project column.
ACON is Australia's largest community-based LGBT
health and HIV/AIDS organisation and we're very ex-
cited to now be working with LOTL to bring you news and infor-
mation about your health and wellbeing each month.
Last year the Lesbian Health Project launched Turning Point,
a ground-breaking three-year strategy for addressing the health
needs of same-sex attracted women in NSW. The plan covers ar-
eas such as STIs, alcohol and other drug use, mental health, rela-
tionships, ageing, cancer, parenting and fertility, and violence.
In this month's column we'll be exploring domestic violence in
same-sex relationships (SSDV).
Violence is a significant health issue for women in the LGBT
community. Through our Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project
(AVP) and Lesbian Health Project, ACON works to support and
advocate on behalf of women in our community who experience
homophobic violence or violence in a same-sex relationship.
Although the LGBT community doesn't yet talk about it as
much, domestic violence in same-sex relationships occurs at the
same rate as domestic violence in heterosexual relationships. Re-
cent Australian research found that one third of LGBT respondents
had experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. For women,
the figure was slightly higher at around 40%.
Domestic violence can include physical violence, sexual as-
sault, emotional, financial and social control. A barrier to getting
support is that sometimes people from our community may not
recognise domestic violence or know how to respond due to a
commonly held belief that domestic violence doesn't happen in
our relationships. Unique aspects of domestic violence in same-
sex relationships include threats from the perpetrator to 'out' their
partner to their work or family or keeping their partner from seek-
ing support by telling them that the police don't care and support
services are homophobic. As awareness about SSDV grows, so
too does the capacity of services to respond. Our Anti-Violence
Project works to educate mainstream service providers and police
At a recent SSDV conference in Sydney, the SSDV Interagency
released a comprehensive resource, Another Closet, about iden-
tifying SSDV, seeking support, and looking after a friend expe-
riencing violence. This information is also available at www.an-
If you're experiencing abuse remember that it's not your fault
and no one deserves to be victimised by violence. Any domestic
violence is unacceptable. If you suspect a friend is in a violent
relationship one of the most important things you can do is listen
and let them know you believe what they are saying.
Myths about domestic violence like 'I lost control', 'I'm
stressed', or 'You made me do it', exist to excuse the abuse or
shift the blame. No one has the right to be violent or threaten
For more information about your looking after health and
wellbeing, please visit acon.org.au
Nancy de Castro is ACON's AVP Coordinator.
By Nancy de Castro
AGMC Forum: Sunday November 29th, 1 to 4pm
The afternoon of the United We Dance party
At the VicAIDS Council
6 Claremont Street, South Yarra
"Is My Sexuality More
Important than My
Culture or Religion?"
How do we cross, bridge and border our various
identities and communities? How do we manage
the tensions and contradictions of our multiple
allegiances? How do we celebrate the insights and
joys that come from our multiple identities? Join
speakers Alyena Mohummadally (queer Muslim),
Madelaine Imber (lesbian Jewish), Maurice Wilson(
gay Maori Mormon), Joseph Chetcuti (gay Maltese
former priest) and Shanton Chang (Australian
Chinese Malaysian gay Christian) in a lively forum
and discussion of these issues.
RSVP: by 14th Nov. at agmc.org.au/home
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