Serving LGBTQ+ students
The impact of sexual violence including stalking, domestic violence, and relationship abuse affects all people no matter their identity. However LGBTQ+ people have several special considerations when coping with relationship abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. In fact it is estimated that between 25 and 33 percent of LGBTQ+ relationships include abuse, a rate equal to that of heterosexual and cisgender relationships. There is a misconception that if violence occurs in an LGBTQ+ relationship it is always mutual fighting and that it does not reflect the same power and control issues as seen in heterosexual relationships.
SHARPP recognizes these differences and is committed to serving LGBTQ+ people by providing accessible, free, culturally competent, and confidential advocacy and direct services to all survivors and their allies.
Many incidents of intimate partner violence include some form of sexual assault. According to the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, “bisexual women experienced significantly higher lifetime prevalence of rape and other sexual violence by an intimate partner when compared to heterosexual women” and “significantly higher lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner when compared to lesbian and heterosexual women.”
Some studies indicate that between 20 and 35 percent of LGBTQ couples experience domestic violence.
According to another, 50 percent of transgender people surveyed had been hit by a primary partner after coming out as transgender. LGBTQ youth report a 30 percent incidence of dating violence, compared to 9 percent for heterosexual students.
M.L. Walters, J. Chen, and M.J. Breiding, 2013, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation, Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18–20, accessed Dec. 13, 2013
LGBTQ+ people may fear that there is nowhere to turn for help due to homophobia, biphobia, queerphobia. and transphobia from police, courts, and even service providers. However, all survivors and allies that use SHARPP services have the right to respectful treatment of confidential information. All information and records pertaining to you will be kept confidential in accordance with NH RSA 173-C.
While many aspects of LGBTQ relationship abuse are similar to those experienced by heterosexual victims, it is not in all ways identical. Perpetrators often attempt highly specific forms of abuse based on identity and community dynamics, some of which include:
- “Outing” or threatening to out a partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity to family, friends, employers, or in other situations where this disclosure may pose a threat.
- Telling the survivor that abusive behavior is a “normal” part of LGBTQ relationships, or that it cannot be relationship violence because it is occurring between LGBTQ individuals.
- Manipulating friends and family supports as well as generating sympathy and trust in order to cut off these resources to the survivor.
- Portraying the violence as mutual and even consensual, especially if the partner attempts to defend against it, or as an expression of masculinity or some other “desirable” trait.
- Interfering with hormones their partner is taking to transition, or forcing their partner to transition.
Some research estimates that up to 50% of trans individuals have experienced sexual violence. Sexual violence has been found to be even higher in some subpopulations within the trans community, including trans youth, trans people of color, individuals living with disabilities, homeless individuals, and those who are involved in sex work. For example, the 2011 Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 12% of trans youth report being sexually assaulted in K–12 settings by peers or educational staff; 13 percent of African-American trans people surveyed were sexually assaulted in the workplace; and 22% of trans individuals without permanent homes were assaulted while staying in shelters.
Because the transgender community is so interconnected, and most communities have limited resources and inclusive support services, trans individuals and their loved ones can experience challenges to access support if the perpetrator is also trans or closely connected to the trans community. In these cases, providers and community members should be prepared to help survivors find safe supporters and activities outside of that particular trans community but still in an affirming place.
Sexual Harassment & Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP) www.unh.edu/sharpp 603-862-3494
SHARPP works to eliminate sexual and intimate partner violence. SHARPP's mission is accomplished in two parts: by providing free and confidential advocacy and direct services to all survivors and their allies; and by offering culturally competent awareness and prevention programs to the University of New Hampshire community.
Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) www.unh.edu/omsa
The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs provides support, advising, advocacy, and student development for African American/Black/African/Caribbean, Hispanic/Latino/a, Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islanders, Native American/Indigenous/First Nations, Arab/Middle Eastern/Middle Eastern American, Biracial/Multiracial students, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning students. Supporting First Generation College Students as well as Ally students is at the heart of our work.
Diversity Support Coalition wildcatlink.unh.edu/organization/DSC
The Diversity Support Coalition (DSC) seeks to promote, educate, and support multiculturalism, diversity, and equality at University of New Hampshire (UNH) through programming and support of the DSC and its current member groups. The DSC strives to keep the acceptance of multiculturalism, diversity and equality at the forefront of the university culture. These ideas and concepts are supported by the student run DSC itself and its current member groups (i.e., Alliance, The Black Student Union, Hillel, Mosaico, The Native American Cultural Association, and The United Asian Coalition). The DSC is open to all students who are interested in fostering inclusion and equity at UNH.
President’s Commission on the Status of GLBT Issues www.unh.edu/glbt/
The mission of the UNH President's Commission on the Status of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues is to facilitate the development of a university community that is equitable and inclusive of people of all sexual orientations and gender expressions through advocacy, education, assessment, and activism.
Affirmative Action and Equity Office www.unh.edu/affirmativeaction
This office is responsible for oversight of the University’s compliance efforts in regard to affirmative action, Title IX, disability laws and regulations, equal employment laws, and campus initiatives aimed at creating and sustaining a diverse, welcoming and equitable campus.
To see a list of other places SHARPP refers to check out www.unh.edu/sharpp/resources
Forge provides peer support to transgender individuals and local Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies (SOFFAs).
GLBTQ Violence Project www.glbtqdvp.org/
The GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project provides free and confidential support and services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer survivors of domestic and sexual violence. We work with victims and survivors to increase safety, security, and foster empowerment through direct services, education, and advocacy.
Written in collaboration with: The President’s Commission on the Status of LGBTQ Issues and the UNH Counseling Center