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Community responses to partner abuse

Community responses to partner abuse

supportpurpleMany LGBTQ survivors of partner abuse (also known as domestic violence, dating violence, or intimate partner violence) want to find safety and justice but do not want to expose themselves or their partner (or ex-partner) to the criminal justice system.  There are many reasons why LGBTQ survivors might fear the legal system.  They may fear the police will mistakenly arrest them.  They may want safety but do not want to see their partner go to jail.  They may fear that they or their partner will be deported if the police or the courts get involved.  Regardless of the many valid reasons why, many LGBTQ survivors are looking for alternatives to the criminal justice system.  The following is a list of fantastic resources for survivors, their friends, family, and communities.  There are both testimonies and toolkits of community-based strategies to addressing domestic violence.

The Revolution Starts At Home

The Revolution Starts at Home which is available in a free online zine format and also in a published book by the same name explores some of these alternatives.  The zine/book focuses on partner abuse in activist communities and within the publication, many survivors share their stories.  In addition to these survivor stories, there are stories of alternatives to the criminal justice system, including accountability processes. There are both retellings of how these processes went as well as instructions on how to use a an accountability process in your own community.

Creative Interventions

Additional tools are available on the Creative Interventions website.  Creative Interventions explains it’s vision and values as “Embracing the values of social justice and liberation,Creative Interventions is a space to re/envision solutions to domestic or intimate partner, sexual, family and other forms of interpersonal violence. Creative Interventions assumes that the relationships, families and communities in which violence occurs are also the very locations for long-term change and transformation.  It assumes that those most impacted by violence are the most motivated to challenge violence. It assumes that friends, family, and community know most intimately the conditions that lead to violence as well as the values and strengths which can lead to its transformation.”   Creative Interventions has prereleased a toolkit that has information to help survivors and their communities work together to stop interpersonal violence.

The Storytelling and Organizing Project (STOP)

The Storytelling and Organizing Project (STOP) also has a collection of stories about survivors using community-based strategies to deal with interpersonal violence.  Stories are available in both audio and written formats.  STOP explains their project as “a community project collecting and sharing stories about everyday people taking action to end interpersonal violence. Many people have been developing community-based interventions to interpersonal violence. By that we mean:

  • Actions taken to stop, address or prevent interpersonal violence
  • Community-based or collective action — involving family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, community members
  • Actions that do not rely on social services, police or child protective services

While many of us support the idea of community-based responses to violence, some of us have difficulty even imagining what this could look like. What we found is that people have many stories about things they did to stop violence. Some are small things, some spontaneous, and some are big or involve lots of planning and lots of people.”

generationFIVE

generationFIVE explains their mission on their website as working  “to interrupt and mend the intergenerational impact of child sexual abuse on individuals, families, and communities. It is our belief that meaningful community response is the key to effective prevention.…”  On their website they have a guide, Towards Tranformative Justice which addresses child sexual abuse and other forms of intimate abuse.

INCITE! 

INCITE! defines itself as “Women, Gender Non-Conforming, and Trans people of Color* Against Violence is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and our communities through direct action, critical dialogue and grassroots organizing. INCITE! is made up of grassroots chapters and affiliates across the U.S. working on particular political projects such as police violence, reproductive justice, and media justice; a national collective that works to leverage this grassroots organizing on a national and transnational platform; an advisory collective that helps increase the capacity of national organizing; and thousands of members and supporters.”

The INCITE! website  offers the INCTIE! toolkit and variety of resources ocommunity accountability and a variety of other issues.

Does your partner blame it on your bisexuality?   It could be partner abuse.

Does your partner blame it on your bisexuality? It could be partner abuse.

bisexual flag

Partner abuse can happen to any one, including bisexuals.  Below is information from our brochure for bisexual people  who may be experiencing partner abuse (which is also known as dating abuse, intimate partner violence or   domestic violence).   Please share this with any friends who you think may need this information and if any of these things sound familiar to you, please know that you can call our hotline to talk about it.

 


Does your partner:

  • get jealous of both men and women in your life?
  • make fun of you for being bisexual?
  • try to control how you dress or act? 
  • force you to choose between being straight or being gay? 
  • accuse you of cheating or flirting with others? 
  • use money or gifts to make you feel like you owe them something? 
  • prevent you from being out as bisexual? 
  • not respect your safeword? 
  • pressure you to have sex in ways that you don’t want to? 
  • keep you from going to LGBTQ events?

“My girlfriend always felt threatened by my bisexuality and would constantly suspect me of cheating. She would start a fight with me anytime I wanted to hang out with my friends.  When I did try and hang out without her, she would show up unannounced and try to join us.  She wouldn’t let me be alone with anyone but her.” - Anonymous Survivor


Partner Abuse is a systematic pattern of behaviors where one person tries to control the thoughts, beliefs, and/or actions of their partner or someone they are dating or had an intimate relationship with.

Abuse is not about size, strength, or who is more masculine.  Anyone of any gender can be abusive.

Abuse is not just about physical violence.  It’s about controlling the other person.  Abusers can use emotional, economic, sexual, cultural and identity, and physical tactics to control their partners.

Abuse crosses all social, ethnic, racial, and economic lines.  You can’t tell if someone is abused or abusive by race, size, strength, economic level, gender expression, religion, politics, or personality.

Abuse is never mutual. Although both partners may use violence, abusers do so to control their partners; a survivor may use violence in self-defense or to try to stop the abuse.

Abuse can happen regardless of the length of relationship or living situation.  It doesn’t matter if you live together or just started dating.

Abuse does not lessen; it tends to get worse over time. Couples counseling, anger management, alcoholics anonymous and communication workshops do not help abusers stop abusing and can be dangerous for the survivor.


Examples of Tactics of Abuse

Emotional Abuse:

– Telling you that you are crazy

– Blaming everything on you

– Not letting you be alone with friends or family

– Controlling what you do

 Sexual  Abuse:

– Forcing you to have sex when you don’t want to

– Forcing you to recount past sexual experiences

– Posting or sharing nude photos or videos without your permission

– Spreading sexual rumors about you

Cultural/ Identity Abuse:

– Using racism, classism, anti-Semitism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, or transphobia against you

– Threatening to out you

– Shaming you for being bisexual

– Isolating you from your community

Economic Abuse:

– Getting you fired from your job

– Controlling the money

– Running up bills  in your name

 Physical Abuse:

– Hitting, punching, or shoving

– Threating to harm or kill you

– Taking away your wheelchair, crutches, or hearing aids


 Abusers may say:          

 

  • “I know I can’t trust you alone with your friends because you’ll sleep with anyone.”
  • “You aren’t really part of the LGBTQ community.”
  • “If you leave me, I’ll tell your boss that you are bi.”
  • “I know that all you bisexuals are just sluts.”
  • “You are just confused about your sexuality.”
  • “If you want to be with me, you have to be a lesbian.”
  • “Don’t tell anyone that you’ve been with men before, that’s disgusting.”
  • “I know you are going to leave me for a woman,” or “I know you are going to leave me for a man.”

Cycle of Abuse:

 

cycle of abuseHearts and Flowers- This is how the relationship starts.  The abuser can be charming, charismatic, sincere, and sexy.

Tension Building- The abuser starts to use subtle controlling behaviors like guilt or blame. You might feel like you are walking on eggshells.  Survivors often become aware of their own behavior and try to do things to avoid conflict or “not get in trouble.”

Explosive Incident- Your partner uses a tactic or multiple tactics of abuse to control you. At this point you may be ready to leave or start questioning the relationship. 

Hearts and Flowers- Your partner tries to prevent you from leaving by becoming the same person you fell in love with.  They may do nice things for you, buy you flowers, take you out, etc. or just apologize for the abuse.  Your partner may claim, “This will never happen again” or “I will get help” or blames the abuse on drugs, alcohol, or stress.  Although the abuser seems to be acting nice, they are still trying to control their partner.  You may feel relief that the explosive incident is over and that everything seems to be okay again but then the tension builds again…

The cycle is often repeated over and over again, more rapidly over time.  If this sounds familiar to you, you can get support.  The Network/La Red is an organization that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or transgender survivors of partner abuse.  Many of us are LGBQ/T and survivors ourselves.  We can help you talk through your concerns and connect you to services that may be helpful to you such as support groups, restraining orders, or confidential shelter.

You don’t have to leave or even want to leave to get support.  You can call just to talk at 617-742-4911.

 

 

 

 

Position available at The Network/La Red

Position available at The Network/La Red

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Position available at The Network/La Red

The Network/La Red is a bilingual, grassroots, survivor-led organization working to end domestic violence in LGBQ/T, SM, and polyamorous communities.  We do so through community organizing and education, movement-building, and providing direct services, and we’re looking for someone to join our dedicated staff.

Education and Outreach Associate

Hours:  Full time; varied schedule with some evenings and weekends required

Overall Responsibilities:  Provide outreach and education about partner abuse in LGBQ/T, SM and/or polyamorous communities and education about LGBQ/T, SM and/or polyamorous communities to mainstream service providers

Supervised By:  Director of Organizing and Education

Primary Responsibilities:

 Outreach:

  • Register for Pride events, community events, conferences, and other outreach events
  • Send out weekly email of outreach opportunities to volunteer coordinator
  • Supervise and coordinate outreach volunteers for events
  • Keep track of outreach materials, fill outreach bags, and make copies and/or order materials as needed.
  • Attend key outreach events if no volunteer can cover (1-3 average/month)
  • Mail outreach materials to providers

Education:

  • Provide partner abuse education trainings to community groups, youth groups, and providers
  • Provide LGBQ/T 101 trainings to community groups and providers

 Media:

  • Help update TNLR social media and website
  • Respond to media related to partner abuse

Team:

  • Cover direct services shifts/hotline and one bimonthly back up week
  • Attend monthly volunteer meeting and bimonthly Organizing/Education/Outreach Volunteer Meeting
  • Participate in internal meetings, committees, projects, etc. as appropriate.
  • Maintain records, statistics, provide reports as necessary.
  • Other duties as assigned/needed.

 

Qualifications:

We hire for life experience.  People of color, trans people, survivors of partner abuse especially encouraged to apply.  The ideal candidate will:

  • Be bilingual (English/Spanish).
  • Have a minimum of 2 years experience in at least two of the following areas: administrative work; LGBQ/T domestic violence work; training/public speaking; using social media as an organizing tool; direct services/crisis intervention.
  • Have a passion for social justice/social change.
  • Have excellent listening and communication skills.
  • Be able to think strategically while also paying attention to detail.
  • Be able to juggle multiple responsibilities, including the tension between daily tasks, current projects, and crisis intervention.
  • Be energetic and able to work independently and as part of a team.

Compensation

Salary in low $30s, full health insurance (HPHC) and dental insurance, IRA, generous time off

Application details

We will begin the hiring process as soon as possible.  Applications will be accepted until September 30, 2014. Send resume and letter:

  • By email: organizer@tnlr.org
  • By fax:  617.423.5651
  • By post:  P.O. Box 6011,  Boston MA  02114

 

TNLR staff honored at 20th Anniversary of VAWA

TNLR staff honored at 20th Anniversary of VAWA

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  The act was written by Joe Biden and signed into law on September 13, 1994.  The act changed the response to domestic and sexual violence in the United States and provided funding for valuable domestic and sexual violence programs like The Network/La Red.

Celebrations to mark the momentous anniversary of VAWA were held in Washington, DC this week and two TNLR staff members, Cassie Luna and Beth Leventhal were honored with invitations.  Beth Leventhal, our Executive Director was invited to a celebration with Vice President, Joe Biden.  Cassie Luna, our Technical Assistance Coordinator, received one of 5 National Unsung Hero’s award at the Pillars of Empowerment conference for her work with LGBTQ communities.  We at TNLR are both proud and honored to have our organization and staff members recognized at these events as we celebrate 20 years of the Violence Against Women Act.

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cassieaward pillars of empowerment

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow Times features #iwantaworld campaign

Rainbow Times features #iwantaworld campaign

The #iwantaworld campaign was featured in the Rainbow Times article titled Social Media Effort Envisions World Free of Intimate Partner Violence .

The article explains the goals of the campaign to raise awareness about LGBTQ partner abuse, also known as domestic violence or intimate partner violence.  The article quotes representatives from Jane Doe and The Network/La Red but also talks to people who have participated in the campaign such as Carl  Sciortino and Councilor Pressley.

Sciortino explains the importance of the campaign and the issue: “If our relationships are to be fully equal, it means the reality of partner violence in same-sex relationships must be equally addressed.”  

Another quote from the article shares Councilor Pressley’s thoughts: “Counselor Pressley said that #IWantAWorld impressed her for its ability to look beyond the prevailing narrative that sexual assault and domestic violence “only happens to straight people,” and “in most people’s minds that would be a woman being victimized by a man.”

Read the full article here.

Want to get involved but don’t have the time?

Want to get involved but don’t have the time?

We know your time is precious; so is your money!

For a limited time, donate $20.00 or more to TNLR and we will send you a supporter T-Shirt. FANCY!

It’s easy

1. Go to our donation page here.
2. Fill in your information (or log-in if you already donate to us).
3. In the comments section, enter “SUPPORTER T-SHIRT” and include your size.
Available sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
4. Get your T-shirt in the mail!

Tshirt

Beth Leventhal interviewed for JewishBoston.com

Beth Leventhal interviewed for JewishBoston.com

Our  Executive Director at The Network/La Red, Beth Leventhal, was recently interviewed for a piece in JewishBoston.com titled The Debrief: Midrash with Beth Leventhal.  The interview was done with Mimi Arbeit who opens the article with this: 

“I had tea with Beth Leventhal, a 54-year-old Jewish lesbian who is the director of The Network/La Red. As we stood up to leave, she commented that she had told me a lot more stories than she has in other interviews because she associates telling stories with Jewish learning and culture—the midrash, or oral tradition. Here are some of her stories.”

Read more of the article The Debrief: Midrash with Beth Leventhal here.