By Marli Abramowitz,
By Marli Abramowitz,
Posted by JCADA | Topic: AWARE® Prevention Initiative | Category: Teens & Young Adults, Dating, Dating Abuse, Camp, Healthy Relationships | 0 Comments | Leave a Comment
By Arielle Aboulafia, AWARE® Intern
June is LGBTQ Pride Month and all over the world people are celebrating their solidarity with the LGBTQ community. Throughout the month, victims of hate-based crimes are honored and broader society reflects on how we can promote social and civil equality for all. However, missing from these conversations is how we can support members of the LGBTQ community experiencing violence within their own homes and relationships.
Despite domestic and dating violence occurring in every community and in all kinds of relationships, there is a misconception that intimate partner violence isn’t as prevalent in the LGBTQ community. Since same-sex relationships don’t have the gender inequality dynamic that exists in the stereotypical image of domestic violence that includes a male abuser and female victim, there is also a misconception that when abuse occurs in a same-sex relationship, it is not as severe or dangerous.1 These are especially important myths to dispel when examining the prevalence of dating violence among LGBTQ youth.
According to an Urban Institute Study released in 2013, LGBTQ teens surveyed reported increased rates of victimization and perpetration in all categories of teen dating violence (cyber dating abuse, physical dating violence, psychological dating violence, and sexual coercion) than among their heterosexual peers. The rate of physical dating violence victimization for LGB teens was 42.8%, compared to 29.0% among heterosexual teens. The highest rate of victimization was among transgender youth, with 88.9% reporting physical dating violence.2
In recognition of these and other barriers LGBTQ teens may face in getting help for an abusive relationship, AWARE® is always working to ensure our program content is inclusive. Our core workshop, It’s Not Love®, includes same-sex relationships in its interactive introductory activity that has participants take on the identity of characters in abusive relationships and leads into a discussion of warning signs of abuse, the cycle of abuse, and how to help themselves or a friend. During the debrief discussion that follows, facilitators are mindful to refer to “dating partners” as to address all combinations of teen relationships. We further highlight that JCADA’s clinical support services are available to all members of the Greater Washington DC community,ages 14 and up, without regard to race, national origin, ability, background,faith, gender, or sexual orientation.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or dating abuse, please contact JCADA for support on our confidential helpline: 1-877-88-JCADA (52232).
For additional support resources specifically for the LGBTQ community, see below.
1 "LGBTQ Issues in Teen Dating Violence." National Judicial Education Program, a project of Legal Momentum.
2 Janine M. Zweig, Ph.D., Meredith Dank, Ph.D.,Pamela Lachman, Jennifer Yahner. "Technology, Teen Dating Violence and Abuse, and Bullying." Urban Institute Justice Policy Center.
Why did you join the AWARE® Teen Advisory Board?
Rachel Loewy: Before joining the AWARE® Teen Advisory Board, I participated in an It’s Not Love® workshop and interned at JCADA. While interning, I often read about how common teen dating abuse is, but it’s hard to really grasp unless you hear personal stories about it. By spending a couple of hours a month with my peers discussing dating abuse, I further understood just how widespread of an issue it is and how prevalent it is in our own community.
Emma Thoms: Ever since I participated in an It’s Not Love® workshop at camp, I have carried the AWARE® card with the signs of abusive relationships with me everywhere. I feel very strongly about the importance of healthy relationships and the need for everyone to know the warning signs and the dangers of an abusive relationship. Being involved with the AWARE® Teen Advisory Board gives me the opportunity to learn more and feel confident educating others.
What are three qualities you think are essential in healthy relationships?
ET: One is that you both are able to give each other space and are not completely dependent on each other. Second is that when conflict comes up, you are both able to talk it through and compromise. Lastly, you both communicate and honor each other’s boundaries and have a mutual understanding that you will respect each other's limits.
How do you plan to raise awareness during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month?
RL: I want to raise more awareness with my peers by engaging them in a discussion about teen dating abuse. A lot of high schoolers think of abuse as just physical and as a man hitting a woman, but it can also be verbal, emotional, technological, sexual or financial. It also affects both men and women and can happen in same-sex relationships, too.
ET: I’m going to talk to my friends about what I’ve learned and use social media to spread the word!