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The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence

Month

June 2014

The V Word: Stigma and its Impact on LGBTQ youth

Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word.

The V Word: Stigma Against LGBTQ Youth – radio spot

 

Today I have a question for you. When you were in school, how often did you hear, or did you participate in anti-gay comments, listen to or participate in protests against bullying policies that specifically included antigay harassment, listen to and not object to sermons at places or worship or from leaders of religious denominations demonize gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, participate in or sit passively during campaigns against gay marriage, or laugh at gratuitous humor at the expense of LGBTQ individuals?

Did you participate in that or ignore it? You participated in perpetuating stigma against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals all of whom are our children, our adolescents, our siblings, our mothers, our fathers.

Today I am going to talk about stigma, specifically the hazards of stigma toward gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents in the United States. People often ask me who is at a higher risk of sexual violence. Despite my urge to say “ well, everyone”, there are studies that suggest lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens are at a higher risk than their peers for violence experienced in the community, in the schools, and in their homes. What is perpetuating stigma? People are, only people can perpetuate stigma and it takes both active behavior and passive acceptance to keep stigma going.

In 2006, Elizabeth Saewayc published a study in the Child Welfare League of America. She examined the proliferance of negative messages toward sexual minority groups across North America.
Stigma hurts more than just words. Stigma and discrimination based on sexual orientation contributes to health disparities for LGBTQ persons. Another risk factor, other than coming out in an unwelcome environment is gender expression. Waldo’s study found that gender-atypical youth, youth that do not display stereotypical extremes of masculinity or femininity are at risk of violence from their families, or experience a lack of protection from their families when they are bullied and victimized. This can happen in families, school and community setting to youth even before themselves recognize or self-identify as gay or lesbian or bisexual. So what does this mean? It means that some as-yet unmeasured trait of gay or bisexual orientation that event the youth does not recognize will put them at risk of violence or a lack of protection toward violence. People do not even know what they are seeing and they will abuse and violate because they cannot identify it or it does not fit within their worldview.

So once we get past the appalling and horrifying feelings toward that… do you know why this is important to talk about and address? Because this risk for violence among stigmatized groups like LGBTQ children and teens are a potent predictor of youth risk behaviors such as substance abuse, suicide attempts, running away, and teen pregnancy. Teens who are abused and victimized often turn to drugs, truancy, and suicide to cope with the violence that is happening to them and the lack of protection they experience.

Are you ready and willing to help? You can help, understand and communicate that emotional pressure or corporal punishment, or violence will not change a child’s natural gender expression or their sexual orientation. If you have been a bystander who didn’t know what to do, you can intervene with information, help and support.

You add your voice to the community at large discussion to eliminate stigma, violence, and it’s impact against the youth of our community. There are many things you can do.

For help or information? Here are some options…
If you have been assaulted, call 911. Local rape crisis centers have advocates they can send to help support you and provide information.

For information on how to report an assault in the Richmond, Virginia, USA are, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100, that is 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace Street.

To get a forensic exam to collect evidence and receive medical care, the local hospitals in the Richmond area with Forensic Nurse Examiners are at Medical College of Virginia and St. Mary’s Hospital.

Are you a youth who identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender? There are organizations that can help you. In the Richmond area, you can contact ROSMY – the Richmond Office for Sexual Minority Youth at- 644-4800 – centers like theirs offer support groups. Sensitivity training for professionals, and youth leadership initiatives.

For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at thevword.radio@gmail.com or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at http://www.thevword.org

The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.

Music composed by Richard Schellenberg and John Chambers of The Etching Tin

 

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The V Word: Partner Violence in Lesbian Relationships

Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word.

https://soundcloud.com/carol-ann-olson/the-v-word-dv-in-lesbian-relationships-aired-june-16-2014

A twitter follower asked that I talk about domestic violence between gay couples. She is a survivor and feels there is no enough information about interpersonal violence between same-sex couples.

She writes “I came out when I was a young adult, in my early twenties. My first relationship felt secure at first. A safe and understanding person to help me adjust to being open, to navigate all the issues I had to deal with between friends and family and within myself. I didn’t see the inequality in the relationship at first. I didn’t see that the structure in our relationship was actually controlling of me. When it went from emotional to verbal and finally to violence, I finally realized I was in an abusive relationship. It took longer to leave because I was financially dependent by then. I did find a way to end the relationship. Then the next struggle began. I live in an area without many resources and almost none that focus on domestic violence in lesbian relationships. It took awhile for me to find a counselor to help me. What is out there for us?”

Some facts:
Domestic or partner violence in lesbian and gay relationships is considered a silent epidemic. Between 17 – 45 % of lesbian report having experienced domestic violence. Framing domestic violence as something that only happens between heterosexual couples does a disservice to abuse in lesbian and gay couples.

Partner violence in any coupling has similarities: The abuser wants to gain and maintain control and to avoid feelings of loss and abandonment. However, there are some differences. A unique element for lesbians is the presence of a homophobic environment. Susa Rose of the National Violence Against Women Research Center, reports that this enables the abusive partner to exert “heterosexist control” over the victim by threatening to “out” the victim to friends, family, or employer or threatening to make reports to authorities that would jeopardize child custody, immigration, or legal status. The homophobic environment also makes it difficult for the victim to seek help from the police, victim service agencies, and battered women’s shelters.

How can you help?

To support a lesbian who is the target of partner violence:

Let her know that she can call you for help. Help her develop a safety plan concerning how she will get out if she needs to leave quickly, including having a bag prepared and easily accessible with essential documents (including identification, money, and anything else that might be needed), and arranging a place to stay in an emergency. Give her the keys to your house. Do not give up and do not criticize her or turn her away because she does not leave right away.

If you are in a city that has an Anti-Violence Project connected to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (http://www.avp.org), tell her about the services of your local AVP. Many AVPs provide counseling, advocacy with the police and criminal justice system and support groups.

Help her find a therapist that specializes in lesbian partner abuse.

For help or information? Here are some options…

If you have been raped, call 911 and go to the nearest emergency room.

For information on how to report in the Richmond, Virginia, USA are, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100, that is 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace Street.

To get a forensic exam to collect evidence and receive medical care, the local hospitals in the Richmond area with Forensic Nurse Examiners are at Medical College of Virginia and St. Mary’s Hospital.

For those in Virginia who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer or questioning, you can access a free and confidential telephone service called The LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline at 1.866.356.6998 Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm for help regarding intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. The Virginia Anti-Violence Project at virginiaavp.org stands ready to work with anyone who wants to address anti-LGBTQ violence in Virginia and to help build safe communities. The number again is: 1.866.356.6998.

For listeners from outside of Virginia: GLBT National Hotline @ 1-888-843-4565 or go to GLNH.org/hotline/

For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at thevword.radio@gmail.com or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at www.thevword.org
The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.

Support funding for Sexual and Domestic Violence to be increased in Virginia budget

The Virginia House and Senate have come back to Richmond to finalize the state budget.  They are dealing with a shortfall and additional cuts to the budget.  Help me make sure that funding for sexual and domestic violence remains a priority.

Below is a list of Senate Finance and House Appropriations members – call/email to show support for sexual and domestic violence services, thank them for supporting an increase, ask them to increase funding.  These funds will go to centers all over the state to provide needed services for Rape Crisis Centers, Domestic Violence Programs, Hotlines, Advocacy and other services for survivors.

 

Delegate Chris Jones (R-Suffolk)  — (757) 483-6242  —  elCJones@house.virginia.gov
Delegate Steven Landes (R-Augusta)   —  (540) 255-5335  —  DelSLandes@house.virginia.gov
Delegate Kirkland “Kirk” Cox (R-Colonial Heights)  —  (804) 526-5135  —  DelKCox@house.virginia.gov
Delegate John M. O’Bannon, III (R-Henrico)  —  (804) 282-8640  —  DelJOBannon@house.virginia.gov
Delegate Thomas A. “Tag” Greason (R-Loudoun)  —  (703) 203-3203  —  DelTGreason@house.virginia.gov
Delegate Johnny S. Joannou (D-Portsmouth)  —  (757) 399-1700  —  DelJJoannou@house.virginia.gov

Senator Walter A. Stosch (R-District 12)  —  (804) 527-7780  —  district12@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Charles J. Colgan (D-District 29)  —  (703) 368-0300  —  district29@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Janet D. Howell (D-District 32)  —  (703) 709-8283  —  district32@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-District 3)  —  (757) 259-7810  —  district03@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-District 24)  —  (540) 885-6898  —  district24@senate.virginia.gov
Senator John C. Watkins (R-District 10)  —  (804) 379-2063  —  district10@senate.virginia.gov
Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-District 35)  —  (703) 978-0200  —  district35@senate.virginia.gov

 

Thanks to the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance for the information and their advocacy.  If you have questions, please contact Kristine Hall at khall@vsdvalliance.org or 804-377-0335

the V word: Corrective Rape

Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word.

https://soundcloud.com/carol-ann-olson/the-v-word-corrective-rape-aired-june-9-2014

The other day someone was asking me about all the different ways we describe rape and why is it necessary. “Corrective Rape” was one of the terms brought up. What is it and how is it different from “Rape”. Really what the person was asking is that why is some rape considered a hate crime and some is, well, just rape?

As defined by E. Bartle in Lesbians and Hate Crimes – Corrective rape is a hate crime in which people are raped because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It is the use of rape against people who do not conform to perceived social norms of sexuality and gender roles. They goal is to punish perceived abnormal behavior and reinforce the societal norms of heterosexuality and defined gender roles. The common intended consequence of the rape, as seen by the perpetrator, is to turn the person heterosexual or to enforce conformity with rigid gender stereotypes.
While this practice was first identified and termed in South Africa, it can happen and does happen in any community. And while much of the literature talks about corrective rape a happening in other countries, do not kid yourself that it does not happen in the United States, it does. All it takes is an atmosphere supportive of hate crimes against gay men and lesbians to contribute to the practice of corrective rape. A study in 2000,as reported by The Human Rights Watch, suggested this “atmosphere” of acceptance includes the visibility of lesbians within a community, a reaction of indifference to hate crimes by the community, a strong belief in gendered behavior for males and females, and isolated locations.

Corrective rape and other accompanying acts of violence can result in physical and psychological trauma, mutilation, HIV infection, unwanted pregnancy, and may contribute to suicide. Corrective rape is a major contributor to HIV infection in South African lesbians.
Corrective rape is not limited to people under the traditional LGBTQ umbrella. Asexual activist and blogger Julie Decker has observed that corrective rape is common in the asexual community. In a 2013 interview in the Huffington Post, she talks about sexual harassment and assault perpetuated by men who claimed to have the victims interests at heart.

Many believe that corrective rape should be recognized as a hate crime because of the misunderstanding of homosexuality and the animus toward gay people that motivate corrective rape. Perpetrators often think that raping a lesbian, gay, transgender or queer identified person will “correct” their sexual identity, orientation, and gender expression. This type of rape is not always an individual act either, it can have a group mentality to garner support, it can be promoted within a community, and then ignored.

As a survivor, advocate and ally, I have found that rape perpetuated under the guise of “corrective rape” is often minimized by the community. Efforts to serve the victim, to solve the crime, to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice are often pushed aside as less important.

There is a viewpoint that all rape is a hate crime, because it is directed specifically against a gender, an identity, a population. Rape is used to denigrate, control, abuse and force power over another person because they are female, they are transgender, they are gay or lesbian, they display non-conforming gender or sexual identity and expression, they are vulnerable due to disabilities, illness, or immigration status.

For help or information? Here are some options…

If you have been raped, call 911 and go to the nearest emergency room.
For information on how to report in the Richmond, Virginia, USA are, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100, that is 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace Street.

To get a forensic exam to collect evidence and receive medical care, the local hospitals in the Richmond area with Forensic Nurse Examiners are at Medical College of Virginia and St. Mary’s Hospital.

For those in Virginia who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer or questioning, you can access a free and confidential telephone service called The LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline at 1.866.356.6998 Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm for help regarding intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. The Virginia Anti-Violence Project at virginiaavp.org stands ready to work with anyone who wants to address anti-LGBTQ violence in Virginia and to help build safe communities. The number again is: 1.866.356.6998.

For listeners from outside of Virginia: GLBT National Hotline @ 1-888-843-4565 or go to GLNH.org/hotline/

For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at thevword.radio@gmail.com or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at www.thevword.org

The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.

The V Word: Violence Against Transgender

https://soundcloud.com/carol-ann-olson/thevword-06-02-14

 

Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word.

I am sure all you have heard about the assault on two transgender women on a train. They were harassed, beaten and one was stripped. People watched … laughed…cheer… and … no one intervened. If a heterosexual and cis-gendered woman was stripped naked probably people would have helped.. well….probably. Anyone thinking this hasn’t happened in Virginia? It has … three years ago in Fredericksburg, VA, where a transgendered woman was assaulted outside a store by three individuals. Again with the laughing and watching by bystanders… only someone who knew her came to help. I was working in Fredericksburg at the time and only three agencies showed support… the anti-violence agencies of course…. No one else…
It’s hard to understand why people didn’t help, just watched and even cheered. We as a society are making gains in getting bystanders to intervene in accidents, in issues involving children, and yet this rarely happens with sexual or domestic violence and does not happen with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer individuals. Are we that afraid? Are we still that phobic about sexual minorities that we do nothing to help them? Nothing?

This month I am giving a nod to the Queer community and talking about interpersonal and sexual violence within that population. You can go to virginiaavp.org for more information, events, and help…
Sexual and gender minorities are considered to be at the highest risk for sexual and interpersonal violence and yet have the fewest resources available. Seriously, just how far can we go to marginalize a person or a group?
Well pretty far actually….

  • Aside from all the usual negatives survivors of rape, sexual assault, or interpersonal violence get to experience, if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer – you get a few more negatives and a lot more isolated… …
  • You get to feel shame over your sexual orientation or your gender identity.
  • You get to feel fear over asking for help because it may out you or you may be rejected from the provider or agency that is supposed to help you.
  • You get to have threats of being outed –
  • As we still live in a very conservative country regarding gender and sexual identity, this can be a significant threat to keep an LGBTQ victim of violence from reporting.
  • You get to experience threats of actions to take children away or actually have them removed because of lack of parental rights.

I am a survivor of sexual assault and interpersonal violence and I experienced a lot of negatives that still impact me years later. But one thing I did not have to experience is my abusers using societal fear and hatred of my sexual and gender identity to stop me from reaching out to others.

Isolation from family, friends, even the Queer community itself makes it harder for a survivor to navigate medical, legal, and mental health resources and impact healing.

Being raped and abused is bad enough, living in a society where radio hosts and journalists make fun of rape is bad enough, but to add hatred of you because of how you identify, because you are you basically…..are we as a society not ashamed?

For help or information? Here are some options…

Call 911 if you have been assaulted and go to the closest Emergency Department.
For information on how to report sexual or domestic violence in the Richmond, Virginia, USA are, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace Street. The number again is 804-646-5100

For those in Virginia who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer or questioning, you can access a free and confidential telephone service called The LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline at 1.866.356.6998 Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm for help regarding intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. The Virginia Anti-Violence Project at virginiaavp.org stands ready to work with anyone who wants to address anti-LGBTQ violence in Virginia and to help build safe communities. The number again is: 1.866.356.6998.

For listeners from outside of Virginia: GLBT National Hotline @ 1-888-843-4565 or go to GLNH.org/hotline/
For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at thevword.radio(@)gmail.com or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at http://www.thevword.org
The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.

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