(Image: Joe Attanasio. Graphic: Canva)

It’s never OK: domestic abuse in LGBTIQ Aussies

Domestic abuse is not as straightforward as most people think. It doesn’t just refer to violence in a relationship, but in fact comes in many different forms such as manipulation, intimidation and controlling behaviour. 

Domestic abuse within the LGBTIQ community is considered vastly under-reported even though people who identify as gay have an equal one in three chance of experiencing intimate partner abuse as those who identify as straight.

People within the LGBTIQ community are also far less likely to identify a problem and seek help for it. Reasons for this may include the idea that “men will be men” and have a violent nature, as well as the general expectation that women are not violent. However, this is far from the case.

Megan Leseberg, a mental health and relationship counsellor, has said that in her experience when it comes to domestic abuse, race, gender and socio-economic factors don’t discriminate.

“I’ve worked in lower socio-economic areas, with both men and women and with people from all over the world … Unfortunately, domestic abuse is just really widespread in our country.” she said.

“Typically heterosexual women have a higher chance of experiencing it, but we also see confronting statistics from men and women within LGBTIQ community as well.

“With about six in 10 gay people already experiencing verbal abuse about their sexual orientation … I’d like to see some more support from the government going into the future to help those in the community struggling to find the help that they need.”

After nearly a year since Australia voted “yes” to same-sex marriage, it’s clear awareness must be raised to help those struggling through a violent relationship to distance themselves from their abusive partners.

I’ve sat down with someone who’s been through an abusive relationship and come out the other side stronger and looking to help others who may in a similar situation to what she went through. Natalie has asked me not to reveal her last name but has answered my questions in the podcast that follows. – joe_attanasio

Music by Bensound. 

If you are struggling in an abusive relationship and need advice, or you know someone that is and you’d like to offer help, here are some useful links.