Your abuser will try to manipulate you to make you feel you are to blame for the abuse. And may try to tell you this is how it is in a lesbian or bixexual women's relationships. But that is not true.
An unhealthy, violent and abusive relationship is just that regardless the sexuality of the people involved in it
While lesbians and bisexual women have to deal with all the coercive and controlling behaviour, violence and abuse heterosexual women have to there are also unique forms of abused based on their sexuality.
An abuser can use the fact that their victim is a lesbian or bisexual women. These can includes:
- Threats to 'out' i.e. to disclose your sexual orientation without your consent to your employer, family or community
- Criticise you for not being a 'real lesbian or bisexual women' i.e. if you have only recently come out of or had a previous heterosexual relationship
- Play on your fears, many of which your abuser will have planted, that no-one will help because you 'deserve' the abuse; or
- Play on the belief that agencies (like the Police) are homophobic or biphobic
If you are are afraid of the person you are in a relationship with, or an ex-partner, or your partner is trying to control you contact us because we're here to help you
Yes you can experience domestic violence/abuse within lesbian or bisexual women's relationships
And we need you to hear loud and clear that our services are here for you. Our staff have the experience and training to support you the way you need with respect, empathy and understanding.
Lesbian and bisexual women experience domestic violence/abuse regardless of race, age, socioeconomic status, class, disability or cultural background.
The violence/abuse manifests itself as a pattern of behaviour characterised by the exercise of power and control by one person over another within the context of an intimate or family relationship. And like heterosexual violence/abuse it can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial and sexual.
We recognise that when domestic violence/abuse is happening in a lesbian or bisexual women's relationships it may be really hard to name the behaviours as abusive
There may also be more perceived barriers for lesbians or bisexual women to reach out for help from agencies or to report the violence/abuse to the Police and we can help you every step of the way
Women can also be abused by a former heterosexual partner or other family members; perhaps after they have come out and go into their first same-sex relationship. In some cases, abusers will use the process of 'coming out' as an additional form of control. This can be particularly difficult where children are involved.