Partner Violence

Partner & Community Violence

In the past year, hundreds of Wisconsin LGBT people have experienced violence where they work, learn, pray, and live. More than one has died.

Community violence against LGBT people at its most extreme occurs when an assailant (or assailants) targets an LGBT person intending extreme bodily harm or death. This is compounded when those surrounding the event further de-humanize the LGBT person by failing to come to their aid, assist in covering up the event, minimize its importance in reporting, or suggest that the target deserved the violence.

Some argue that community violence occurs across a spectrum and also includes other physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal humiliation, emotional tormenting, financial damage, or psychologically traumatizing events. This spectrum can include at one extreme the death of a transgender person to the practices of medical institutions that fail to address the visitation rights of same-sex partners.

This violence, violence perpetrated by heterosexual people against LGBT people, is re-enacted in some LGBT relationships as well. At times this partner violence is tacitly sanctioned by others when they fail to come to the aid of the abused person when they minimize it as normal or “boys being boys.”

  • No one deserves to be abused.
  • Abuse can be physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, financial, or psychological.
  • Abuse often occurs in cyclic fashion (link to cycle of violence).
  • Abuse can be deadly.
  • The purpose of the abuse is to maintain control and gain power over one’s partner.
  • The abused person may feel isolated, afraid, and convinced that they are at fault.
  • The abused person risks the loss of community if they tell.
  • If the abused person has children, they risk the loss of children if they tell.
  • The incidence rate of partner abuse in LGBT relationships is approximately the same as for non-LGBT people – 25-30% of relationships are abusive.
  • Transphobic, sexist, and heterosexist society creates a different context for the abuse, including gender dynamics in the relationship.

Learn more about our programs related to partner and community violence: