Domestic violence and the LGBTQ community

Serial killers have long captured the public imagination, with just about every crime drama eventually featuring one, on top of the bazillion serial killer movies released every year.

Turn on the news and it can feel like the nightly news has barely finished coverage of one mass shooting before the next one takes place.

The thing is, according to FBI estimates, the number of people killed by serial killers ranges from 100 to 150. Meanwhile the number of people killed in mass shootings can range from 50 to 150 depending on year. This last one uses the FBI definition of mass shooting which requires 4 or more people killed in a single incident.

In comparison, more people are killed by their own mother than by either serial killers or in mass shootings. This can vary a bit by source but in general, various sources place the number at around 200 people (the majority of them children under the age of 5) as being killed by their own mother.

This isn’t an argument that we should start normalizing hitchhiking or that advocates should not push for stronger gun control laws but simply to point out the degree to which media coverage can warp our perceptions when it comes to violent crime.

October is domestic violence awareness month and it definitely is an issue that absolutely does need more attention.

Family violence overall is an issue shrouded in secrecy and shame with victims too often being silenced and stigmatized. Too often they are even blamed for the violence itself.

LGBTQ people face many unique issues when it comes to family violence.

As LGBTQ youth, we face the possibility of violence from parents, guardians and other family members just for coming out. Many LGBTQ youth run away from home after facing such violence, and once on the streets, many of us end up being the victims of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

As adults, LGBTQ people can also be the victims of intimate partner violence. When LGBTQ individuals are victims of intimate partner violence, there are several issues that can come into play. The first is the history of police persecution that may make LGBTQ people reluctant to contact the police. Then there is the issue that some LGBTQ may not want to report for fear of playing into homophobic and transphobic narratives pushed by anti-LGBTQ groups about LGBTQ relationships being more unstable or prone to violence.

This is all on top of the way our society stigmatizes and ignores the topic of domestic violence more generally. I cannot really go into details but this phenomenon of shaming and silencing victims is one that I have witnessed first hand too many times.

Locally, there are resources that people can take advantage of. The Committee Against Domestic Abuse website cadamn.org/ lists their 24 hour helpline as 1-800-477-0466 and advocate email as advocacy@cadamn.org. MSU Mankato also has the Violence Awareness and Response Program which can be reached at 507-389-5127.

There is absolutely no shame in asking for help.

Ultimately, the issue of family violence is one we all need to be more aware of. The stigmatization and silencing of victims must end. A better world is possible it we are willing to work towards one.

Courtesy Jeremy Redlien

Write to Jeremy Redlien at Jeremy.redlien@mnsu.edu

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