Intimate Partner Violence Among Transgender Populations
Domestic violence has a stereotypical picture associated with it for most Americans. But the truth is, violence in intimate relationships isn’t just a problem between burly men and their fragile wives. It can be a matter of women abusing men, men harming male partners, or women battering female partners. Something most people may not realize is that transgender individuals are on the receiving end of intimate partner abuse at an alarming level.
A Disturbing Fact
Up to half of all transgender individuals experience domestic violence with an intimate partner at one time or another. That’s roughly 20 percent higher than the rates throughout the general population. Why does this group experience such high rates of victimization? There are a number of factors that may contribute to the unsettling numbers.
Sadly, many transgender people have plenty of experience with rejection and abuse. Oftentimes their own families have rejected them based on gender issues. They have been shunned by extended family, school, church, and community groups. Society at large has deemed them undesirable. With all of this baggage, some transgender individuals enter into relationships expecting negative judgments, accompanied by intimate partner abuse at some level.
Transgender individuals are often viewed as pariahs by their own communities. They experience homelessness (often due to family rejection) at high rates, and even experience violence at the hands of police at triple the rate of the general population. The police do not provide safety for these souls. When victimized by an intimate partner, reluctance to get help by calling 911 allows for the violence to continue, and to escalate.
In the event they require medical care or hospitalization, transgender individuals frequently endure adverse reactions from service providers. Instead of being comforted with sympathy and kindness, they are given messages—both explicitly and implicitly—that they deserve what they get.
How to Help
If you have a friend or loved one who you believe is suffering from domestic violence, you know how difficult it is to watch. But you are not helpless to effect change. Here are a few tips:
- Listen, believe, and reassure the survivor that they are not at fault;
- Help the survivor to explore options without telling them what to do;
- Lovingly introduce safety options for times that they are needed;
- Help survivors learn about therapy opportunities and legal strategies to enhance safety;
- Let survivors know they need not be alone, whether they stick with their abuser or choose to exit the relationship.
At the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, our dedicated Miami domestic violence attorneys provide a safe space to discuss transgender intimate partner violence. We can offer legal options and access to support services in order to minimize your abuser’s access to you. For a confidential consultation, schedule an appointment in our office today.