Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Elephant In The Closet

I remember when I first joined CT Taransadvocacy Coalition (CTAC) back around 2003, the director at the time was looking for a shelter for a trans woman who was a victim of domestic violence and the trans woman was from Massachusetts and no DV shelter would take her in, she eventually went to a New York City shelter.
Brutal murder highlights intimate partner violence in transgender community
NBC News
By John Paul Brammer
January 13, 2018

Police say Steele-Knudslien, 42, was found stabbed and beaten to death in the home she shared with her spouse, Mark Steele-Knudslien, in North Adams, Massachusetts. Her husband was charged with her murder and pled not guilty on Monday, but according to police, he had previously admitted to killing her after an argument.
[…]
"A lot of the murders that have happened over the last few years have been domestic violence or intimate partner violence," Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality told NBC News. "Unless we understand that, we can’t really help or address it."

Loree Cook-Daniels, the policy and program director at FORGE, a Milwaukee-based national transgender advocacy group, said, “We don’t have complete data ... but based on what we do have, we think up to half of the murders of trans people are murders by either partners or dates.”
One of the traits of DV is that some of the victims have low self-esteem, many also fear of having no place to turn for help and feel helpless.

The website Psych Central says,
Again, the victims often have some common characteristics. Women who are victims of domestic violence often:
  • Abuse alcohol or other substances.
  • Have been previously abused.
  • Are pregnant.
  • Are poor and have limited support.
  • Have partners who abuse alcohol or other substances.
  • Have left their abuser.
  • Have requested a restraining order against the abuser.
  • Are members of ethnic minority or immigrant groups.
  • Have traditional beliefs that women should be submissive to men.
  • Do not speak English.
Trans people are not exempt from DV and we have another common trait, we are trans and feel that no shelter will take us in.

A couple of years ago I did training for a DV shelter in the eastern part of the state because they just took in a trans person who fled spousal abuse.

It happens to us!

If you know of someone that you suspect is a victim of DV here are some things that you can do…
12 Things Everyone Can Do To Help Victims Of Domestic Violence
Odyssey Online
By Ann Liles Cox
October 26, 2015

1. Know the warning signs.
Learn the tell-tale signs that someone has an abusive partner. Maybe your friend is constantly checking in with her partner before she'll go anywhere or spend even the smallest amount of money. Maybe your co-worker's spouse always finds ways to shame him in public. There are many clues you just have to know what to look for.
[…]
3. Don't pressure them to leave.
There are so many reasons why a victim of domestic violence might stay in the relationship: fear for themselves or loved ones, lack of resources, and love for their abuser are just a few. As strange as it sounds, pressuring a victim to leave could actually make it less likely that they'll ever get out of that situation. If a victim of domestic violence has finally summoned up the courage to open up, pressuring them to leave might frighten them back even further into secrecy. Not only that, but you are becoming yet another person trying to control them, and that's the last thing they need. Refraining from judgement is one of the most important things you can do for someone in an abusive relationship.
Some of the other 12 tips are…
4. Help them develop a safety plan.
5. Find different ways to support them.
8. Look into domestic violence protection orders.
The Connecticut 24-hour Statewide, Toll Free Domestic Violence Hotline 888-774-2900 (English) or 844-831-9200 (EspaƱol).

The national toll-free phone number is 800-799-7233 (SAFE).

As trans people we are not immune so if you are or you suspect someone is being abused there are things that can be done to get the person out of the relationship safely.

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