TOD@S Shines Spotlight on Domestic Violence in Black/Hispanic Communities

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Prevention and intervention project surveys community needs, increases access to services and resources

Boston, MA (July 2012) – When we hear the words “domestic violence” or “partner abuse,” we rarely think of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) individuals. Media and society would have us believe that people in LGBTQ communities don’t experience the devastating effects that domestic violence or partner abuse has on one’s life.

In fact, an estimated 25-33% of LGBTQ people experience domestic violence/partner abuse in their lifetime. What’s more, these statistics may not accurately reflect the experiences of Black and Hispanic/Latin@ LGBTQ survivors. Factors like racism and other forms of oppression and discrimination, as well as cultural stigmas or taboos often make it even more difficult for Black and Hispanic/Latina LGBTQ survivors to talk about sexuality or gender identity, much less domestic violence/partner abuse.

Even as federal and state legislation has recently shifted to reflect growing support of equal rights for LGBTQ-identified individuals, violence – from hate crimes to partner abuse – continues to threaten the safety and well-being of Black and Hispanic/Latin@ individuals who identify as LGBTQ.

In recognition of the unique needs of Black and Hispanic/Latina LGBTQ individuals, the Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health, Hispanic Black Gay Coalition, The Network/La Red and Renewal House have partnered to spearhead a partner abuse prevention and intervention project called TOD@S (Transforming Ourselves through Dialogue, Organizing and Services). TOD@S is funded by the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women.

To gain greater insight into Black and Hispanic/Latin@ LGBTQ individuals’ understanding of domestic violence/partner abuse resources and services, the TOD@S team is distributing and collecting surveys in person and online. The information gathered from the survey will be used to improve access to resources and services for those who’ve experienced domestic violence/partner abuse, increase knowledge about domestic violence/partner abuse in LGBTQ Black and Hispanic/Latino communities, and ultimately prevent occurrence of partner abuse within LGBTQ communities of color.

Black and/or Hispanic/Latin@ LGBTQ individuals over 18 interested in participating in the survey can visit http://bit.ly/Psbo1q (for an English language version) or http://bit.ly/N1Rnim (for a Spanish language version). The survey takes approximately 5 – 10 minutes to complete and is completely confidential.

The TOD@S project represents a rare and important opportunity to connect with Black and Hispanic/Latina LGBTQ individuals to hear stories of survival; learn how best to be a support throughout the healing process; create events, programs and campaigns to raise awareness about this issue, and unite Black and Hispanic/Latin@ LGBTQ communities to bring an end to the violence and abuse that leads to broken bodies, broken homes, fragmented lives and shattered spirits.

For media inquiries about TOD@S, please contact CarmenLeah Ascencio at 617.927.6250 or cascencio@fenwayhealth.org.

TOD@S (Transforming Ourselves through Dialogue, Organizing and Services) is a project for and by Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Black and Latina/Hispanic survivors of domestic violence/partner abuse. TOD@S is a partnership between Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health, Hispanic Black Gay Coalition, The Network/La Red, and Renewal House, a program of Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry.

The Violence Recovery Program of Fenway Health provides counseling, support groups, advocacy, and referral services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) victims of bias crime, domestic violence, sexual assault, and police misconduct. The VRP mission is to provide services to LGBT victims who have experienced interpersonal violence as well as information and support to friends, family and partners of survivors. www.fenwayhealth.org

The Network/La Red is a survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or transgender, BDSM and polyamorous communities. Rooted in anti-oppression principles, our work aims to create a world where all people are free from oppression. We strengthen our communities through organizing, education and the provision of support services. http://tnlr.org/

Renewal House, a program of the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, is a domestic violence shelter for individuals in crisis and their children. Since 1980, Renewal House has provided temporary emergency shelter and advocacy services to more than 1,000 individuals and families escaping domestic violence. Renewal House provides services to people of all genders and sexual orientations.http://www.uuum.org/567026

Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) is one of few non-profit organizations in Boston dedicated to the unique and complex needs of the Black, Hispanic and Latino LGBTQ community. Founded in 2009 to unite and give a voice to LGBTQ individuals of color, we work to inspire and empower Latino, Hispanic and Black LGBTQ individuals to improve their livelihood through activism, education, community outreach, and counseling. www.hbgc-boston.org