Safety in Relationships - Resources Control Panel

Safety in Relationships - Resources Control Panel (PDF)

2022 • 40 Pages • 582.91 KB • English
Posted June 30, 2022 • Submitted by pdf.user

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Safety in Relationships Same-Gender February 2020 © 2020 QMUNITY and Legal Services Society, BC Second edition: February 2020 First edition: December 2014 ISBN: 978-1-927661-07-9 (print) ISBN: 978-1-927661-09-3 (online) Published on the traditional unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Acknowledgements Writer: QMUNITY Editor: Wendy Barron Designer: Caitlan Kuo Legal reviewer: Manjeet Chana Development coordinators: Patricia Lim and QMUNITY Cover photo: The Gender Spectrum Collection Inside photos: iStock Thanks to a diverse team of volunteers, and to Safe Choices: a LGBT2SQ support and education program of the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC), for their valuable assistance. This publication may not be reproduced commercially, but copying for other purposes, with credit, is encouraged. This booklet explains the law in general. It isn’t intended to give you legal advice on your particular problem. Each person’s case is different. You may need to get legal help. Information in this booklet is up to date as of February 2020. This booklet helps identify what can make a relationship unsafe and provides resources for people looking for support. Caution: This booklet discusses and gives examples of abuse. Consider having someone with you for support, or plan other kinds of self-care, if reading it might make you feel anxious or distressed. An abusive partner might become violent if they find this booklet or see you reading it. For your safety, read it when they’re not around and keep it somewhere they don’t go. If you’re reading it online, make sure to delete your electronic trail. (At, click Protect Yourself, then Protect Your Devices.) If you’re in immediate danger and feel able to seek help, call 911 or 211 or VictimLinkBC at 1-800-563-0808. Any phone with power and a working signal can call 911. 2 Safety in Relationships Terms used in this booklet Healthy conflict: conversation or a non-violent disagreement that leads to a solution. Survivor: a person who is living in an abusive relationship or has left an abusive relationship. For these and other terms, see QMUNITY’s publication Queer Terminology, in print or online: We’ve tried to make this resource inclusive, but language is always changing. To tell us how we can improve this booklet, please email [email protected] or [email protected]. Same-Gender 3 Contents Abuse Can Happen to Anyone ................................. 4 Abuse Isn’t the Survivor’s Fault ................................ 7 Leaving Can Be Hard .................................................. 8 When You’re Ready for the Next Step .................... 11 If You Decide to Stay ................................................. 12 If You Decide to Leave ............................................. 17 Where to Get Help .................................................... 25 4 Safety in Relationships Healthy, safe relationships take many forms and can include healthy conflict. (see page 2) But healthy conflict isn’t the same as abuse. A relationship becomes abusive when one person misuses their power to harm or control the other person. Abuse can happen in any relationship. Abuse comes in many forms, and can be psychological, emotional, financial, sexual, verbal, or physical. A relationship that includes abuse is unsafe. Some abuse can look like caring Certain behaviours that seem romantic, or that your partner says they do out of love or concern for you, can become abuse. • Moving quickly and pressuring you to commit to the relationship, such as by moving in together or sharing finances, can progress to controlling your movements or your finances. • Calling or texting many times a day can progress to being jealous of the time you spend with others, accusing you of flirting or cheating on them, and questioning you about who you see and talk to when they’re not around. • Wanting to spend all their time with you can progress to isolating you from your other relationships, such as by accusing your friends of “making trouble.” Abuse Can Happen to Anyone Same-Gender 5 Some abuse can happen in any relationship • Blaming you for their problems, feelings, or reactions. • Damaging or destroying your personal property or threatening to do so. • Interfering with your sobriety or recovery (such as saying “partying is important to me so you have to do it with me”). • Not letting you go to work or school, or not letting you associate with friends, family, and the LGBTQ2S community. • Threatening to have you deported from Canada. • Treating you as an object rather than a person, because of one aspect of you, such as your abilities, weight, cultural background, sexual orientation, or wealth and privilege. • Changing or threatening to change the dynamic of a polyamorous relationship without consent. • Using your insecurity to lower your confidence and self-esteem. • Shaming, revealing, or threatening to reveal your HIV, mental health, or other health status without your consent. 6 Safety in Relationships Some experiences of abuse are specific to LGBTQ2S folk • Outing or threatening to out you to children, family, friends, employers, and others. • Saying you’re confused or lying about your sexual orientation if you’re bisexual or pansexual. • Saying you must be cheating on them because you’re bisexual or pansexual. • Controlling, criticizing, or making fun of your appearance or gender expression (such as choice of clothing, hair, or makeup). Same-Gender 7 Some abuse is a crime All abuse is harmful. Some kinds are also against the law, and the abuser can be charged with a crime. These include: • Physical assault, where the abuser hits or threatens another person. • Sexual assault, which includes unwanted sexual touching and forced or non-consensual sex acts. • Criminal harassment, which includes repeated, unwanted contact or behaviour that makes a person afraid for their safety or the safety of anyone they know, including their children. If you’re in an unsafe relationship, it isn’t your fault. Abuse is never the survivor’s fault. An abuser might try to make you feel responsible or blame other factors, such as drugs or alcohol. But the abuser is responsible for their own behaviour. Only the abuser can stop the abuse. Abuse Isn’t the Survivor’s Fault Even if your partner isn’t violent, you may feel unsafe. Your partner doesn’t have to be violent for you to justify leaving. 8 Safety in Relationships Leaving an abusive relationship is a big step. There are many reasons to stay, such as: • You love your partner and hope that their behaviour will change. (Many abusers promise to change, but often this isn’t enough.) • You aren’t sure you can support yourself and your children. • You tried to leave before and weren’t successful, or came back. • You’re afraid of losing your home, your financial support, or your immigration status. • You’re afraid of putting children or pets at risk. • You’re afraid of the stigma of identifying as a survivor. • You’re afraid of having to be near to your abuser through housing, work, social network, or shared property. A survivor in a small community might find it more difficult to avoid their abuser. LGBTQ2S folk often have additional concerns, such as: • Being outed while seeking support. • Lack of LGBTQ2S-specific services nearby. • Mistreatment or discrimination from police or service providers. • Being isolated from family, friends, and their support network in the community. • Leading others to think all same-gender relationships are dysfunctional. Leaving Can Be Hard Same-Gender 9 Myths about abuse and social attitudes toward LGBTQ2S folk can also make it hard for survivors to look for or get help. For example: The idea that abusive behaviours are natural for certain genders or gender roles. Abuse isn’t specific to a gender or gender role. Any kind of relationship can involve abuse, and it’s never okay. Faulty assumptions and stereotypes can mean: • a survivor can be arrested along with their abuser • an abuser could access a support group or shelter the survivor is using • an abuser could convince others that they’re the one being abused The idea that same-gender relationships can’t be abusive. People may dismiss abuse as just “guys being guys” or think it can’t be serious if a woman is doing the abuse. The idea that abuse between same-gender partners is normal or expected, doesn’t count, or isn’t serious. Nothing can excuse abusive behaviour or make it less serious. Everyone deserves to live safely. The idea that relationship violence or verbal abuse is normal in a relationship. Violence and verbal abuse can seem normal to someone whose relationships have included them. But violence and abuse in a relationship aren’t normal and can be against the law. 10 Safety in Relationships The idea that excessive jealousy or possessiveness is a sign of love. Extreme jealousy is a sign of mistrust and insecurity, not love. Possessiveness is a sign of seeing the other person as an object to be owned rather than a person to be loved. The idea that it’s always best for children if their parents stay together. It’s not always best. Violence or abuse between parents can damage a child’s social and emotional development, and lead to behaviour problems, anxiety, and depression. Children can also learn to see abusive behaviours as normal and expected. The idea that abuse is less serious if it isn’t physical, or if it doesn’t happen very often, or if it happens only when the abuser is using drugs or alcohol or dealing with stress. All abuse is harmful, and abuse is always serious. Nothing can excuse abusive behaviour. Alcohol, drugs, and stress are not responsible for abusive behaviour; the abuser is. 1 2 3 Same-Gender 11 Many survivors have conflicting or changing feelings about the relationship, their abuser, or what they should do next, even if they’ve already left the relationship. As a survivor, whatever you’re feeling is valid, and you have the right to choose what to do. Some survivors plan to stay in the relationship and keep themselves as safe as possible during violent incidents; others plan to leave. Some survivors leave several times before making the break permanent. Think about what changes you’re ready to make now, and what changes you might be ready to make later. Evaluate the level of danger, severity of abuse, and available support when making your decisions. This is a good time to get counselling for support and to learn about your options. A counsellor can also help you assess your current situation and create a plan for you and your family to be as safe and healthy as possible if you decide to stay. (See Emotional help and counselling, page 26.) When You’re Ready for the Next Step You’re stronger than you think, and you have a choice. 12 Safety in Relationships You’re the expert on your own situation. You need to make the right choices for you at the time. Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to have a safety plan. Make a safety plan Having a safety plan can help protect you and your children from your abusive partner. When making a safety plan, you’ll gather practical information, think about safety strategies, and find resources so you can get help when you need it. A safety plan should be personalized for your needs and concerns, such as your: • financial situation • location (urban or rural) • cultural background • gender expression • immigration status • mental or physical disabilities • substance use (drugs or alcohol) • psychological and emotional well-being • housing situation • support network If You Decide to Stay Same-Gender 13 Get help to make your plan • If possible, talk about your plan with a counsellor, victim services worker, advocate, or a trusted friend or neighbour. Ask them to keep your plan confidential. Ways to keep yourself safer when your partner is violent • Plan your emergency exits. Go over the steps you’ll take if you need to leave suddenly. • Find the safest place, such as near an exit. • Store kitchen utensils, knives, and tools out of sight. • Consider asking neighbours to call the police if they hear loud noises or see anything suspicious. • Have a code word with a trusted friend or neighbour that tells them you need help. • Find out about emergency and support services in your community, such as police, LGBTQ2S- inclusive shelters, transition houses, and community-based victim services programs.

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