DVIS counselor raises awareness about violence in LGBT community

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In June, the Metro campus Students Life division conducted a “Lunch and Learn” seminar on the subject of exploring domestic violence and sexual assault in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.

The main speaker was Lori Gonzales, DVIS (Domestic Violence Intervention Services) counselor.

“One-third of relationships in the United states are affected by domestic violence,” said Gonzales. “Oklahoma is sixth in the nation in domestic homicides.”

Gonzales stressed that the numbers of domestic violence and sexual assault in the LGBT community are also high.

“More than 46 percent of bisexual women, who participated in a poll, declared that they have been raped,” Gonzales said. “In comparison, 17 percent of heterosexual women and 13 percent of lesbians have been raped, according to the survey.”

“Twenty two percent of bisexual women have been raped by an intimate partner, compared to 9 percent of heterosexual women,” the counselor revealed.

Gonzales said that 40 percent of gay men and 47 percent of bisexual men have experienced sexual violence other than rape, compared to 21 percent of heterosexual men.

The counselor stated that offenders, who abuse members of the LGBT community, use slightly different tactics than in heterosexual relationships. For example, an abusive gay partner can say, “If you are not with me, I will tell your family that you are gay.”

lgbt-brochures-rgbThe DVIS counselor said that abuse includes not just threats, but intimidation, isolation, emotional abuse, using economic reasons, minimizing, denying and blaming a person, etc.

According to Gonzales, LGBT students experience higher rates of sexual harassment/assault on college campuses but have greater difficulty reporting their assault.

TCC (Tulsa Community College) raises awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault. Because of that, Gonzales has office hours for TCC students at each campus. On Monday mornings, she is at West campus. On Tuesday morning, Gonzales is at Metro campus. On Tuesday afternoons, she is at Southeast campus. On Wednesday afternoons, Gonzales is at Northeast campus.

The DVIS counselor brought information for LGBT groups to the meeting. It is a list of 18 organizations, which provide support and consulting to the LGBT community. Among those organizations are “Oklahomans for Equality,” “Tulsa Lesbian Network,” “The Trevor Project,” and others.

For more information on domestic violence and sexual assault in the LGBT community, contact Lory Gonzales, domestic violence and sexual assault outreach counselor, at (918)508-2755 or email laery@dvis.org.

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SOURCETanya Nyborg
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