While all young victims of dating abuse face obstacles to getting help, LGBTQ youth are in a particularly difficult situation:
- Abusive partners may threaten to “out” their victims.
- Abusers may make their victims feel ashamed about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Adults and friends may not take the abuse seriously because they believe the myth that domestic violence only occurs in opposite-sex relationships.
While the rate of violence in the LGBTQ community mirrors that of straight relationships, less than 25% of all victims report their abuse. LGBTQ youth need to know they are not alone and there are confidential resources available specifically for them. Break the Cycle is proud to have a long-standing commitment to LGBTQ youth, beginning in 2008 with the “Rainbow Response” Coalition, which reached more than 3,000 DC youth in its first year.
In 2009, Break the Cycle was awarded prestigious funding from the US Department of Justice to create, “Hear My Voice,” the first national campaign specifically designed to educate LGBTQ youth about dating violence. Since its launch, the campaign has distributed resources to nearly 10,000 young people and advocates in the Austin, Chicago and Los Angeles communities and launched a special website: hearmyvoice.breakthecycle.org.
Break the Cycle is proud to create partnerships with service providers and organizations dedicated to helping LGBTQ youth, including Lifeworks, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, the City of West Hollywood (CA) and the US Department of Education. We are also grateful for the wonderful support and guidance from our diverse panel of experts representing many facets of the LGBTQ and allied community:
- Dahlia Ferlito, Equal Action Coalition
- Lindsey Horvath, Former Councilmember, City of West Hollywood
- The Honorable Abbe Land, City of West Hollywood
- Joe Keenan, New Avenue Marketing
- Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center
- The National Dating Abuse Helpline
- The Honorable Jeffrey Prang, City of West Hollywood
- Michael Pressman, MBP Productions
- The Gay-Straight Alliance Network
- Sternberg Strategic Communications
- Michael Wood, Editor-in-Chief, Instinct Magazine