Introducing LifeWire’s “Domestic Violence and…” Blog Series

Each person who comes through LifeWire’s doors has one thing in common – they are experiencing domestic violence. Yet every survivor’s story is unique.

Every survivor brings to the table a myriad of other factors – including income level, gender, race, immigration status, access to healthcare, sexual orientation or age – that impact the risks they face, the resources available to them and the choices they make.

Some of our participants have to choose between ending their relationship with their abusive partner or becoming homeless. Some have to choose between remaining undocumented or filing for citizenship and risking deportation. Others risk loss of professional or community status. Some fear that they will not be taken seriously.

To understand the unique barriers and challenges survivors of domestic violence face, we must also understand the other issues that impact their lives, their families and their communities.

Starting in September – through our Voices From The Field E-Newsletter – we’ll be exploring one issue at a time through the lens of domestic violence. Together, we’ll explore “Domestic Violence and…”.

Domestic Violence and #MeToo

Camille never considered her relationship abusive, until the morning she called helpline. Her boyfriend never hit or threatened her, but he liked to be in control. He hated when she got home late from work. He told her what she could wear, who she could see, and how she could spend money. All of her concerns came to mind when Camille heard Becky, a domestic violence survivor, share her story on New Day Northwest.After listening to Becky, Camille finally had the words to describe what was happening in her relationship: emotional abuse; financial abuse; domestic violence. Supported with that knowledge, Camille reached out to LifeWire for help.

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Domestic Violence and the LGBTQ Community

Woman holding pride flag

While there is a need for more research, recent studies suggest that the LGBTQ community experiences domestic violence at rates similar or slightly higher than heterosexual women. In lots of ways, domestic violence committed in LGBTQ relationships is similar to domestic violence committed in heterosexual relationships. It may include emotional, psychological abuse, economic abuse, physical violence and/or sexual assault. But, LGBTQ survivors also face some distinct challenges.
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Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

“Marta” and her husband were married for 13 years and had three children. Throughout their marriage, her husband emotionally abused her, controlled her activities and regularly demanded sex as his right.

If Marta said she didn’t want to have sex, her husband begged, blamed and screamed until she gave in. If Marta asked for anything for herself or the children, Marta’s husband demanded sex as payment.

Sometimes, Marta locked herself in the bedroom for protection, but this only resulted in her husband yelling and threatening her until she agreed to have sex with him and let him in so that he would stop frightening the kids. One day, after her husband brutally assaulted her, Marta reached out for help.

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Domestic Violence and Homelessness

Alicia has never slept in a building doorway. She and her kids have never spent the night in a tent on the streets of Seattle. But for two years, Alicia and her family were homeless.

After Alicia’s abusive partner destroyed her credit by taking out loans in her name and left her without any means to pay rent, she was evicted. She and her children spent a few months staying with various family and friends, never knowing how long they could stay. They spent the next year living out of their car. And for six months after that – before they came to LifeWire – they moved from shelter to shelter.

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