Rainbow relationships can include family harm and violence as much as straight relationships.
A Rainbow relationship is any relationship where at least one person identifies under the sex, sexuality, and gender diversity umbrellas. Controlling behaviours, partner isolation, and physical or sexual violence are not limited to straight people. Family violence in Rainbow relationships also includes homophobia, biophobia, and transphobia.
There is no specialist service dedicated to help people in Rainbow communities, but we have Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura / Outing Violence. They are doing great work providing information and resources specific to the LGBTQ community to help those experiencing family violence (users of and victims of) and to help organisations like RISE who work with survivors and perpetrators.
Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura / Outing Violence has surveyed members of the LGBTQ community and provided useful statistical information to helps the available services like ours understand more about what family violence looks like in Rainbow relationships.
For example, in a survey Outing Violence conducted in 2015/16 on this topic, almost half of the respondents said at least one partner had either
- threatened to hurt themselves or commit suicide,
- ridiculed them about how their body looks, or
- criticised, questioned, or tried to shame them about their sexuality.
One in three respondents said at least one of their partners had
- destroyed something important to them,
- stopped them from going out without them,
- made threats to physically harm them, or
- slammed them against something.
And for Māori, Pacifica, and Asian members of the Rainbow community:
If for any reason you thought same-sex couples don’t experience family violence, think again. What our decades of experience at RISE has taught us is that family violence does not differentiate between skin colour, ethnicity, income, appearance, and even gender. Anyone from any location and any background who is from any ethnicity makes up the community of people affected by family violence. Let’s not forget about our Rainbow communities either.
Please visit Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura/Outing Violence’s website. The organisation is dedicated to building Rainbow communities in Aotearoa New Zealand free of partner and sexual violence. If you want to expand your knowledge and help your clients in the Rainbow communities, Outing Violence provides training and guidelines. Their research shows that LGBTQ people find it hard to ask for help because services do not always know how to work with them, though many are trying. It’s up to all of us in the family violence community of organisations to expand our understanding.