Christmas is a difficult time for lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people who are experiencing domestic violence or abuse. At this time of year many of us spend more time with partners and our families, time that can be stressful, put a strain on finances and often involves a fair bit of alcohol – all of which can trigger incidents.
Also at this time of year it is easy to feel you need to ‘try harder’ for the sake of family celebrations and not wanting to spoil the holiday. But not reaching out if things are difficult can be very isolating.
Speaking about his experience of domestic violence Steve, aged 26, said “Looking back I can see that it was a slow process that I wasn’t even aware of, it started with a dig about something I was wearing or something I had said. Then it progressed to belittling me in front of his friends and work colleagues. Eventually when I didn’t have any confidence the beatings started along with the threats and being told that it was my fault for looking at people on the bus or in a pub. I got to the stage where I couldn’t go out at night alone or use the internet. My mobile phone and email were checked everyday. As he is in IT he made me believe he could find out where I was and if I deleted things.”
Broken Rainbow’s LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline is open as usual throughout the festive period. They will be open to take calls on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The organisation has compiled 7 key points to remember if you are suffering during the holiday period :
1) If you are in immediate danger call the police on 999.
2) Call the Broken Rainbow LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline on 0300 999 5428 to talk confidentially to another LGBT person who will listen and help you understand your options.
3) Email Broken Rainbow UK if you don’t feel like talking over the phone. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
4) Talk to a friend. Tell someone what’s going on. It helps to share your problems with someone you can trust.
5) Remember that the violence or abuse is not your fault, no matter what excuses you’re given.
6) Plan for your safety – think about the worst-case scenario; if you had to leave in a hurry, what would you take with you? Where could you go to be safe and get help? Remember you can always go to the police for help.
7) Keep your mobile fully charged and handy.
Remember, you’re not alone: Broken Rainbow receive thousands of calls each year from people going through domestic violence