Los Angeles, CA–“We had met at a [domestic violence] shelter in the city and gave support to each other. She [was] arrested three years into the relationship for trying to kill me by choking me.”–Claudia, lesbian victim of domestic violence
We’ve previously discussed the prevalence of domestic violence in lesbian relationships and how the domestic violence establishment denies or minimizes this inconvenient truth. To learn more, see my blog post Conference Report: Violence is more common in lesbian relationships than in heterosexual ones.
The following is an incident narrative from the report LESBIAN, GAY. BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES IN 2006 put out by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.
There is a very interesting part of Claudia’s narrative. Claudia is a lesbian victim of domestic violence. Apparently at the time she was abused, a couple of her children were teenage boys. She wanted to get away from her lesbian abuser but it was difficult, in part because the domestic violence shelters wouldn’t allow her teen boys to come with her.
Get it? Here the violence is woman on woman, yet the domestic violence industry is so fixated on “only men abuse” that this DV victim couldn’t get shelter from her female abuser because she was the mother of boys.
Claudia, 42, female, Latina, HIV +, lesbian, urban
My name is Claudia. I’m forty two years old and HIV positive. I have six children in my care; they are from twelve to twenty-one years of age. My oldest has an 11 month old baby boy. I first heard of AVP [Anti-Violence Program] when they did domestic violence training at the agency I work at.
I was in a ten-year relationship with my partner. We had met at a shelter in the city and gave support to each other. She had been arrested three years into the relationship for trying to kill me by choking me. She was arrested and spent time in jail. I had an order of protection but it ran out. After she completed her sentence she made contact with me and begged me to take her back. I thought things had changed and she’d learned her lesson. But soon after she moved in she began to carry on with the same controlling routine.
One night when I came home she was waiting for me in our bedroom. She told me that she did not want me working anymore because it was taking time away from her, and if I did not stop she would hurt my children. She also said that she had a gun. I was not going to go through that again and my tolerance ended when she threatened my kids.
I contacted AVP to see how they could help me. AVP advised me to come into their office and sign releases so we could call the necessary agencies, and my job. We did a lot of safety planning for me and my children and called ACS. Because the threats were verbal and I was willing to report them to the police, ACS thought that the case didn’t require its services.
NYC AVP called to have our family placed at a shelter but I was not willing to put my children through that again because we were separated in the past and I had young men, and they wouldn’t be allowed in a women’s shelter. We then planned to file a police report, and called my local precinct and spoke to the domestic violence officer. I filed a report for harassment. This scared my partner and she left the apartment and moved down south, but before she left she called ACS and reported that I was abusing my children.
ACS came and took the children away and placed them with my family while they did an investigation. After three days my children were returned to me. Thanks to the previous call that AVP and I had placed to ACS, the case was dropped. AVP connected me with project safe and I had my locks changed. I received domestic counseling and I’m going to preventive classes at ACS. This will help keep our family in a positive atmosphere. I am so relieved that I’m safe, and the environment in my home is positive. My children go to school not not having to worry if I am safe at home.