Sometimes people think of domestic abuse as something that only occurs within married heterosexual couples or people in long-term relationships. The truth is that domestic abuse can affect women of all ages, and it can happen in same sex relationships and relationships where one or both partners are trans.
Domestic abuse is so much more than only hitting and physical violence; it can be emotional, sexual and financial too. It’s a pattern of behaviour – not a one off argument – that leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled. Nobody deserves to be treated this way.
If your partner is abusive it is not your fault, and there is nothing you could do differently that would make them change their behaviour. Often abusers will tell you it is your fault that they are acting that way, or that they only behave like that because they love you. Love is never an excuse to treat someone badly, or to be abusive.
Domestic abuse within non-hetero relationships might be experienced in very similar ways to heterosexual relationships, with the abusive partner using different tactics to try and gain power and control. However, in LGBT+ relationships, an abusive partner might also use your sexuality or gender identity against you, especially if you aren’t out to family or friends. This can make it incredibly difficult for the victim-survivor to ask for help or talk about their experiences with their usual support network.
If you are not sure whether your partner might be abusive, the following quiz might help. Remember, Women’s Aid is inclusive of trans-women, and women in lesbian relationships. We know it isn’t easy to reach out, but we want to support you.
Take our quiz
Where can I go for help?
Women’s Aid groups support all self-identifying women in lesbian or heterosexual relationships. They can help you by giving you emotional and practical support, including counselling. Find your local Women’s Aid here, call Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline on 0800 027 1234, or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact Fearless, a domestic abuse service that specialises in working with people in LGBT relationships. Call them on 0131 624 7266 or visit fearless.scot
If there is an adult or tutor that you trust at your school, college or university it is absolutely okay to ask them for help. Even if they don’t know what to do, they should help you access the support you need. Every school, college and university has someone that is in charge of the welfare of their students. As much as possible, adults should respect your wish to keep what you have said private if that is what you want. If they think you are in immediate danger or at risk of serious harm they might have to tell other people, like the police.
If you think you are in immediate danger then you can call the police on 999 or, to report a non-urgent crime call 101.
You can speak to your doctor or nurse about abuse confidentially, and ask for medical assistance if you need it.