By Aimee Whyte and Kelsey Wall, Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Victims

Domestic violence (DV) is a significant concern and an issue that calls for attention from people in our community.  DV is defined by the Office of Violence Against Women in the Department of Justice, as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control other another intimate partner.”

DV is commonly known in male-female partnerships and less with same-sex couples. Study results report, however, that one out of four (1/4) to one out of three (1/3) lesbian and gay relationships experience DV. This recognizes that DV is an equally presenting concern in the LGBTQI community, and even more so in the Deaf LGBTQI community, as we know that Deaf people experience DV at higher rates compared to hearing people.

The Power & Control Wheel, developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP) in Duluth, MN, describes the most common examples of domestic violence tactics and behaviors used to intentionally control or dominate an intimate partner. There is a Power & Control Wheel that depicts specific tactics and behaviors in same-sex couples, known as the LGBT Power & Control Wheel, and also a Deaf Power & Control Wheel, which highlights the experiences of Deaf survivors of DV. There does not yet exist a Power & Control Wheel for Deaf LGBTQI persons. Would combining both wheels together help give us a picture of what DV survivors in this underserved population experience?

Deaf and LGBTQI are two large communities that exist in Rochester, New York. However, we do not know much about the experiences of Deaf LGBTQI persons in getting information, help, and services for DV. To address DV within the Deaf LGBTQI community and to improve support services, Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Victims (ASADV) and the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley (GAGV) are collaborating on a project, funded by an Underserved Grant (Grant No. 2014-UD-AX-0003) from the Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women.

This project includes an online survey and three focus group meetings for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Signing LGBTQI individuals. The online survey is open until June 30, and the focus group meetings will be on May 13, May 27, and June 6. The goal is to collect feedback, experiences, concerns, ideas, and suggestions to help make DV, dating violence, SA, stalking, and related services, programs, trainings, and events more accessible and inclusive for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Signing LGBTQI people in Rochester.

The survey and focus group results will help both ASADV and GAGV tremendously in identifying gaps in services, programs, and events that are needed.

Please contact ASADVhope@gmail.com for more information about this project.

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Take the survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/DeafLGBTQIsurvey

Free computer access and ASL survey support:

May 27th, 2pm-5pm, 121 N. Fitzhugh St., Hallock Lounge (1st floor)

June 6th, 10am-2pm, Gay Alliance Cyber Center, Auditorium Center 5th floor, 875 E. Main St. Suite 500

Focus Groups:

May 27th, 6-7:30pm, 121 N. Fitzhugh St., Shaw Room (2nd Floor)

June 6th, 2:30-4pm, Gay Alliance Nopper Room, Auditorium Center, 5th Floor, 875 E. Main St. Suite 500