Anthony was really threatened by my friends and my social life. He hated that other guys would look at me, or that I’d slept with other guys around our neighbourhood, even that I had quite a lot of friends who he felt -˜competed’ with him. Tiny things that had not even occurred to me as being possibly offensive would cause enormous rage. The more I was attacked, the more and more I withdrew. It was a self-defence mechanism -“ I figured if I could stay away from anything that might cause him to get upset, then that would keep him calm. I isolated myself from my friends, my family and from everything that I used to enjoy doing. To get me away from my previous life, friends and sex partners we moved to a different city where I knew no one except him.
-” David, 27
Eventually, David’s boyfriend Anthony started to threaten him. Then he started to hit him. Throughout their relationship he tried to control everything about David’s life.
David’s true story is one of the real-life tales of same-sex domestic violence intended to raise awareness in the gay and lesbian community of two things -“ what domestic violence is, and how it happens to us.
In another example, Lisa suffered emotional abuse at the hands of her girlfriend Kim. Although the violence was never physical, Kim controlled Lisa’s money and didn’t let her out of the house to see her family and friends.
The Same-Sex Domestic Violence Interagency (SSDV) launched the No Pride In Domestic Violence campaign at Fair Day. The year-long campaign was funded by a $50,000 grant from the Attorney-General’s Department.
Brad Gray from ACON’s Anti-Violence Project said the project was a first for Australia.
This doesn’t just target the person experiencing the violence, Gray said.
This targets the entire community and it’s aimed at educating the whole community rather than just telling people to get out of relationships. And that’s for some really specific reasons, the main one being we couldn’t morally tell people to get out of relationships when there aren’t enough support networks.
There’s also a lot of people in the community experiencing DV who don’t even know it.
At Sunday’s launch, 9,000 love heart-shaped stickers promoting healthy and safe relationships were picked up and worn.
ACON president Adrian Lovney said an increasing number of clients had approached ACON for assistance in recent years.
Domestic violence in general still remains something of a taboo topic in society so domestic violence within same-sex couples is an extraordinarily difficult issue to draw attention to, he said.
And it took on many forms, Lovney said. Any abusive behaviour used to establish and maintain control over a partner could be considered domestic violence.
The campaign will be launched in several regional areas in the next few weeks.
Visit ssdv.acon.org.au for more information on the There’s No Pride In Domestic Violence campaign. Anyone who thinks they might be experiencing domestic violence should call the DV Line on 1800 65 64 63.