New SunServe Group Aims to Support Victims of Intimate Partner Abuse
It’s using weapons, curse words, slurs. It’s actively trying to destroy someone’s self worth. It’s intimate partner abuse - and SunServe is here to help. Newly launched, a weekly support group from one of the LGBT community’s favorite organizations will focus on people who are currently or have recently been victim to partner abuse. This abuse can manifest itself as name calling, put downs, humiliation, isolation from the public, isolation from friends and/or family, keeping money from the victim, intimidating or threatening the victim, sexually coercing them, being sexually violent toward them, et cetera. The support group, completely anonymous with only a phone number needed to sign up, will attempt to show victims that they’re not alone and provide them with resources to better their situations.
"Sadly, the problem is equally prevalent in the LGBT community as it is in the heterosexual community," said Kris Drumm, SunServe’s staff therapist and groups coordinator. "We can’t assume that because someone’s in a lesbian relationship or a gay men couple aren’t as much at risk."
Drumm, who worked for the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project for domestic violence in the nineties, has seen first hand the effect of abuse on hundreds of LGBT people who were battered. According to her, the LGBT community tends to be more secretive about issue of abuse because of three main reasons.
"We don’t want to air our dirty laundry," she said about the first factor. "I think there’s a protectiveness so we don’t fuel any homophobia."
Secondly, Drumm said, the LGBT community is in a much better place today than it was in the very recent past. She said some even consider it a utopia.
"We don’t want to burst that bubble," Drumm said.
Lastly, if someone’s not openly LGBT, then talking about abuse is simply not desirable. They not only have to keep the good parts of their relationship veiled, but also the bad.
"A lot of times, people in abusive relationships think there’s something wrong with them," Drumm said about victims of abuse. "In a group of people, others can identify. You can [get] a feel of other people going through similar dynamics."
And that’s the idea of it. Come talk to people who are going through the same thing, find out how to cope, how to fix the situation, or how to leave.
"Often time, we’re talking about potentially lethal situations," Drumm said. "No one should live with emotional and physical abuse. What’s really great about SunServe hosting this group is that it’s an LGBT group offering it."
Call 954-764-5150, ext. 104 for more information.