- LGBT+ people are more likely to suffer intimate partner violence and make up a huge number of victims who are killed.
One clinic has found the simplest way to fight domestic abuse – with a red pen.
Domestic violence victims are often fearful of coming forward. And even when they visit a doctor or nurse, their partner or a family member stays with them. That stops them from speaking out.
But one clinic figured out they will be on their own when they are in the bathroom, giving a urine sample.
So they put a notice up and two red pens. Patients are told to leave their initials on the sample with a black marker pen.
But if they are ‘experiencing intimate partner violence, domestic violence’ or want to talk privately or in confidence for any reason, they are told to use the red pen for their initials.
The idea is that only clinic staff will see the initials. And if they get a red, they can ask anyone accompanying the patient to wait outside while they speak.
High levels of LGBT+ domestic violence
Of course, the clinic’s scheme is for all patients. Overall, research shows that around a third of women and a quarter of men suffer ‘intimate partner violence’.
Experts find it hard to estimate the level of domestic violence that lesbian, gay, bi and trans people face. But they think it’s at least as high as cisgender heterosexuals, and maybe higher.
One report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs in the US in 2012, shed some light. It said in the LGBT+ community 32.6% of women and 36.1% of men are survivors of intimate partner violence. That’s higher for both men and women.
The study also found that gay men in particular were much more likely to need hospital treatment after partner violence.
And, shockingly, gay men make up 47.6% of all homicide victims of intimate partner violence with lesbians making up another 28.6%.
The clinic’s simple pen scheme may also help young people. LGBT+ youths are also more likely to be victims of domestic violence.
Help and resources around the world
Aidan Baron, a researcher, paramedic, medical student and LGBT+ health advocate from Australia who posted the photo on Twitter.
He doesn’t know which clinic it is from. But he added: ‘This is excellent. Kudos to the anonymous internet person who posted it and the facility implementing it.’
But you don’t have to wait for a medical appointment to seek help.
If you need help or you know someone who does, you can find a list of LGBT+ resources and helplines all around the world here.