Same-sex domestic violence is real--and deadly

After wrapping up my article on cuts to Hennepin County's Domestic Abuse Service Center, I got word of a deadly domestic assault. The victim was a man. His abuser-turned-murderer: also a man.

Rebecca Waggoner Kloek heads up the Anti-Violence program for OutFront Minnesota. She works 20 hours a week at the Domestic Violence Service Center as an advocate for the GLBT victims who walk in the door.

“We always think of men beating women," she says. "There’s not space for the GLBT community."

According to a 2007 report, same-sex domestic violence is getting more violent--more weapons, more severe injuries, and an increase in sexual assault.

In a statement responding to this week's murder, Waggoner Kloek said: "Violence within same-sex relationships happens at the same rate as violence within opposite-sex relationships. This horrible tragedy confirms that in some cases, domestic violence will escalate to murder. This is as much of a risk for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community as in the broader community."

At least in Hennepin County, that broad community of victims is served by the Domestic Abuse Service Center, which will be losing three of seven full-time staffers because of funding cuts that can be traced all the way back to the State Legislature.

Waggoner Kloek says that GLBT domestic violence numbers, which have gone up for a second year in a row, have done so in part because members of the GLBT community feel safer coming to a place like DASC knowing they'll have an advocate.

"These cuts are made to an area of special services to victims of domestic violence and their families as well as traditionally under-served populations," she says. "You have people in crisis and this puts barriers in the way of people getting safety."

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