I Am For Survivors
I Am for Survivors (Increasing Accessibility in Michigan for Survivors)
The I Am for Survivors project was generously supported by the Arcus Foundation in 2009. The project's goals were to:
- Create safe, accessible support services for LBGTIQ survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
- Improve access and services to marginalized communities within the LBGTIQ communities through awareness and understanding of issues facing them.
- Increase awareness and education throughout the state around the multiple issues facing LBGTIQ survivors.
To achieve these goals, MCEDSV staff and a community-based project advisory council conducted a survivor-focused needs assessment, agency audits and implemented training.
Fourteen agencies were recruited to complete agency audits for the purpose of assessing barriers to service. Agencies participating in the project also received initial eight-hour training on Examining Domestic and Sexual Violence in LBGTIQ Communities. The training, developed by the MCEDSV LBGTIQ and Allies Task Force, focuses on the effects of oppression on lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and transgender people, exploring similarities and differences between domestic and sexual violence experienced by LBGTIQ survivors and heterosexual survivors, and examining barriers and special consideration when working with LBGTIQ survivors.
With support from Drs. Cris Sullivan and Ruben Parra Cardona from Michigan State University (MSU), MCEDSV designed a needs assessment to conduct individual interviews with survivors of domestic and sexual violence from LBGTIQ communities. Survivors disclosed significant barriers such as receiving homophobic comments from helping professionals or not being believed by friends and family. Others disclosed that PPOs (personal protection orders) were denied or that they felt pressure to stay, sometimes due to children or for the sense of community created by the relationship. Much like all survivors, survivors from LBGTIQ communities expressed a desire for safe, validating and nonjudgmental services from any helping professional.