Violence Against Deaf Queer Womyn. It Stops Now

According to the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS), it is estimated that 25% of all Deaf in the Unites States are victims of intimate partner violence, a figure similar to annual prevalence rates of 16–30% for intimate partners in the general population.

Physical abuse:

  • Physical abuse can fall into three categories: (1) choking, shoving, hitting, slapping, or grabbing; (2) using objects (e.g. knives, scissors, guns, cigarettes); (3) restricting a medical need (e.g. medicine, food, water, sleep). Abuse occurs because the abuser wants to have control over her partner.
  • Someone who experiences abuse learns there are expectations as to how she will behave in public vs. in private. In families with children the woman may try to remain distant with her children so as to keep her partner happy and not be jealous or take the kids away. In public, women may quieter when her partner is around. If there is an outburst from her partner, she may try to excuse the behaviour.
  • Physical abuse often leaves bruises. In front of her partner or friends or family, she may come up with excuses to cover the truth her partner is abusing her.
  • As many members of the deaf queer community often know each other, it is difficult for abused women to confide in friends or family, and often women withdraw and keep to themselves while staying with their partner. Her partner uses this to her advantage to maintain control.

Sexual abuse:

  • Sexual abuse can take many forms: (1) the partner may try to force themselves on the person or touch them without their consent; (2) control of her body.
  • Consent is when you willingly give permission and accept responsibility for your words and actions—there is no difference between sexual abuse and sexual assault. No means no.

Emotional abuse:

  • Emotional abuse involves destroying a person’s self-esteem and well-being by way of put-downs, insults, and derogatory remarks. Her partner may manipulate her feelings by treating her differently, ignoring her, or threatening to disclose her identity if she has not already done so. It makes her question her self-worth.
  • One of two things can happen in an abusive relationship: (1) over time, as her partner gains control, she becomes distant from family and friends; (2) she has support from family, but her partner threatens and isolates her.

Financial abuse:

  • Financial abuse means control over one’s money. In cases of financial abuse, the abuser may keep most of the money for themselves with no regard for their partner’s financial needs. A person’s bank account or credit card, investments, or property (e.g. residence, car) can be put in their partner’s name against their will.
  • Three things happen with financial abuse: (1) keeping a home and healthy eating habits becomes a struggle; (2) emotional and spiritual well-being is negatively affected; (3) women become trapped in a perpetual cycle of poverty

Seeking help:

  • The majority of society believe that typically men rape women. People struggle to believe that women can rape women. It is important that she know you are there for her and that there is support available.
  • Hearing queer women often do not report their abuse because oftentimes hospitals, police officers, shelters, and therapists dismiss the disclosure that they have been raped or abused by another woman. Deaf queer women are more likely not to report due to a lack of interpreters or not being able to find an interpreter with whom they can remain anonymous and not be judged. This allows the cycle of abuse to continue.

About the video:
Violence Against Deaf Queer Womyn: It Stops Now is a DVD for deaf queer women, and those who support them. Created by Ontario Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (ORAD) in collaboration with Springtide Resources, this video is designed to increase awareness about violence in queer and trans relationships. This is the first Canadian-American Sign Language (ASL) and captioned DVD.

The course of the video centers around five scenarios that outline the four types of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional, and financial; as well as seeking help. Beginning with a role play of each form of abuse, the video proceeds to explain the signs and results of the abusive relationship with the aid of a counsellor.

It is important to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. The goal is to let the viewer know they are not alone—it is important for them to feel safe, free, and happy.

To order this resourceful DVD please visit
Agency Fee: $10
FREE for Deaf Womyn