Respected and Whole: Preventing Bias in Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Programs

Respected and Whole.

Many domestic violence and/or sexual assault programs worry about integrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) survivors into their program, fearing that other survivors may make biased remarks. Certainly preventing and addressing anti‐LGBT remarks is important, but FORGE believes domestic violence/sexual assault programs can and should aim higher. In this paper we will discuss why we think traditional methods of addressing bias are unwise and why we have focused on how agencies can create environments that are free of biased statements and actions directed at anyone. We believe such agencies actively support the health and wellbeing of everyone by promoting inclusion and respect for all clients and by teaching badly-needed skills of embracing diversity and difference. We’ll explore how some people describe such environments, because they are not the norm in the U.S.! The bulk of the paper will focus on eight categories of action agencies can take to help build healthy, diverse, and respectful environments.