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Many gay people subjected to violence: poll

2012/09/21 20:53:46

Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) Among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Taiwan 35 percent have been physically or mentally abused by their partners, but very few seek official help, according to the results of a poll released Friday.

The results of the online poll of LGBT respondents show that only 11 percent of those who said they have been abused have sought help through official channels such as schools, hospitals, the police or social welfare groups.

A total of 42 percent have asked for help through non-official channels such as family, relatives and friends, while over half have never called for help from anyone, according to the poll.

The top three reasons for not seeking official aid were the feelings that it would not help, that they would not receive a friendly response and that it would expose their sexual identity.

In addition, the results show that 58 percent of respondents were unaware that Taiwan's Domestic Violence Prevention Act has since 2007 been extended to cover same-sex couples.

Lu Hsin-chieh, director of Public Affairs of the Taiwan TongZhi Hotline Association, said same-sex relationships are often considered "invisible" in Taiwanese society.

"Even if the victims call for help, they can get hurt a second time because of the many negative stereotypes," which is why many seek non-official help when they are abused, she said.

The association and the Modern Women's Foundation, which jointly conducted the poll, called on the government to publish more material about violence between same-sex couples to educate the public on the issue.

The poll, conducted Aug. 1-31, surveyed 493 LGBT people with an average age of 26.7. Of the respondents, 328 were female, 133 were male and 32 were transgender.

(By Christie Chen)