In recent weeks, we have seen many posts regarding abuse, sexual assault, racism, and misogyny by Po Couto, founder of Haus of Threes. We, the undersigned organizations, are horrified by these accounts and are in solidarity with those who have bravely shared their stories. We commend their courage and strength in naming their experiences and their desire to warn others.
The phenomenon of one survivor naming abuse or assault followed by outpouring of similar stories by others abused and/or sexually assaulted by the same person is not unique – we have seen similar situations in mainstream communities as well as our own, whether the abusive person is a celebrity, clergy, health care provider, community activist, coach, etc. In addition to the devastating impact on each individual, this affects our communities as a whole. It is therefore our collective responsibility to address abusive behaviors and patterns wherever they occur.
Partner abuse, sexual assault, child abuse, and other abuses of power within LGBTQ+ communities have always been difficult to talk about. Stereotypes that we are perverted, violent, dangerous to children, etc. have made it nearly impossible to acknowledge abuses when they do happen in our communities. Abusers know this, and feed on the silence that follows. For abuse to end, it is imperative that we make space for survivors to come forward, listen to their stories, and support them as they lead the way. Abuse happens in isolation; healing happens in community.
It is also crucial to learn about abuse/assaults, to understand the difference between abuse and self- defense, and to recognize patterns of control so that we do not inadvertently support abusers who claim that they themselves are the actual victim.
Addressing abuse and sexual assault within our communities is no easy task, but it is a necessary one. Together, we can create stronger and safer LGBTQ+ communities for everyone.
The Network/La Red
Transgender Emergency Fund