Violence Against Women Act shines a light on same-sex abuse
Protesters note the issue of domestic violence doesn't apply only to heterosexuals.
March 14th, 2013
11:00 AM ET

Violence Against Women Act shines a light on same-sex abuse

By Sarah LeTrent, CNN

(CNN) - Patrick Dati had reached his breaking point.

With a metal pin in his arm and Vicodin coursing through his veins, he picked up the phone to call his psychiatrist.

Dati had undergone surgery for a broken arm after his then-boyfriend allegedly threw him down the stairs when he tried to leave their home.

Now he sat on the phone with his doctor, explaining why he couldn't carry on, as he tried to overdose on painkillers.

The attempt to end his life, which landed him in a psychiatric ward for two days, resulted in part because he felt trapped in the abusive relationship and saw no way out.

"I couldn't let my boyfriend go because he wasn't allowing me to," Dati said.

Dati is one of an estimated 3.4% of adults who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, referred to as LGBT, in the United States. He's also one of a quarter of gay men in America who report having encountered intimate partner violence.

While Dati reached out to LGBT resources for help while he was ensnared in the abusive relationship, including the Center on Halsted Anti-Violence Project's 24-Hour crisis hot line in Chicago, many in his position find that help is hard to come by.

Now, thanks to new LGBT-inclusive language in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, signed into law this month, domestic violence victims like Dati will have access to many of the same abuse and trauma services as victims of heterosexual partner violence.

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