The idea to start an LGBT Domestic Abuse Support Group came to Leslie Burdine when she began working at Families First, a local organization specializing in counseling and education services for individuals and families.
Leslie was hired in September 2010 as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate within the organization's Breaking Free program (which provides support and education services to individuals struggling with domestic abuse).
Being a member of the LGBT community herself, Leslie was well aware of the lack of LGBT resources within Indianapolis.
It didn't take her
long to discover there were no LGBT-specific domestic violence services being offered in central Indiana.
"That lack of service really concerned me," Leslie
Studies show that domestic abuse occurs in LGBT communities with as much frequency and severity as it does in the heterosexual community (GLBT Domestic Violence Coalition and Jane Doe Inc.
"There's a whole group of people suffering from abuse, with few places they feel they can turn to for help," Leslie notes.
After worrying over the logistics of the support group for months, Leslie
finally felt ready to make her
vision a reality.
"I wanted to actually do it," she
says, "not just keep talking about it."
understands this reluctance to seek help.
"The LGBT community
already struggles with a lack of community-wide support," she
"So it can be hard for that same community to admit that domestic violence exists within their group.
There's a fear that doing so will only compound what's already a fairly negative public image.
hopes that as more individuals join the new group, and discover it to be a healing and supportive experience, more domestic abuse survivors within the LGBT community
will be inspired to seek help, too.
For more information about Breaking Free's confidential LGBT Domestic Abuse Support Group, please call Leslie Burdine