Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!



Center relaunches therapy group for LGBT violence survivors
by Angelique Smith

This article shared 495 times since Wed Mar 15, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The Anti-Violence Project ( AVP ) at the Center on Halsted "empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy." the Center states.

Windy City Times spoke with Rachel L. Tillman, a licensed clinical professional counselor who runs the AVP, about her work.

Windy City Times: How did the Center's Anti-Violence Project ( AVP ) come about?

Rachel Tillman: The Center was one of the founding members [in 1995] of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs [NCAVP], a reporting entity and coalition of 57 members who get together to influence policy on local and national levels. At that time, there wasn't an entity that focused specifically on violence that targets LGBTQ communities.

There was, and still is, a sense that things are underreported. They also wanted to have a little bit more control in how things are reported—instead of grouping men and women together while not even considering sexual orientation. We connect people with resources, from housing to employment, and we offer individual, couples and group therapy. We currently have two groups for survivors of trauma, one of which is the domestic violence/intimate partner violence ( DV/IPV ) group that I run. We also have a violence resource line.

WCT: How does the program receive funding?

RT: AVP is not primarily grant-funded; we rely on the Center and also get funding through the [federal] Violence Against Women Act [VAWA] and the [Illinois] attorney general's office.

WCT: How, politically, could that drastically change funding for your program [since VAWA is federal]?

RT: Yeah. That's, in part, why it's very important that we are a coalition, as opposed to one-off entities. I was just on a call yesterday and we were talking about, "What do we do with the new attorney general and with [the threat to] Violence Against Women Act funding?" Our current funding is through the Illinois attorney general's office, not the federal level.

WCT: Are the volunteers that you work with, in general, Center on Halsted volunteers?

RT: I supervise, recruit and train volunteers, so it's a bit more of a vetting process. It's a three-month minimum commitment because there's a lot of training on how to handle calls. You're dealing with people, oftentimes who are confused, distressed and might not even know they're distressed. People who want to help can also donate, writing "Anti-Violence Project" in the memo line [of a check].

WCT: Are there any statistics that you can give me concerning LGBTQ DV/IPV that you think people would be surprised to hear?

RT: Sixty-eight percent of our callers identify as men. The Center has a reputation for being a gay male organization and that might be why men, in particular, know that we're safe to call. But it is a bit alarming that our stats are a bit reversed, gender-wise.

The problem with that stat is not just the general shock value, but the fact that there is only one DV shelter for men in the whole city and there are at least 22 for women. I can't even count how many males try to go through the court system to get an order of protection, and it's denied because it's perceived that when men are violent, it's mutual. It's an often-neglected area in the field of DV.

WCT: What has been the community reaction to the group?

RT: We have gotten a lot of calls from people who are looking for an LGBT-specific group. There are entities that are very LGBTQ-friendly, but they're not exclusive. We are the only group, to my knowledge, that says, if you identify as straight, we're going to refer you out, just because we want this to feel like a safe group for people who identify as LGBTQ. I want to be very clear, I mean L-G-B-T-Q, so if people identify as bisexual and are in an opposite-sex DV relationship, they are welcome, too. What is often the case is that there's a bi female partnered with a straight male and, oftentimes, her sexuality is used against her in a domestic-violence way.

WCT: What typically happens in a session?

RT: We have a loose curriculum I developed, in collaboration with other materials. We do a mindfulness exercise to get people a little bit more connected to their bodies and aware. Then we have a topical discussion. Oftentimes, we do individual reflection followed by group sharing. The group lasts about 90 minutes and we try to keep it small in size.

WCT: What does Center on Halsted do to ensure the safety and anonymity of group members?

RT: We're bound by HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] law. In order to ensure physical safety, all of the clients have to have a key card to get access to our therapy groups. We also limit people in the group to those who do not identify as offenders. We maintain safety as to not retraumatize.

WCT: What do you think is the main stigma attached to IPV in the LGBTQ community?

RT: Externally, the way people outside of the community—from law enforcement to service providers—minimize, neglect and retraumatize. The other prong is internal, the internal silence in the sense that the community is small. Who can I talk to about this when this person just led an awesome speech at, for example, Dyke March, and nobody is going to believe what she does at home? And then you want me to call the Center where I might know somebody on staff? Where do you go to for support within your own community? That's probably what we see very often.

WCT: How does intersectionality come into play when recommending resources, care and support?

RT: It's absolutely crucial and it's best practice. From ethnicity to immigration status—it all comes into play. It's scary because right now we're dealing with an influx of people who are more afraid to talk about domestic violence because they're undocumented and have deportation fears because of the current political climate. Intersectionality impacts everything we do.

More about the Anti-Violence Project:

—LGBTQ Violence Resource Line | 9-5 M-F | 773.871.CARE ( 2273 )

—Group time: Thursdays, 5:30-7 p.m. Reserve a spot by emailing or calling 773-472-6469, ext. 438.

—Contact Rachel Tillman ( ) to volunteer

Calls to action

Rachel Tillman, LCPC, followed up with WCT with these calls to action in terms of DV/IPV:

1. Volunteer: Center on Halsted's Anti-Violence Project; RVA ( Rape Victims' Advocates ); The Network: National.

2. Give: Center on Halsted; other AVPs in states with limited protections ( ).

3. Learn: A crucial dynamic in DV is power and control, not bruises and black eyes.

4. Be: A safe person, not shocked or disbelieving anything when someone in the community starts talking about their relationships: If two in five lesbian women and two out of three bisexual women have experienced violence by an intimate partner, then you've met a survivor or are one.

5. Ask and Notice relationships: Domestic violence in men is often neglected, unnoticed, or treated as mutual fighting, yet one in three bisexual men have experienced intimate partner violence.

6. KickstaRT: Seventy-one percent of DV survivors reported being denied emergency shelter due to gender identity. We need more shelters accepting of all gender identities, gender non-binary, etc.

7. ( Safely ) RepoRT: Transgender domestic violence is underreported and often the survivor is criminalized ( or deported ).

8. Call: The Violence Against Women Act ( VAWA ) is up for re-authorization next year—let's ensure that provisions that protect sexual orientation and gender identity remain. Call the U.S. Department of Justice. If you live in a historically red state, contact your state's U.S. representative to voice your support for reauthorization.

9. Show up: The support at airports was amazing—let's also show up at courthouses and ensure that survivors are not arrested—a violation of VAWA.

This article shared 495 times since Wed Mar 15, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

WORLD Trans women arrested, death threats, Russian film, leader apologizes
Two transgender women facing charges of "attempted homosexuality" (as well as public indecency and not carrying identification) in a high-profile case in Cameroon will spend more than two months behind bars without a trial after a ...

Gay News

Study: 30% of young LGBQ people have attempted suicide in their lifetimes
--From a press release - A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds younger LGBQ adults experience greater psychological distress and suicidal behavior than older LGBQ people. Researchers examined a representative sample of LGBQ people in ...

Gay News

Roommate of victim of 2004 Chicago stabbing seeking justice for unsolved cold case
--From a Cook County Crime Stoppers press release - On Wednesday, March 24, 2004, 31-year old Kevin Clewer was found brutally murdered with over 40 stab wounds in his Lakeview apartment in Chicago. Kevin's body was discovered by his father on the evening of March ...

Gay News

Attorneys general challenge Tennessee abortion law
A group of 20 attorneys general filed an amicus brief in a case challenging a Tennessee law that requires women to have two in-person appointments at least 48 hours apart before having an abortion, The Hill ...

Gay News

Russian leader Putin officially bans same-sex marriage
On April 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a series of constitutional amendments that, among other things, formally defines marriage as between a man and a woman in the country, The Washington Blade reported. ...

Gay News

Arkansas legislature overrides governor on anti-trans measure
On April 6, the Arkansas state legislature voted to override a veto by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on a bill that would ban gender-affirming treatments for transgender youths in the state, ABC News reported. The "Save Adolescents ...

Gay News

WORLD Uzbek activist, hate-crimes report, Ghana arrests, Chely Wright
Uzbek activist Miraziz Bazarov was hospitalized after he was attacked by unknown men hours after his public event was disrupted by dozens of aggressive men in Tashkent, reported. Physicians at the Tashkent Traumatology Hospital said ...

Gay News

Global momentum for marriage equality surges,"Freedom to Marry Global" website created
--From a press release - April 1st marks twenty years since the Netherlands ended the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, becoming the first of so far 30 countries worldwide to affirm the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Now, two ...

Gay News

Pentagon reverses Trump-era ban on trans military service, GLAAD responds
--From a GLAAD press release - New York, NY - Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, celebrates news that the Pentagon will issue ...

Gay News

Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down mask mandate
On March 31, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers' statewide face mask mandate, reported. The ruling was four to three. Republican lawmakers filed the suit last October. They said the governor did ...

Gay News

LGBTQ students sue U.S. Department of Education
More than 30 LGBTQ students are suing the U.S. Department of Education in a class-action lawsuit filed March 29, NBC News reported. The students allege that they dealt with discrimination at 25 federally funded Christian colleges ...

Gay News

OP-ED: An AAPI hate crime we dare not say
On March 16, Robert Aaron Long killed eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent. Long's action has not yet been classified as a hate crime because the motive, he stated, was his sex ...

Gay News

Nearly half of all LBQ women have been physically or sexually assaulted
--From a press release - New study examines the social, economic, physical, and psychological well-being of cisgender and transgender LBQ women and girls A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds about 5% of cisgender and ...

Gay News

LGBTQ legislator faces charges over Georgia elections law
Georgia state troopers arrested and forcibly removed state Rep. Park Cannon, an LGBTQ lawmaker, from the Gold Dome on March 25 as she interrupted Gov. Brian Kemp during the signing of a massive elections bill that ...

Gay News

WORLD Pride in London, racist drag shows, Korean defector, Alan Turing
Pride in London announced that its five most senior members, including its co-chairs, will step down following damning accounts of racism and bullying, PinkNews reported. The non-profit has been deluged by demands for new leadership after ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.