Live Without Fear

  • Two women laughing with their heads together. Learn about domestic violence in the deaf community.

Domestic Violence in the Deaf Community

In the Deaf community, there are many different examples of domestic violence. The Deaf Power and Control Wheel, developed by DeafHope, shows what domestic violence in the Deaf community looks like.

In the Deaf community, domestic violence takes many forms, including intimidation and isolation. HAVEN offers help to the Deaf community regarding domestic violence and sexual assault.

Using Intimidation

  • Using ASL (American Sign Language) to make you afraid with gestures, facial expressions or large signs, then denying it by saying it is part of Deaf culture (example: saying you are so fat in ASL with deep or strong facial expressions, and claiming that it is OK by Deaf culture to do so)
  • Signing very close to your face when angry

Using Emotional Abuse

  • Making fun of your speech or English skills or making fun of your ASL style
  • Taking advantage of you if you have a hearing family by saying Deaf families are better
  • Telling you that you are too sensitive, too “hearing” or “hearing-minded”

Using Isolation

  • Taking your SSI check
  • Checking your pager, instant messenger, VP, or email or checking your TTY, VRS or videophone conversations
  • Controlling which Deaf friends you talk to
  • Telling you that a shelter will not accept you because you are Deaf

Minimizing, Denying and Blaming

  • Denying abuse by saying it is OK in Deaf culture to touch you roughly or talk to you roughly
  • Throwing things at you to get your attention

Using Children

  • If you have a hearing partner, he or she doesn’t allow the children to use ASL to communicate with you
  • He doesn’t allow the children to be proud of Deaf culture; he puts you down as a Deaf parent and puts down your Deaf friends
  • He tells you and the children that you cannot go to a shelter because everyone is hearing, so you are better off with him because you can communicate with him

Using Hearing Privilege

  • He does not tell you when people try to call you
  • Leaving you out in social situations with hearing people
  • Not allowing you to have access to Deaf culture or putting down the Deaf community
  • Putting you down by saying you are no good because you are Deaf
  • If you call the police, he will try to interpret and take control of the situation and only tell the police his side of the story

Using Economic Abuse

  • Taking away your SSI checks
  • Ruining your chances for a job by spreading rumors about you in the Deaf community

Using Force and Threats

  • Threatening to report you to SSI if you make too much money
  • Destroying your reputation by spreading false rumors
  • Using his power in the Deaf community to pressure you to stay with him

Live Chat

You need to talk to someone? We’re here to listen. Chat live with a crisis counselor. If you are in need of crisis intervention counseling and our online chat is not available, please call our Crisis and Support TTY Line at 248-334-1290 or toll-free at 877-922-1274. Our Crisis and Support Line is available 24 hours a day.

Do you need help now?

Often when abuse and violence happens, it is harder for you if you are Deaf. You need to be safe: Get away from the person who attacked you. Find a safe place. Go to the nearest police station. Go to the hospital. Go to a friend or family member’s house. If you cannot leave your own house, ask a good friend to stay with you to help. Get help now

HAVEN Programs

HAVEN’s free programs to help Deaf individuals suffering from domestic abuse and sexual violence include counseling, support groups, legal advocacy, Personal Protection Orders and more. Learn more about programs at HAVEN

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