Domestic and sexual violence affect people of all identities. It is true that folks of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, abilities, languages, education levels, economic statuses, sexual orientations, political statuses, religions and DNA types experience intimate partner violence and sexual assault. However, some identities experience this violence more than others due to the inherent power dynamics with this violence. If a person is already seen as less powerful in some way (maybe physically or socially), the abuser will more readily take advantage.

Oppression is the act of using power and/or privilege at the expense of disempowering, marginalizing, silencing, and subordinating another group. Oppression is closely associated with social systems where identity is built by the antagonism of “the other.”

Oppressed identities may include folks in the following communities:
  • LGBTQ+
  • Gender fluid and/or non-conforming
  • Immigrant
  • Refugee
  • People of Color
  • Muslims, Jews, Atheists, etc.
  • Survivors with disabilities
  • Elderly survivors

While Refuge House aims to be an advocate for social justice and works actively against oppression, we must acknowledge the unique struggles survivors with oppressed identities may experience. To learn more schedule an appointment with our community education team at

How to Be a Part of the Solution

Be an active ally! Being an ally means: sharing the power, taking a risk, taking responsibility, opening yourself up to the unknown, realizing that you are part of the solution, leveling the playing field, accepting differences, making allowances, and leading by action. An ally…


  • Validates and supports people who are different from themselves.
  • Realizes and questions personal privilege and uses it to benefit people who are oppressed.
  • Supports the oppressed group’s voice and sense of autonomy.

You are already doing the best thing you can by reading this information and learning more about these serious and harmful issues. Please be sure to visit our Learn More pages on Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Teen Dating Violence, Warning Signs, and Resources.